Even though Cornerstone is a twelve-month school it is always interesting to witness the “new school year excitement” as we transition from our summer schedule to September! Transitions are an important aspect of Cornerstone as much of what we do here at Cornerstone from the first day of students’ enrollment is to prepare them to transition and return to their home districts.
From day one our clinical team begins to help students work to better regulate their emotions and to achieve stability with their mental health symptoms. This is accomplished by each student’s participation in an intensive clinical program: two therapy groups per day (process and psychoeducation), scheduled individual therapy once per week with additional sessions as needed, and family therapy at least three times per month. Academically, Cornerstone follows the NJSLS so our students are on par with district instruction once they return to their home schools. The average length of stay at Cornerstone is 18-24 months.
Our school-wide behavioral support system provides daily feedback to students to support their transition back to district. The behavioral support system includes four levels, starting with Orientation and moving through Level 3. Once a student attains Level 3, the discussion and planning for the return to district commences with the student, the family, and district representatives, and plans are customized to address each student’s needs.
Cornerstone strongly recommends a gradual transition to the district, typically with the student spending part of the day in-district and part of the day at Cornerstone. This plan allows the student to meet the challenges of being back in district while continuing to be supported by the Cornerstone clinical team and teaching staff. Over the years we have found this to be the best way to maximize success as students move from an intensive to a less intensive level of support.