THE GRAHAM SCHOOL
Our Graham School campus is a residential education and treatment center and Special Act School for grades K-12 that serves over 200 at-risk youth each year from the New York City area on a campus located in Hastings-on-Hudson in Westchester County, New York. The residential center works in partnership with the on-site Greenburgh-Graham Union Free School District to provide educational opportunities and therapeutic services to students who have experienced difficulty in previous school settings. The Graham School has developed a therapeutic, mentoring and normalizing culture using Collaborative Problem Solving, Bengals Peer Leadership program, and Graham Prep vocational readiness program; a sustained and concentrated focus on family; and the core belief in the power of education.
What makes The Graham School unique?
Situated on a bluff overlooking the scenic Hudson River in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, The Graham School is Graham Windham’s highly regarded residential education and treatment center serving over 300 at-risk day and resident students from the New York City metropolitan area. The school proudly asserts three critical and distinguishing features.
The first is its unique emphasis on the development of a therapeutic pro-social/pro-self milieu. On campus, all the forces of daily living, youth development, education, medical and clinical services are allied in a fully integrated circle of support. The circle we have drawn serves as a force multiplier and is, by itself, powerfully restorative, driven by personal relationships and strong social contracts that explicitly emphasize safety, good care, personal responsibility, well-being and growth.
A sustained and concentrated focus on permanency planning (permanent homes for all our students) is our second distinguishing feature. Our family-driven service model recognizes the central role that families play in the lives of children and honors the very special bond that exists between children and their families. It is based on the belief that families can change and that they should be involved in all major decisions affecting their children. In situations where families have had difficulty providing a safe and caring environment for their children, our case planners and therapists help restore confidence and competence and build the skills to parent effectively. Because all children are products of families, all children benefit from family-centered work. Even if full reunification is not possible, family-driven work enables children to maintain maximum connections with their families or to resolve issues that will allow them to seek other families.
Our third distinguishing feature is our educational program. The Greenburgh-Graham Union Free School District, located on campus, provides a year-round K-12 educational program for every Graham School student. It is a fully accredited public school district offering comprehensive elementary, middle and secondary special education programs in small classes leading to a high school diploma. Our curriculum and instructional practices are rigorous and individualized, and embedded in a vibrant, emotionally supportive academic environment. Students who have skill deficits receive intensive specialized instruction. Honors credit is offered for students who excel.
Students who have had their education disrupted can spend extra time during and after school and even on the week-ends to make up credits in order to graduate on time. Extra-curricular activities, including a full array of visual and performing arts, mentoring opportunities and team sports at the intramural and league level, enrich the school experience.
Through our Graham Prep program, Graham School students are engaged in activities before, during, and after the school day. The ultimate goal is to close the achievement and opportunity gap for our students by promoting academic success, a permanent family for youth, improved behavior, leadership development, and pathways to a living-wage career.
The Graham Prep program includes:
- Academic Tutoring: Providing homework support; extra academic practice; focusing on reading, mathematics, and English Language Arts (ELA) instruction. For students in high school, we also provide preparation for the Regents exam in the four core academic areas.
- Advisories: Working in small groups, advisors provide guidance and support, to bond with students, and to help students build peer leadership and peer support skills. Advisory check-ins take place throughout the day.
- Recreational and personal development activities: Age-appropriate activities are facilitated throughout the week, including: math (e.g., problem-solving competitions), science (hands-on experimentation), technology (coding, apps, 3D printing, and creating brochures and newsletters), book clubs, art (culminating in an art show), music (music production, lyric writing), theater (in partnership with theater professionals), creative writing/Poetry Club (including creation of a literary magazine), dance, art therapy, field trips, intramural sports, cheerleading, and martial arts.
- Pathways to Careers: Supporting our youth to be on the trajectory toward a living-wage career. Focusing on the hard and soft skills needed, in the pursuit of post-secondary education and gainful employment, youth are supported in identifying strengths and interests; and to develop interpersonal, organizational and time management skills, necessary to meet these demands.
- Parent Leadership: It is critical that we engage parents in the success of their children. We encourage parents to take an active role in supporting each other, co-leading events and activities. We also provide parents with professional development sessions on how to support their children’s learning, along with college and technical school options and applications.
The Graham School is one 13 locations in New York State selected to participate in The Raise the Age NY initiative. Our program, which is called Graham UP, is designed to work with young men ages 16 and 17 who have been involved in the criminal justice system. Our objective with Graham UP is to provide each young person we serve access to specialized programs to develop cognitive skills, along with academic education, vocational training and access to employment opportunities, as well as substance abuse treatment if needed. To make a referral to our Graham UP program, call 914-517-4359.