Randy Arnold, School Program Administrator
Brenda Blackmore, Special Education Supervisor
Most students attending Riverwoods School at the St. Cloud Children's Home (SCCH) have been placed as a result of emotional and behavioral challenges they experience. Consequently, in addition to providing a well-rounded academic curriculum that allows the student the opportunity to progress toward a goal of graduation from their home school, another primary focus of the school program is to identify interfering behaviors that may occur in an instructional setting and teach the skills necessary to assist students in making better decisions. In order for students to experience success, we believe each student must recognize the need to learn new skills, be willing to make changes and eventually self-monitor their behavior, and finally, to become a positive self-advocate for their own unique learner qualities and needs. This is accomplished by teachers and students working together in a cooperative manner to set goals and objectives. Once goals and objectives are achieved, students have begun to equip themselves with skills needed for a successful return to a more traditional school setting.
The Residential Treatment and Day Treatment programs, serving students from many school districts, are programs operated by Catholic Charities for which the St. Cloud Area School District #742 vends educational services. The Day School and Youth Learning Center programs are day programs operated by the St. Cloud Area School District #742 in collaboration with Catholic Charities, and are for District 742 resident students only.
The teaching staff for Riverwoods School currently consists of sixteen full time licensed teachers, a school social worker, a part time school program supervisor, a part time school program administrator, a part time school psychologist and speech/language pathologist. Teachers are licensed in the content areas they teach as well as in special education. Six paraprofessionals also support students at Riverwoods School.
This on-site school program at the SCCH offers a curriculum covering all secondary grade levels (7 through 12) and includes course offerings in English, Social Studies, Math, Remedial Reading, Science, Theatre Arts, Family and Consumer Science, Business Education, Computers, Physical Education, Transition Skills, Daily Living Skills, and Social Skills. Standard curriculum materials are supplemented with the web-based SkillsTutor curriculum resource. Educational programming is enhanced through a significant school investment in an iBook Mac Lab providing wireless access to other various web-based resources for classroom learning. Students attending Riverwoods School participate in the statewide MCAs and Basic Skills Tests in Reading, Math, and Writing as they would in any other school setting. Students attending Riverwoods School have the opportunity for a full time schedule and academic credit for work completed. School hours for students are from 8:25 until 2:55. Class sizes typically range from one to eight students. The small class sizes provide an opportunity for teachers to focus on individual behavioral needs of students as well as individual academic objectives. Individualization and small group instruction are used to accommodate for different functional levels and learning styles of students. Delivery of special education services specified in a student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) are embedded into the delivery of mainstream content area instruction and curriculum by teachers who are licensed in both special education and a regular education content area.