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Horizon Playground Drive

Organized by: Denise Lee

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THE STORY:

Horizon Academy is a program through the GNETS (Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support) program in Georgia. We serve students with Severe Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities. Our students disabilities are so severe that they are not able to attend their homeschools and we are the last resort before they are referred to a more comprehensive residential treatment. At this time we serve 30 students. We have 4 classrooms with a teacher and a support staff in each classroom. Our classes are multi grade classes with K-4th grade in our Elementary class, 5th-8th in our middle school class and 9-12th grades in our High school class. We also have a class that serves Autistic students with severe behavior problems. Our goal is to work with the students and return them to their homeschools. Some of our students are able to return fairly quickly others remain with our program throughout their school career. We accept new students referred to us from the regular school system throughout the school year so our student numbers fluctuates throughout the year. We serve three surrounding counties: Cook, Berrien and Lanier counties in Georgia.
Our site was recently moved to an old primary school that was no longer in use in Berrien County. A new primary school was built many years ago and the portion of the old building we are using has not been used in a long while. Our site is painted and has new carpet and we love the old school charm of our new site. The playground that we have is old rusted, rotted and unusable. Our students are unable to play on any of the equipment that we have at this time.
We use a program called PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports). With this program we work with the students on "catching them being good). they are rewarded with "Horizon Bucks" when they are following directions, completing assignments and making good choices. They are rewarded for using coping strategies when faced with what could be a very volatile situation for them. We are a therapeutic program that works with our students on better ways to handle problems with counseling and discussion of better ways to handle the situation. We do not use punitive consequences with our students.
Having a new playground would be a wonderful recreational avenue for our students to be able to use on a daily basis. We would like to have the following areas in our new playground: 1. New playground equipment
2. Outdoor classroom
3. Gardening area
4. Walking track
Nashville, GA is a small rural town and using our walking track and playground equipment would build community support for our little school.
A lot of times our students become very frustrated in school and do not have ways to let off steam when they need to calm down. Having a play area and the classroom, gardening and walking areas will be a great way for our students to release some of the frustration they have built up in the classroom setting. Our students often get stuck in the old buildings with hand me down equipment. We are thankful for what we have and appreciate all that our school systems do for us. We would just love for our students to have something NEW that they can be proud of and take care of to show they deserve to have the best of something for once in their school careers.

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Organized by

Denise Lee

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