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About Holmstead School

Holmstead School is a therapeutic high school in Ridgewood, changing adolescent lives for 45 years. Referrals accepted from Child Study Teams and clinicians. Educating grades 8-12, ages 13-18, from over 50 towns within 6 New Jersey counties.

  • Each student is classified as a result of a diagnostic profile prepared by the sending district Child Study Team.

  • The local Board of Education remains responsible for the student in his placement at Holmstead School.

  • Holmstead School provides an educational and therapeutic milieu, which emphasizes innovative and flexible education for bright adolescents who need to be challenged in order to change their motivation and performance.

Holmstead students between the ages of 13 and 18 possess high intellectual potential but have been unable to achieve successfully in traditional school settings.

Our Full Mission Statement

Typical Holmstead students are those with a history of:

School Phobia

Students who have had erratic attendance in the past, causing gaps in their academic and social progress require support. They are often “lost in the shuffle” in public schools and benefit greatly from the focus on the individual stressed by Holmstead. This small setting serves to minimize frustration in order to promote a positive self-image.

Learning Problems

In this low-pressure atmosphere provided by caring, insightful professionals, the emphasis is placed on the needs of the student, rather than on the demands of the curriculum. Individual help is available to all students in each course.

Behavioral Issues

These distractible, attention-seeking, students pose problems within the classroom, as their behavior can be unpredictable and their focus erratic. Small classes minimize disruption and threat to teacher control and inappropriate outbursts are either avoided or dealt with immediately and less emotionally.

 Problems With Authority

Students who characteristically question rules and regulations, can be hard to motivate, and have difficulty adjusting to traditional academic situations. Efforts are made in working with them to redirect their energies toward positive career-related goals in order to minimize their manipulative attitudes and encourage their social and academic progress.

Anti-bullying Policy

Holmstead School prohibits acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying. Holmstead School believes that all students are entitled to work and study in a school­-related environment that is free of harassment, intimidation and bullying. Our mission is based on a philosophy of deep respect for the inherent worth of each individual, regard for the environment, and belief in the capacity for personal change. We commit ourselves to forming relationships with people so that each person may experience a sense of belonging, dignity and hope. It is through relationships that students and staff grow in self-understanding and self-esteem. Each person has the right to self-determination. Therefore, a safe and civil environment in school is necessary for our students to fulfill this mission and to learn and achieve high academic standards. Harassment, intimidation or bullying, like other disruptive or violent behaviors, is conduct that disrupts both a student’s ability to learn and our ability to educate students in a safe environment, and therefore will not be tolerated.

Program

Holmstead School is in session from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. daily. College preparation skills as well as career development experiences are offered. Students are required to take six courses in a rotating schedule. This procedure minimizes anxiety about facing the same courses at the same time each day. Students are required to fulfill state-mandated course requirements but many electives are designed to provide a well-rounded curriculum. Students are encouraged to take an active part in the planning of their schedules, by selecting courses from the forty-five offered at Holmstead. These course selections are compiled by the Supervisor of Education in an effort to predict improvement, promote success, and increase motivation.

Incorporated into the school day is a one-hour required class called recreational arts, in which students fulfill physical education mandates and participate in organized activities. These include physical education, yearbook, art, music instruction, and the school newspaper. Field trips, which vary from the educational to the recreational, are offered periodically.

Holmstead School complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination by reason of race, color, creed, or national origin.

Psychological Services

Therapeutic intervention on the part of highly skilled psychologists, social workers, and a student assistance counselor enables Holmstead students to participate in individual psychotherapy and group counseling. The staff includes male and female clinicians who afford students the opportunity to work with the professional with whom he/she relates most comfortably and productively. Sessions uphold confidentiality in order to build trust.

A parent support group, facilitated by Holmstead therapists, addresses issues of concern regarding adolescent interaction with family, peers, school, and the community.

Assessment

Course-related educational plans in the form of student contracts are evaluated weekly by the faculty. These contracts enable teachers to keep a daily accurate account of academic and behavioral performance of each student. Weekly summaries are shared with students and emailed to parents bi-weekly. Each student meets regularly with a teacher/advisor to promote consistent program progress.

Formal evaluative reports, which include grades in each class, an attendance record and anecdotal summaries from each teacher, are prepared quarterly and disseminated to the child study teams by the director.

State PARCC testing, a requirement for graduation, is facilitated on site at Holmstead. PSAT, SAT, ACT testing, transition planning, and college counseling are also provided.

Student Services

  • Highly Skilled Clinicians
  • Individual & Group Therapy
  • Parent Support Group
  • Therapeutic Intervention
  • Zero Tolerance for Bullying
  • Crisis Management
  • Nurturing, Safe Environment
  • Daily Communication with Teachers
  • Consultation with Psychiatrists & Outside Therapists
  • Full-Time Nurse Health Instructor
  • Challenging Courses
  • Small Group Instruction
  • Supportive Personalized Setting
  • Sensitivity to Adolescent Issues
  • College Online Courses
  • Virtual Science Labs
  • Guidance and Transition
  • Innovative Teaching Methods
  • Bi-Weekly Feedback to Parents
  • PSAT, SAT, ACT, and PARCC on site

Affiliations and Awards

We are a multi-disciplinary school committed to the success of our students!

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