Honors and Awards
PAECT Graduate Student Award
Elementary Lead Teacher, Sara Heintzelman received the Paul W. Weliver PAECT Graduate Student Award at the PAECT Awards Banquet on February 13th, 2017. She was recognized for her graduate student work through the University of Kentucky where she worked towards her Ph.D. in Educational Sciences with a focus on School Technology Leadership.
Past Director, Dr. Michael George, was awarded the UCEA Excellenece in Educational Leadership Award in 2016.
Lead Teacher, Sara Heintzelman, was awarded the UCEA Graduate Student Fellowship Award. Sara worked with the directors of the Center for Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE) at the University of Kentucky and San Diego State University during the summer of 2016.
Tradition of Excellence Award
Director, Dr. Julie Fogt, received the Tradition of Excellence Award from Lehigh University in 2006.
CEC Today Interview
Past Director, Dr. Michael George talked with CEC Today about the benefits of using positive behavior approaches, and how he and his leadership team not only changed the environment at Centennial School, but dramatically reduced the use of restraint and seclusion practices.
Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice
Centennial School of Lehigh University was recognized by the Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice, American Institutes for Research.
Centennial Selected as 2015-2016 NASET School of Excellence
Centennial School of Lehigh University was selected as a 2015-2016 NASET School of Excellence.
First, the elementary school student surveyed his surroundings—the expanse of the deep sea, the rich blue hue of the water, the wreckage of a ship. Above him, sunlight streamed through the water. Stingrays swam.
Look around, a teacher prodded; a visitor will be coming.
“All of a sudden,” said the young student excitedly, recounting the experience, “a big whale just [came] in and [stopped] there, [looked] at me. I just looked into his eyes. All the fish swam away. When he left, it felt like he was going to slap me with his flipper and hit me with his tail until he almost hit the ship….”
Across the nation, teacher shortages continue to plague all areas of education. Within special education, these shortages are exacerbated by higher burnout and attrition rates. For example, the annual teacher attrition rate is estimated at approximately 10 percent for special education teachers as compared with 6 percent among general education teachers, meaning that special educators are leaving their jobs at almost twice the rate of their general education counterparts. In many cases, schools have more special education vacancies than qualified applicants, often leaving them to fill these positions with inexperienced and, sometimes, under-certified individuals (such as those with emergency certifications) or increase class size.
Julie Fogt locates her portrait under the “F” section in the Easton Area High School yearbook. The typical high school question printed in bold black ink reads, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The words “child psychologist” are printed beneath her name. “I must have always known this,” said Fogt, who earned her undergraduate degree in psychology. “I always wanted to work with children, and I liked the educational aspect.” For the past 22 years since then, Fogt has made her morning commute to Centennial School, just a 15-minute drive from her alma mater. The private school is staffed by Lehigh faculty and graduate students. Centennial’s mission is to provide special education services for students with severe learning and emotional behavioral disabilities.
In this article, we examine two schools that successfully adopted school-wide positive behavior interventions and highlight some of the common features that contributed to their success. As part of our analysis, we draw upon the theoretical literature on organizational change to disucss factors that supported these successful school-wide reform efforts, including the contributions of administrators, teachers, and school psychologists.
Lead Teacher, Dr. Sara Heintzelman co-authored this article highlighting the features from the program where she was a student through the University of Kentucky.
Past Director, Dr. Michael George, co-authored a book, Supporting Students with Emotional and Behavioral Problems: Prevention and Intervention Strategies. The book is available for purchase on Amazon. Below is a summary of the text.
Severe social, emotional, and behavioral challenges can be major obstacles to your students' academic success. Break down those barriers with the research-based interventions in this book, your guide to addressing serious problem behaviors in K-12 classrooms. Aligned with recommended practices for schoolwide positive behavior supports (SWPBS), this book presents a highly effective tiered approach that helps you develop school- and class-wide interventions and match behavior interventions to each student's needs.
The environment at the Centennial School when Michael George took charge of it in 1998 was violent.
Teachers at the school for students with autism and behavioral challenges had to forcibly restrain students more than 1,000 times during the previous year. As many as 25 staff members were being sent to hospital emergency rooms with injuries every year.
“We had teachers who were punched in the face,” George says. “The students had figured out they could assault teachers because the only thing that’s going to happen to them was that teachers were going to put you to the ground, hold you tightly, talk softly to you, and ask you to settle down.”
Use of Functional Assessment to Address the Fainting of an Adolescent Boy With Traumatic Brain Injury
Trevor was a 15-year-old ninth grader with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and neurological impairment. His TBI occurred during surgery to remove a brain tumor when he was 7 years old. Since then, his behavior had become increasingly aggressive. At school, he was fainting and sleeping in hallways for significant amounts of time. He attacked food carts in the lunchroom, stole food, and ate it before anyone could intervene. If someone did intervene, he would hit or push that person away. When teachers talked to Trevor about his behavior, he would yell, hit his head off of walls and objects, throw his glasses, and faint. At home, his parents reported that Trevor threatened to injure himself with household items (e.g., knives) and would run out of the house into neighboring yards or the street.
The District Administration Magazine features Centennial School in an article that reviews the success of positive behavior support.
Centennial School of Lehigh University is featured in the article, Cruel and Unsual, in the Teaching Tolerance Magazine.
This case study describes school-wide practices and structures that were instituted and sustained at Centennial School of Lehigh University for the past 15 years and highlights those practices and structures associated with the universal tier.
Research around the topic of educating students with EB/D in alternative settings is presented in this article.
Establishing and Sustaining Research-Based Practices at Centennial School: A Descriptive Case Study of Systemic Change
There was increased attention given to widely perceived gap between research and practice in school psychology and education. The purpose of this article is to describe how Centennial School of Lehigh University, an alternative day school for students with emotional and behavioral disorders, was able to successfully implement and sustain research-based practices.
Establishing and Promoting Disciplinary Practices at the Building Level that Ensure Safe, Effective, and Nurturing School Enviro
We came together at this forum to explore ways to ensure safer, more effective schools for all students. I would like to describe a school-wide innovation that resulted in the eventual elimination of seclusion time-out and physical restraint in a day school for children with emotional disturbances.