Our Approach to “Schooling”

Every school has a “tone.”  This is set quietly, in lots of little ways, all day, every day.  It’s how we treat each other, how we walk in the hall, how we look at learning, how we celebrate success, and the list goes on.   There are two words we work hard to communicate through our “tone” at Shawmut Hills… positive & holistic

Our Holistic Approach


Many studies have been done on the Brain-Body connection over the years.  All these studies have in common that movement – particular types of movement – enhances our ability to listen and learn.  We want our kids to have the best learning environment we can provide.  So together with dedicated teachers, staff and involved parents, our SHAWMUT HILLS HAWK SENSORY LAB optimizes the learning environment for all children!   All items will be used as TOOLS not TOYS.   Specific ways to use the equipment and do the activities will be used to maximize the body’s VESTIBULAR (balance/inner ear) and PROPRIOCEPTIVE (joint/muscle) input.   Children in the lower grades visit the lab between 1 and 3 times every week. Our older students do so less frequently as a group but have access to the lab during “open hours” to suit their own personal needs.  We also work with local students of occupational therapy to team with support groups of older children. 


Each classroom is equipped with a tool box that contains different sensory tools for students to explore.  They are trained how to use them but also to appreciate that everyone learns differently.  Therefore, support for one person’s academic task completion might not be the same as the next person’s support.  Tools include sound earmuffs, pencil grips of all sorts, Franklin Talking Dictionaries, Therabands, Theratubing, Sit Fits, ball chairs, spacemen, Velcro, fidgits, EZC Reader Strips, weighted lap buddies… and we are open to your ideas, too!  


Every Tuesday morning, a group of lead education specialists sit down with student specialists (parents) to see how we can better serve the needs of students who are not thriving with the general plan.  We tweak, alter, beef up, and cut out anything we all feel would benefit the learner.  After implementing the new ideas, we keep records of progress and revisit the learner 6-8 weeks later to see if the new ideas were successful or if more is needed.  We want to be sure that our entire community is being served to the best of our abilities.  For a flow chart of this, check out the Shawmut Hills Family Handbook.

Our Positive Approach

We use a formal system to do this.  It is a system called Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS).  It’s great… here’s the best explanation we can offer all wrapped up in an 8 minute video.
Here is the website where you can check out why we do what we do.    http://www.pbis.org/ 
Here is our community expectation grid.  We explicitly teach these behaviors throughout the year.  The entire staff works hard to acknowledge when we see the behaviors in action, to use the same language, to have the same expectations, and to support those who need it.  We need all adults in our community to be on the same page.  Together, we can set our students up for success!

Community Behavior Expectations