TPC School Census Continues to Climb
Posted: Tue, February 13, 2018
By: Kaitlyn Barnett
Since last summer, The Providence Center School (TPC School), a special education school for students in preschool through grade 12 diagnosed with emotional and behavioral disorders, has seen an increase in census greater than 50%. Both the elementary and high school classes have grown substantially and the middle school is currently full.
“We still have a good amount of room to grow our high school, but are at capacity in our middle school,” says Stacy Perin, Director of TPC School. “Both levels of our elementary school have only a few open seats.”
Perin attributes the current rise in numbers to her staff’s dedication to building relationships with Rhode Island school districts and educating them on the wrap-around services TPC School offers and the continued need for a therapeutic school environment for children in Rhode Island.
TPC School provides a broad range of educational and clinical services to students experiencing mental and/or behavioral issues, offering a unique learning environment to those having trouble succeeding in their current districts. The school's team of on-site academic and clinical professionals includes: certified special education teachers, teaching assistants, clinical therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists.
“Not every out-of-district placement has the resources to provide students with access to psychiatric services and outpatient counseling on top of the school-based supports they’re already receiving,” said Perin. “Though we are a therapeutic school, we provide students with as typical of a school experience as possible by infusing quite a few conventional school activities like science fairs, art shows, field trips, and community service opportunities.”
The school’s curriculum combines academic instruction guided by Common Core Standards with clinical services, behavioral supports, therapeutic interventions, and family support services designed to meet the unique needs of each student.
The school’s goal is to help students cultivate the ability to manage emotions and behavior so that they can become successful learners and return to their local school district.
Historically, these school districts have shown a trend of referring their students to TPC School at certain times of the year, but TPC School receives referrals throughout the year as well.
“Usually, school districts will begin to notice behavioral issues in students shortly into the new school year and that’s when they’ll consider making an out-of-district placement,” said Perin.
This year, Perin says, some districts are already discussing referrals for the following school year. These districts are currently tracking certain students’ behaviors and following their success rates over time to decide if placement at TPC School might be in their best interest.
TPC School accepts students from all districts across Rhode Island and surrounding areas.
“We’ve recently noticed an increase in referrals from some of the less frequently referring districts as well, which has been great as we’ve been working to improve those relationships,” said Perin. “I really believe through us increasing awareness among districts, they’re beginning to see not only the quality of education that we can provide, but also the great amount of clinical services.”
TPC School would not be gaining the success that it has without its talented team of teachers and clinicians.
“I really do believe we have some of the most passionate and dedicated team members, and I think it’s very obvious to our students and to their families,” said Perin. “Our teachers are so committed to the success of their students and always go the extra mile to help in any way they can.”
“Our clinicians go above and beyond the scope of the school environment,” added Perin. “It’s not unusual for them to go off site for meetings with students’ families or work with three generations of a family at once in order to support them and connect them with other community supports. That’s what we do at TPC School. We treat the whole family.”