Wellspring and the Arch Bridge School Celebrates Ten Graduates in 2016

Students Thankful to Discover True Selves & Bright Futures

This year the Arch Bridge School, accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), awarded diplomas to ten students of the graduating class of 2016. Themes of the graduation ceremony on our main campus in Bethlehem were: finding our way, learning who we really are, and looking forward to a bright and healthy future. This was the first graduation to take place at Wellspring’s new Dodds Family Center for Arts and Athletics.

Reflecting the relational quality of our program, several aspects of the ceremony make Arch Bridge School graduations special. As they receive their diplomas, students are not simply given a handshake and sent back to their seats. Rather as each diploma is handed out, a member of the faculty delivers a thoughtful and personalized speech honoring the graduate’s accomplishments and progress. These personal presentations are filled with stories of transformation, tears and laughter. This year, the staff speeches included a few props such as a coveted Student of the Month tee-shirt and a tiara with scepter set. Graduates are also invited to speak at the ceremony if they wish.

“It was really difficult for me to write this speech because every time I tried to describe Wellspring, it sounded like they paid me,” one graduate said in her address. “Like when you see the Girl Scout cookie boxes where the girls are really happy – that’s me at Wellspring. Arch Bridge is by far my favorite high school experience. The staff and students were always kind and funny. Eventually I was oddly happy to wake up and go to school in the mornings. I have never been more thankful for a school.”

Another student said, “Wellspring is truly a magical place…if you take advantage of what it offers, you will transform into your true self. One of the most important things I learned here is that Wellspring will always stay with you, even after you leave.”

Keynote speaker at the ceremony, Liza Amir, a former resident of Wellspring, inspired students by sharing her experience from the heart and speaking about her success and happiness since her time on campus.

“Change might be scary and intimidating, but it is also very exciting,” Liza imparted. “Have the confidence to work towards your goals, and the self-worth to know that you deserve them.”

“Who will you be?” Liza asked. “Where will you be in a year? Ten years? I am talking to you as proof of what is possible…Wellspring saved my life. It has been 18 years since I was a resident at Wellspring. If you had told my 16-year-old self when I was a resident here that I’d be where I am today, I probably would have laughed at you. Today I am an artist, wife, mother, friend, sister and daughter. I have a fulfilling career that I love, a husband who is truly my partner and soul mate, an amazing son, meaningful friendships and a deep authentic relationship with my family. It took a lot of work. It all takes work.”

Liza’s advice for the graduates, and that could apply to everyone: Trust yourself and have faith in yourself. You don’t have to be perfect but be sure to learn from your mistakes. Remain humble and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

Several students also shared their talents and sang with emotion in duos and groups – including a beautiful a capella rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

The members of the graduating class of 2016 will be moving on to college, jobs or travelling abroad. Five eighth grade students were also recognized for moving up to high school and many other students were acknowledged for their hard work and progress as they head back to their public schools, prep schools or step-down programs.

Arch Bridge School at Wellspring – NASET School of Excellence 2016-2017

The Arch Bridge School at Wellspring, a leader in therapeutic education, has been honored as a 2016-2017 National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) School of Excellence.

According to NASET, “Selection as a NASET a School of Excellence is the highest honor a private special education school can achieve through our professional association. The recognition is bestowed on private special education schools that meet rigorous professional criteria and have demonstrated truly exceptional dedication, commitment and achievement in the field of special education.”

“The NASET Award to the Arch Bridge School at Wellspring is another affirmation for the dedicated teachers and staff. The quality of their work and relationships to their students continues to be exemplary,” said NASET Executive Directors Dr. Roger Pierangelo and Dr. George Giuliani, in a written statement.

Arch Bridge School is also featured on the NASET School of Excellence website, as can be seen in this year’s recipients listing online.

The Arch Bridge School at Wellspring serves children in grades 1-12 and has earned multiple commendations from the State of Connecticut’s Department of Education. The school offers academics and college preparatory courses, allowing students to meet their unique academic objectives while in our day school or residential treatment programs. The Arch Bridge School has a long history of success in serving youth with emotional and psychological issues along with learning vulnerabilities. At Wellspring and the Arch Bridge School youth develop the skills and resources they need to return to a public school setting, return to home, or enroll in college.

The National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) is a national membership organization dedicated to rendering all possible support and assistance to those preparing for or teaching in the field of special education. NASET was founded to promote the profession of special education teachers and to provide a national forum for their ideas.

The mission of NASET is to render all possible support and assistance to professionals who teach children with special needs. NASET seeks to promote standards of excellence and innovation in special education research, practice, and policy in order to foster exceptional teaching for exceptional children. Learn more at www.naset.org.

 

Wellspring Opens New Arts & Athletics Center

Dodds Family Center for Arts & Athletics at Wellspring's Arch Bridge School

Isabella Dodds is greeted by Arch Bridge School Director of Education Ralph Scafariello and Wellspring CEO Dan Murray.

Over 170 members of Wellspring’s community of staff, board members, clients, students, families, and friends (old and new) gathered together to celebrate the opening of the newly completed Dodds Family Center for Arts & Athletics on September 19, 2015. The day’s events centered around a celebration of Arch Bridge School’s 25th Birthday and honoring the school’s founder Susan Scott Schoenbach.

Throughout the day Wellspring employees and leaders expressed their gratitude to the many individuals who helped make our dream of the new building a reality.

Dan Murray, Wellspring’s CEO, shared the following quote, reminding those gathered of the amazing shared accomplishment of opening the Dodds Family Center:

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do whats possible;
and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.
– Saint Francis

The new building provides Wellspring with much needed spaces – a gymnasium/event center for large groups to come together, an exercise room, classrooms for Arch Bridge School’s Lower School (previously housed in temporary trailers), and a conference room for trainings and art exhibits that will serve double duty as a dining room for the Arch Bridge day students.

Over the past few weeks our campus has been buzzing with activity as we move into the classroom wing of the building and explore the new spaces available for recreational activities. Stay tuned for more photos this fall as we settle in, but in the meantime click here to see some photographs of the new building and our event in September.

 

 

NASET Names the Arch Bridge School at Wellspring as a School of Excellence – Highest Honor Among Private Special Education Programs

The Arch Bridge School at Wellspring, a leader in therapeutic education, has been honored as a 2015-2016 National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) School of Excellence.

 

Bestowed upon only a few select qualified licensed schools in the state of Connecticut, the School of Excellence award is NASET’s highest level of recognition and is presented to schools that meet rigorous professional criteria and have demonstrated exceptional dedication, commitment and achievement in the field of special education.

 

“The Arch Bridge School works to provide the highest level of academic support to students suffering severe emotional and educational issues,” said Ralph Scafariello, Director of Education at The Arch Bridge School at Wellspring. “It is an honor to be selected as a School of Excellence, thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff members. This distinction comes at an exciting time as we are completing the addition of a new Arts and Athletics Center on campus, which will allow us to even better serve the students in our care.”

 

The Arch Bridge School at Wellspring serves children in grades 1-12 and has earned multiple commendations from the State of Connecticut’s Department of Education. The school offers academics and college preparatory courses, allowing students to meet their unique academic objectives while in our day school or residential treatment programs. The Arch Bridge School has a long history of success in serving youth with emotional and psychological issues along with learning vulnerabilities.

 

At Wellspring and The Arch Bridge School youth develop the skills and resources they need to return to a public school setting, return to home, or enroll in college. For more information about Wellspring and The Arch Bridge School, visit www.wellspring.org.

 

About NASET

The National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) is a national membership organization dedicated to rendering all possible support and assistance to those preparing for or teaching in the field of special education. NASET was founded to promote the profession of special education teachers and to provide a national forum for their ideas.

The mission of The National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) is to render all possible support and assistance to professionals who teach children with special needs. NASET seeks to promote standards of excellence and innovation in special education research, practice, and policy in order to foster exceptional teaching for exceptional children. Learn more at www.naset.org.

 

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