Photo at left: NRP Program Director Amy Margelony, far left, posed with NRP students and a staffer during a tour of NRP’s new Killingly home.
Young voices are filling the spacious halls of Killingly’s former high school on Westfield Avenue, thanks to a recent move by EASTCONN’s Northeast Regional Program (NRP) that has increased the program’s capacity to serve students with special needs.
“This is a really positive step for NRP because it expands our ability to serve more northeastern Connecticut students closer to home,” said Heather Cymbala, EASTCONN’s Director of Special Education. “The proximity to students’ home communities increases both their access to hometown activities and opportunities to transition them to less restrictive environments in their home schools.”
Previously located in Putnam, the NRP site was too small to meet the region’s demand for clinical day treatment services for students in grades K-12. EASTCONN forged a partnership with Killingly, and the former high school was selected as the new site.
EASTCONN and Killingly staff worked all summer to prepare the building for the first day of class in late August. The freshly painted, refurbished school offered ample room for students and staff, who now have more classroom and learning spaces, updated lighting, a big gym, and access to a playground and playing fields. NRP has grown from 36 to 70 students, with 50 staff.
“The partnership with EASTCONN has always been very strong and the professionalism with which they conduct themselves is very welcome,” said Fran Lagace, Killingly’s Director of Pupil Services. “[EASTCONN’s] commitment to getting this project done on time was truly amazing ... we are excited to have begun this long term relationship to benefit our students and students from the region.”
NRP Program Director Amy Margelony recently took visitors on a tour of the building. She greeted every student by name, and led surprise visits to a number of classrooms, where students were quietly engaged in activities and learning. “It’s a big school, and it’s very exciting to be here,” Margelony said. “The space is amazing, and it’s great for our kids.” She described her NRP staff as “awesome.”
NRP and two other highly regarded EASTCONN clinical day treatment programs, one in Plainfield (Southeast Regional Program), the other in Columbia (Educational and Vocational Center), serve northeastern Connecticut’s K-12 students with social, emotional and behavioral challenges. The schools offer strong academic, vocational and behavioral support structures in traditional school settings.
“EASTCONN’s commitment to continual assessment of students and providing them with an individualized learning plan is a great benefit,” said Lagace. “This allows the team to support a student in achieving their goals, including transitioning back to their mainstream school. [Another] huge benefit for our students is the vocational programming component. It gets our students out into their own community to gain experience, develop relationships and gain the soft skills they will need to be successful in the next stages of their lives.”
Tom Cronin, EASTCONN’s Director of Student Services said that Killingly’s location may also lower transportation costs for many of the 11 sending districts.
“Moving NRP into our building will have a tremendous impact on our students,” said Lagace. “The array of clinical support and related services EASTCONN can provide will be of great benefit to our students. Having these services available will provide seamless supports for students, especially those in crisis.”
To learn more about EASTCONN’s clinical day treatment programs, contact Heather Cymbala at firstname.lastname@example.org.