What We Do
Foster Education Innovation.
Birdsong Farm identifies and makes
strategic investments in promising new ideas that improve the educational
outcomes of children and youth placed in foster care; best practices that are shared with schools
across the region and the nation. We are committed to education reform, action
research and helping students develop a love of life-long learning.
Create Key Partnerships.
Birdsong Farm ensures that education innovation
thrives by creating vibrant partnerships with four key collaborators:
- Mental Health
- Equine/Canine/Animal Welfare
In addition, we seek to leverage resources
throughout the region by developing a compelling menu of engagement options
with colleges, universities, businesses, non-profits and interested citizens to
improve the educational outcomes of our children and youth placed in foster
Develop Conditions for Collaborative Social Change.
Birdsong Farm partners with regional
stakeholders to create the best environment for education reform. It conducts
research that supports educational equity, advances innovative solutions, and
engages educators, mental health professionals, colleges, universities, child
welfare professionals and community members interested in creating
collaborative and sustainable social change.
Birdsong Farm understands that no single agency or
organization can ensure educational success for all students placed in foster
care. Birdsong Farm's vision requires leveraging people, dollar and idea
resources to create sustainable investment in innovation and the creation of
best practices. Therefore, it is collaborating with others to develop on-site
education advocacy systems, a new research-based and data-driven model designed
to ensure disadvantaged children receive the opportunities they need to succeed
in school. These systems:
- Identify children facing educational challenges
- Determine their educational needs
- Ensure appropriate educational support and services
Farm is developing on-site education advocacy systems that involve four additional
- Education Partner
- Farm/Garden Partner
- Mental Health Partner
- Equine/Canine/Animal Welfare Partner
Each Birdsong Farm partner will assume responsibility for
part of the Birdsong Farm collaborative education/advocacy approach.
Region Being Served:
Birdsong Farm will serve children and youth placed in
foster care in towns and cities
throughout southeastern MA, including Attleboro, Brockton, Bridgewater
and Taunton. At full enrollment Birdsong Farm will serve students in Grades Pre-K
Birdsong Farm Principles:
Sensitive Learning Environments:
Farm we understand the importance of creating trauma sensitive learning
environments for students who have experienced challenging beginnings.
by trauma may or may not see school as a safe haven or "different
place" than the one where they experienced a trauma. The significance of trauma is that educators
may not be aware that a student is learning or responding under a trauma response.
patterns or social skills may be misinterpreted or mislabeled. Traumatized
children are vulnerable; teachers are the critical link to intervention with
sensitivity and awareness.
create an environment where students can learn in a safe and positive
environment. At Birdsong Farm trauma sensitive practice is a must for every
Trauma has profound
effects on a child's ability to participate and process the regular school day.
At Birdsong Farm we are creating a learning environment that is safe,
predictable and experiential; one that
offers students an array of supports and opportunities to engage in a
curriculum full of ……
At Birdsong Farm,
educators have an opportunity to support their students in non-traditional ways
and advocate on behalf of their students with trauma sensitive practice and
Common Elements of Trauma Sensitive Schools:
- Comprehensive professional development for teachers & other staff
- A team of school/district personnel to assess individual student cases
- Expanded counseling services
- On-site support services
- Parent and family workshops on the effects of trauma
- Conflict resolution training for both teachers and students
- Consultations with local hospitals, mental health facilities, women's shelters, and other community based organizations
- Regional support for establishing a trauma sensitive learning environment
- Academic instruction techniques for teaching traumatized students
- Development of school policies to be more trauma sensitive
There is no
greater need in education than to give every student the opportunity and
resources to succeed. Quality education for all individuals is the primary way
to create a more socially just society and help ensure that all of our children
in America have the opportunity to thrive educationally.
Farm students will be given opportunities to become literate, active, self
aware, prepared to succeed in higher education, able to determine and attain
their personal goals, and capable of serving as positive role models and
Year-Round Learning Community Model:
who have experienced foster care benefit from participating in a year-round
learning curriculum designed to help them attain the same level of educational
success that their peers who have not been placed in our child welfare system
achieve. To that end, Birdsong Farm will provide students with 12 month full