Integrating State of the Art Psychiatric Treatment With Outstanding Academics In a Dynamic School Environment

School Avoidance

Answering the needs of both students and parents

Approximately 20% of all students referred to Cornerstone have a significant school avoidance problem. We have developed specialized clinical and educational protocols for these students that have proven to be highly successful. When a school avoidant student is enrolled at Cornerstone, he/she may begin in the mainstream structure or more typically, at Cornerstone’s specialized school-within-a-school setting, Pathways at Cornerstone Day School. In both settings, the student is assigned to a member of our school avoidance team. After the initial clinical evaluation, which includes a specialized school avoidance assessment completed by both parent and student, treatment typically includes proactive outreach activities such as nightly phone calls and home visits, complemented by intensive family work. Depending upon the academic needs of the student, he/she may initially receive 1:1 or small group instruction. This individualized attention allows for rapid progress and the development of a healthy teacher-student relationship, which is key to helping students attend regular Cornerstone classes.

Every day, our protocols help students overcome their anxiety, thrive within The Cornerstone Experience and, ultimately, successfully transition back to district, college or work.

Pathways at Cornerstone Day school


A unique comforting stress-free setting using proven treatment and educational strategies

For students who are not yet ready to attend the mainstream setting because of school avoidance, Pathways at Cornerstone Day School is the ideal vehicle to help them return to a school environment. Pathways uses the school’s proven approach in a school-within-a-school structure for students who are not yet ready to attend Cornerstone’s mainstream setting. 

Pathways is housed in a spacious and secluded suite adjacent to the main school. With an intimate learning setting, counseling office and comfortable lounge, Pathways provides students with a warm and non-threatening environment that allows them to begin returning to a school setting.  When ready, students are then slowly introduced to the general school milieu, starting with low-anxiety classes such as art, music or academic classes they enjoy.

The clinical and academic team assigned to each student always transitions with him/her to the mainstream setting, ensuring important support and continuity that can make all the difference in the student achieving the overall goal of comfortably attending the full class schedule. 

The stay in Pathways is short or long, whatever makes the most sense for each student. All services are highly personalized, with flexible scheduling to meet any late start/early dismissal needs. 

Cornerstone’s proven clinical and educational strategies for school avoidance form the core of Pathways. 

Treatment typically includes home visits, gradual exposure procedures, anxiety-reduction exercises, coping strategies and individualized incentive programs. Parent work is also critically important and includes on-going family therapy, parent coaching and an educationally oriented support group.

Academically, students initially receive 1:1 instruction, eventually progressing to two students working together with one teacher. This individualized attention allows for rapid progress and the development of a healthy teacher-student relationship, which is key to helping students attend regular Cornerstone classes. 

Pathways at Cornerstone Day School offers the best of everything for school avoidant students: proven treatment and education strategies, a comforting stress-free setting and a road to the full Cornerstone Experience.