Betamarsh Alternative Classroom
Betamarsh Incorporated has developed an innovative classroom experience that allows students who are unable to function in a conventional school setting to grow and learn despite unresolved issues. This program is based on the melding of teaching and play therapy by both treating and educating the whole youth. Specialized programs have been designed in order to build an environment that is safe, respectful and unique for each student. The classroom provides opportunities for students have mental health issues, addictions, FAS/FAE, anger, behavioural issues, bereavement and loss, have been traumatized or need a temporary break from the regular school system. A youth cannot learn and grow if there are unresolved mental illness and behavioral issues. By providing support and individualized programs along with a safe environment, these issues can be addressed in a gentle and positive manner. A student centered model has been used to build individualized programs by assessing each student’s interests and strengths as well as if there are any learning disabilities present.
Positive modeling from school support workers, the teacher and senior students play a significant role in each student’s education. This is especially effective because of the small teacher/student ratio allowing for effective individualized learning and treatment. Students are giving the opportunity to work and learn in a safe, predictable environment where there are provisions made for such things as ample personal space, quiet and respect.
Betamarsh promotes and practices a treatment team approach for all programs within the agency. Communication between the home and the classroom programs occurs on a daily basis, with in-depth weekly reports sent to each residence and to the Director. This ensures that supervision, support and monitoring are consistent in the home and at school.
Individual and group therapy, as well as trauma and loss counseling and life skills education programs are available on-site. Therapeutic tutoring is also a key component of a Betabarsh Alternative Classroom and is available to all students enrolled in the program.
The Betamarsh Alternative Classroom was developed for the following identified issues:
- Students dropping out of school due to lack of support for mental, emotional and behavioral issues (e.g. F.A.S.D.)
- Students in crisis who need a short break from the regular school system (i.e. bereavement and loss, pregnancy, mental and/or emotional breakdown).
- Limited training in life skills, employment and/or character development.
- Lack of post secondary learning opportunities to accommodate disabilities (specifically development delays).
- Lack of programming for students with development disabilities.
- No alternatives for students who have been suspended or expelled from school either short or long term.
- Students being bullied at school and, as a result, have been re-traumatized and are too fearful to return to school.
- School Phobic, Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Social Phobias, Victim Reactive Behaviors, Sexual Acting Out, Self Harming Behaviors, Risk Behaviors, Depression, lack of motivation and other issues that prevent the student from learning and being able to attend the regular school system.
The Betamarsh Alternative Classroom Accommodates:
- On-site independent school program with a qualified teacher and certified Life Skills coaches is available if the treatment team and the placing agency deem appropriate.
- We encourage academic assessments, tutoring when needed and guidance for participants’ present school program.
- To provide a structural program that teaches Life Skills with a “hands on” approach.
- To provide opportunities for the youth to gain skills, expirience and confidence to live independently, or transfer to the After Saratoga Program, attend College/University and/or an apprenticeship program.
- Participants are supported in a co-op placements, apprenticeships, and employment assessments by the Employment Centre in order to access manu youth initiatives available.
Program Manager and Contact details
Blake Muxlow, Executive Director
(519) 524-8012 ext 202