The Clifford School’s Classroom Environment and Student Population

Classroom Environment

The Clifford School’s classes are kept small (average of 6–8 students) and each is led by a teacher certified by the state of Massachusetts in special education or a particular subject area. Behavioral counselors are connected to classrooms to provide consistent therapeutic support. Under the oversight of the principal, all teachers are required to develop a curriculum outline for the school year to reflect the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, which sets standards for the teaching of basic concepts and subject matter by grade. Teachers also complete weekly individualized lesson plans that further delineate the specific curriculum standards as they apply to each student.

Educational staff monitors progress utilizing pre-and post-tests in reading, spelling and mathematics; IEP goal tracking and other tools. Progress reports and report cards are provided to parents and caregivers.

Student Population

Students at the Clifford School are generally characterized as having emotional. behavioral, and/or learning difficulties. We believe that they have tremendous academic potential and can benefit from the vast array of services provided at the campus. The program has been very successful in working with this population, as well as with youth who have an emerging major mental illness, social deficits, developmental delays, or are abuse reactive.

A strength-based, relational model of behavioral support is employed consistently in classrooms and throughout the program. It starts by identifying behaviors at which the youth and family excel and emphasizes the development of healthy relationships. Behaviors are viewed and discussed within the context of their impact on relationships.