Keystone Launches Two New Schools

Since its opening in 2013, Keystone Child Development Center has grown rapidly. The school was founded based on the inclusion model that provides opportunities for students with disabilities to learn alongside their non-disabled peers. The center’s leaders have spent the past four years developing and perfecting an educational approach that is thoughtful and balanced. They have successfully prepared hundreds of preschool children for success in primary school and beyond.

“Our goal was to produce an educational program that is developmentally appropriate for all young children and based on the best practices in the education field,” Katie Falwell, CEO and founder, said. “We are inspired by a variety of philosophies and approaches, which we have blended together into a program that reflects our commitment to helping children lay the best possible social, emotional, physical and cognitive foundations.”

As a result of rapid growth and what has been learned from the success of Keystone Child Development Center, Dr. Falwell is retiring KCDC and launching two new schools. Collage Day School and Mosaic Day School will open with the 2017-18 school year.

Collage Day School opens in Palm Valley with the first day of school on Aug. 10.

Collage Day School

Collage Day School, an academically challenging, independent day school that will open in Palm Valley this coming August, is currently accepting applications for students from 3 months old through 5th grade. The school focuses on providing a rich, integrative curriculum that encourages creative thinking and that is personalized for each student.

Students will start classes on Thursday, Aug. 10, and the school will follow the St. Johns County Public School Calendar. Collage Day School is located at 171 Canal Boulevard, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082. The 8-acre campus is nestled between the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean in the heart of the Ponte Vedra Beach area of St. Johns County, which offers students hands-on experiences with nature and outdoor learning and additional layers of education, history and ecology.

The faculty of the School is made up of a combination of certified lead teachers and assistant teachers. Each teacher is tasked with bringing subject matter to each student in a way that is engaging and appropriate for the developmental stage of the student, rather than following a scripted lesson plan developed by someone else.

Our approach is thoughtful and balanced. It is also developmentally appropriate and based on the best practices in the education field. We are inspired by a variety of philosophies and approaches, which we blend together into a program that reflects our commitment to helping children lay the best possible social, emotional, physical and cognitive foundations.

Collage staff is challenged with uncovering the unique learning profile of each individual student and matching that knowledge with instruction to help their students develop the tools to be problem solvers, innovators, creators and change makers.

The grounds around Collage Day School will be put to good use as a “living classroom” where children can develop cognitive, social and emotional skills. The school is dedicated to promoting students’ health. Students do not spend their day sitting in front of computers under artificial lights, but have the opportunities to move and use their bodies in healthy ways and to spend time outdoors with a myriad of natural features such as woods and pathways, garden, play equipment and an inner courtyard that provides a common area for the Collage family to gather and socialize.

Collage is completing the process for full membership and accreditation by the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS), Florida Kindergarten Council (FKC) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The school’s VPK program is endorsed by the Florida Department of Children & Families.

How important is preschool?

As reported in Parents.com, “There’s increasing evidence that children gain a lot from going to preschool,” says Parents advisor Kathleen McCartney, PhD, dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “At preschool, they become exposed to numbers, letters, and shapes. And, more important, they learn how to socialize — get along with other children, share, contribute to circle time.”

Mosaic Day School

 Mosaic Day School offers education for children with special needs, ages 1-7. Mosaic has classes designated for early intervention for students who are not appropriate for Collage Day School. Students attending Mosaic will receive services from Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics, as needed, and attend either a half-day program (morning or afternoon) or a school day program (8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.). Before- and after-care will also be available. Mosaic also offers a day treatment program for older students that are not able to successfully participate in a classroom setting.

The school primarily serves children with behavioral/developmental issues who have experienced failure in the continuum of available public or private special education environments and require a high degree of individualized attention and intervention. The program includes intensive one-to-one sessions and small group sessions, when appropriate, which teach students to relate to their peers and participate cooperatively in group activities. The goal is for each student to reintegrate or matriculate to a less restrictive academic setting with traditional classrooms.

Mosaic Day School is located at 6867 Southpoint Rd. N, Jacksonville, FL 32216.

To learn more about Collage Day School, visit @Collage Day School on Facebook and contact Rebecca Bowersox, director of admissions, rbowersox@keystonebehavioral.com, 904.900.1439.

To learn more about Mosaic Day School, contact info@keystonebehavioral.com, 904.619.6071.

Macy’s Makes a Special Wish Come True at Thanksgiving for a Special Young Person

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Katie Falwell, CEO, hugs Sam LaManna, 14. She and other Keystone therapists have worked with Sam since he was six years old.

Sam LaManna is 14 years old and a student at Mainspring Academy a school for students with special needs. When he celebrated his birthday this past January, he had just one wish – to get an autograph from Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Executive Producer, Amy Kule. Sam first saw Amy cut the ribbon at the parade a few years ago and she has been his hero ever since!

Sam’s mother had placenta previa, which caused birth trauma and low heart rate and oxygen levels for Sam. Five days after his birth, the doctors discovered that he had two intraventricular brain hemorrhages. Sam survived but now lives with hydrocephalus, the buildup of fluid in the cavities deep within the brain. The excess fluid increases the size of the cavities and puts pressure on the brain, which damages brain tissues and causes a large spectrum of impairments in brain function.

Macy’s has invited Sam and His Family to be Special Guests at the 90th Anniversary of its Thanksgiving Parade

Last year, with the help of his teacher, Sam made a video message asking Amy for her autograph. The video went viral, eventually Amy saw the video, and she was honored to make his wish come true. Not only did Amy send Sam an autograph, she made a video herself inviting his family, Sam and his former teacher to be her special guests at the 90th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Amy and Al Roker, weather anchor on NBC’s Today and Sam’s other favorite person, have a special Thanksgiving Day planned for Sam.

Sam still attends Mainspring Academy, a private, nonprofit school located in Jacksonville’s Southside. The school opened in 2010 to serve children with a broad range of special needs from elementary through high school.

Sam also receives a number of therapies provided by Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics, which offers integrated healthcare for developmental, behavioral, emotional and learning issues. Using a collaborative team approach, more than 120 therapists are available to help children.

Sam’s lead therapist is Angela Chionchio. Keystone has worked with Sam since he was six years old. When his mother first brought Sam to Keystone in 2008, she described him as happy and affectionate, noting that he loved to read, learned quickly and had excellent memory. Yet, she was concerned that he was stubborn, easily distracted and developmentally delayed. He didn’t sit up until he was 13 months old and didn’t walk until he was 27 months old. Socially, Sam struggled to make friends and seemed disinterested and withdrawn around others.

According to Sam’s lead therapist, Angela Chionchio. “Sam has trouble with ‘first time listening,’ meaning he can be noncompliant when he impulsively sees an object that he wants play with but should not be available at the moment. In the classroom, his teacher and I prompt him to raise his hand to ask permission to do these things and offer him alternatives.”

Sam also has a problem with schedule change. “We help by preparing him for upcoming changes and praising him when he accepts change appropriately,” Angela says.

“Sam is doing great this year,” she says. His new classmates offer him opportunities to grow socially and behaviorally.

“When I asked Sam why he loved the parade so much, he said that it was because he loves when the producer cuts the ribbon at the start of the parade,” she laughs. “He said he also is very excited to see Santa Claus at the grand finale  and meet the host of the Today Show.”

“Sam is a wonderfully unique little guy,” his mom says. “I knew great things were inside him, but I needed Keystone’s help for Sam to bring out all that he has to offer the world.”

Sam’s trip to New York City is made even more special by the fact that his parents and he tried to visit the city last year, but had to cancel at the last minute because Sam needed emergency surgery. The IV shunt that was implanted in Sam’s brain unexpectedly quit working, so Sam had to endure hours of major surgery.

An implanted shunt diverts cerebrospinal fluid from the chambers within the brain to another body region where it will be absorbed. This creates an alternative route for removal of cerebrospinal fluid which is constantly produced within the brain and usually restores physiological balance.

Sam has blossomed under the therapy he receives at Keystone and in his classes at Mainspring Academy. All of us at Keystone and Mainspring are so excited for Sam that he has been able to achieve and even exceed his dream of getting autographs from Amy Kule and Al Roker.

“Sam is a wonderfully unique little guy,” his mom says. “I knew great things were inside him, but I needed Keystone’s help for Sam to bring out all that he has to offer the world.”

Sam’s trip to New York City is made even more special by the fact that his parents and he tried to visit the city last year, but had to cancel at the last minute because Sam needed emergency surgery. The IV shunt that was implanted in Sam’s brain unexpectedly quit working, so Sam had to endure hours of major surgery.

An implanted shunt diverts cerebrospinal fluid from the chambers within the brain to another body region where it will be absorbed. This creates an alternative route for removal of cerebrospinal fluid which is constantly produced within the brain and usually restores physiological balance.

Sam has blossomed under the therapy he receives at Keystone and in his classes at Mainspring Academy. All of us at Keystone and Mainspring are so excited for Sam that he has been able to achieve and even exceed his dream of getting autographs from Amy Kule and Al Roker.

Mainspring kids with special needs enjoy Special Olympics day

On Friday, April 29, Mainspring Academy, a private, nonprofit special needs school that is located at Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics, hosted a track and field event for its students, with the help of Special Olympics. The students worked hard in their P.E. classes for the past the past month and a half on the skills for participating in these events. Students competed in events such as softball throw, long jump, 50 meter dash, shot put and 100 meter dash. Special Olympics handed out medals at the end. Their smiles and cheers for each other and themselves made all their hard work worthwhile!

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Mainspring Academy helps students with special needs reach their fullest potential in all areas of life

Students from 5-22 years of age receive individualized instruction in classrooms with low student to teacher ratios. The academy provides special education for kids who have a wide range of learning issues and behavior disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, Down syndrome, brain injury and developmental disorders. Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics providers are the academy’s primary source of behavioral service. Collaborating as a team to provide integrative healthcare, they provide a full range of mental health, applied behavior analysis, speech/language, feeding and occupational therapy to augment work in the classroom.

Celebrate children with autism through Light It Up Blue for Autism Awareness 2016

Join Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics in bringing awareness to children in Jacksonville, Florida, and surrounding Northeast Florida areas, who have autism by sharing information out about Light It Up Blue on April 2 through your social media and wearing blue on Saturday, April 2. Keystone will be wearing blue on Friday, April 1, too, so that we can celebrate the occasion as a company!

VPK program 2016-17 registration begins for 4-year-olds

 

You can now register your child for Keystone Child Development Center’s (KCDC) free Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) program at https://familyservices.floridaearlylearning.com/. KCDC serves both typically developing children and children with special needs, from 18 months through first grade. Children with needing help with behavioral issues and learning challenges benefit from Keystone Behavioral Pediatric’s comprehensive team including a pediatrician, licensed clinical psychologists, board certified behavior analysts, master’s level clinicians and occupational therapists that provide behavior therapy as well as occupational, speech/language and feeding therapy to toddlers and all ages of children for ADHD, autism. The team works collaboratively in the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of a broad range of developmental, behavioral, learning and genetic disorders in children and adolescents (birth to 22 years of age).

KCDC classrooms use an inclusive model. This type of classroom gives special education students the support they need while they learn alongside their general education peers. General education students benefit from the additional resources and supportive techniques used in an inclusion classroom.

The program is designed to prepare children for school with specialized VPK standards implemented within all lesson plans. The multi-age classroom setting allows younger students to learn from their older, more experienced peers, while giving older students the opportunity to lead and support their younger peers.

To be eligible for Keystone’s free pediatric VPK program, children must reside in Florida and have been born between 9/2/2011 and 9/1/2012.

To register, you will need:

  • Access to the internet and a scanner
  • Child’s Social Security Number
  • One proof of current residency (driver’s license, utility bill or pay stub)
  • One proof of age (birth certificate, passport or military ID)
  • Shot records cannot be accepted

How to register:

  • Set up a working email address.
  • Log on to VPKDuval.org to complete the online VPK application.
  • Separately scan and submit required supporting documents in PDF format:
    • Current proof of residency (see above)
    • Current proof of age (see above)
  • Once application and documentation has been reviewed and approved by ELC, a certificate will be emailed to families.

You can learn more about KCDC’s VPK classroom and the other classrooms and programs it offers by visiting online and touring in person by contacting Paige Norton at 904.619.6071 for an appointment.

Keystone’s VPK program earns perfect inspection by DCF

Keystone Child Development Center’s Pre-K/VPK program for 3½- to 5-year old children offers individualized instruction to prepare both children with special needs and also those typically developing for its kindergarten program, which is a one- to two-year program designed to fit the individual needs of each student. The Florida Department of Children & Families (DCF) monitors KCDC’s facilities because the center offers a free voluntary prekindergarten program, which is funded by the state.

Under new KS48-croppedmanagement by Ashley Kiser, M.S., BCBA, director of early childhood services, and Greta Hernandez, RBT, assistant director of early childhood services, the KCDC facility has been 100 percent compliant in the past four quarterly inspections.

The Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program (VPK) provides 4-year-old children who reside in Florida and were born on or before Sept. 1 each year with an opportunity to attend quality preschools such as KCDC for free, to enable them to receive age-appropriate curricula with a strong emphasis on early literacy skills, accountability, manageable class sizes and qualified instructors. The Florida VPK program supports Keystone’s emphasis on the importance of a child’s early years in learning to be attentive and to follow directions.

KCDC supports the philosophy that the most important growth and development in the brain happens by the age of five. Structured early learning fosters these abilities for later success in school and in life. In addition, KCDC’s Pre-K/VPK program uses a multi-age classroom setting, which allows younger students to learn from their older, more experienced peers while giving older students the opportunity to lead and support their younger peers.

KCDC uses the “Making Friends, Pre-K – 3: A Social Skills Program for Inclusive Settings” (Second Edition) curriculum. Students enjoy structured and unstructured social activities while reaping the benefits of weekly themes and lessons.

As a department within Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics, KCDC offers its children services offered by other Keystone departments, such as onsite medical care including a pediatrician and nurse/ psychological assessment; applied behavior analysis (ABA); early identification and intervention of developmental delays and behavioral challenges; and feeding, speech and occupational therapy.

To learn more, arrange a visit or apply, visit Keystone’s website or contact info@keystonebehavioral.com, 904.619.6071.

 

Keystone named one of Jacksonville’s top 50 fastest-growing companies

Jacksonville Business Journal recently named Keystone to its Fast 50 list of the 50 fastest-growing companies in northeast Florida. By expanding based on need and stabilizing as necessary to remain financially sound, Keystone has steadily grown since its founding in 2008 as a small pediatric mental health behavior clinic.

In focusing on an integrated whole-child approach to assessment and treatment, Keystone quickly began to recognize the need for a school for special needs students who cannot function in a public school setting and who would benefit from having ready access to their behavioral therapists during the school day. As a result, in 2010, Keystone Academy was added as a special needs school for kindergarten through grade 12.

As more children and their families continued to come to Keystone for services, the clinic began seeing children with rehabilitative needs, with or without mental health/behavioral issues. Therapists were added to staff departments in occupational, feeding and speech and language with the goal of becoming truly interdisciplinary – one stop for services – to make it more convenient for families and less overwhelming to obtain services.

Keystone knows that early intervention is the key to successfully changing behaviors, so in 2013 Keystone Child Development Center was added to serve children 18 months through kindergarten. The center is VPK endorsed. In response to discovering that some children enrolled in the VPK program would benefit by having an extra year of kindergarten before transitioning to regular school, Keystone opened a one- or two- year kindergarten program this fall.

This summer Keystone transitioned Keystone Academy to Mainspring Academy, to enable it to grow as a separate, nonprofit, private, special needs school. Keystone therapists remain the primary providers of behavioral services for Mainspring Academy students, often working alongside academic teachers in the classroom, in addition to providing additional services after school.

In planning for the future, Keystone is adding more certified or credentialed staff because there is more need in the area than services available to meet the need. Keystone is focusing on making preschools and all public and private school in north Florida and south Georgia aware that it is available to train their staff on how to recognize and manage behavioral issues in the classroom.

Dr. Katherine Falwell, founder and CEO, continues to lead Keystone on its path to serving both typically developing children and children with special needs. While she was a professor and post-doc at the University of Florida, she became aware of the need for more pediatric behavioral services in general, and Jacksonville, as a large metro area, seemed a logical place to open a practice. The number of institutions of higher education in and near Jacksonville is a tremendous benefit to a growing practice like Keystone. The clinic regularly engages interns and practicum students majoring in psychology.

Keystone’s commitment to charitable organizations that relate to the developmental issues that its children face has helped it grow as well. For example, staff and families participate in annual runs and walks hosted by organizations such as the Early Learning Coalition, Walk Now for Autism Speaks, North Florida Chapter of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Jax4Kids, March for Babies – First Coast, HEAL Foundation and Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville. These organizations work hard to raise money that goes towards improving and supporting services such as the ones Keystone provides and engaging and informing families with special needs children.

Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics is a full-service, outpatient clinic providing individual- and family-based services to both typically developing children and those with special needs from birth to 22 years of age. Keystone emphasizes an integrated whole-child approach to assessment and treatment. Treatment commonly involves new skill acquisition through evidence-based behavioral programming strategies to promote positive behaviors and to decrease problematic actions.

 

Mainspring Academy students display art at MOCA Jacksonville

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Mainspring Academy invites you to the school’s Inaugural Art Exhibition & Reception at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), in downtown Jacksonville, on Saturday, Oct.  3, at 7 p.m. This fun-filled evening with include great food and drink from Cafe Nola, in addition to the opportunity to view and purchase unique art created by Mainspring Academy students.

All funds raised from the event are designated for hardship scholarships, teacher education and advancement and capital improvements for Mainspring Academy. Tickets are $50 per person.

Mainspring Academy is the area’s premier academic center, preschool through high school, for students with special needs and learning challenges in Jacksonville and surrounding areas. Call Garrett Adamson, head of school, or Maegan Howell, director of school administration, at 904.503.0344 or request information online to learn more.