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Benefits of a Transition Classroom

Behavioral and emotional issues can prevent students from succeeding in school. The pandemic has amplified these issues, impacting students, parents, teachers, and administrators; discipline referrals are higher than ever. Transition Classrooms provide a proven framework using brain science to help students in grades K-12 overcome trauma, build resiliency, and return to a regular classroom setting.


How Do Transition Classrooms Work?

Transition Classrooms are placed on school grounds, with skilled professionals integrating educational and counseling services. They utilize an evidence-based treatment framework to stop inappropriate behaviors and teach students strategies to deal with stressors. Parents and families are also engaged in the process. “We want to give students coping skills to be successful in school,” says Paul Mancia, MS, Managing Director of Transition Classrooms. “School administrators and teachers are able to handle minor issues, but it takes specialized training to address severe anxiety and trauma. If kids are not in a space – mentally or emotionally – where they are ready to learn, they need extra help. Transition Classrooms offer this opportunity for students to learn in a strong, supportive environment.”


Benefits to School Districts

Transition Classrooms offer several benefits to districts:

  1. Cost savings: Many school districts currently send students with behavioral issues to offsite locations. This cost can add up quickly! Starting a Transition Classroom program and bringing back the students who are currently offsite can mean immediate savings. One of the districts we support calculated a savings of $5 million over seven years.

  2. Safe haven: Transition Classrooms provide a safe community for students who may not have found one before. Students experiencing adversity may show symptoms in the home and at school. This can result in students acting out or becoming withdrawn. In either case, they are not going to learn as well as they otherwise might. In the Transition Classroom, an individualized roadmap is created for each student with a plan to work toward returning to the regular classroom.

  3. Flexible Tiered Supports: As life adversities arise, school districts know they can have Laurel Life staff “triage” the student to help determine what is happening. Laurel Life can provide a tiered system of support to provide strategies districts may use that take minimum time and effort. With a Master’s Level Clinician on-site daily, school districts can utilize counseling supports to remove barriers to treatment often found in community treatment settings. (For some students, it may be a simple “pat on the back” for a job well done.) If needed, support is in place to easily shift the student into and out of the Transition Classroom, as appropriate. In one example, a student’s home burned down. Understandably, they were dealing with trauma from the loss and unable to focus on schoolwork. The student was helped over a period of days, then returned to their primary classroom

  4. Rebuild bridges: The Laurel Life team works to rebuild bridges between the parents and school district and staff. This relationship is important to student success, but in many cases, it becomes strained when a behavioral issue starts. A third-party can often help mend fences and explain both sides of the situation.

  5. Cultural change: District administrators and teachers start thinking differently about students with behavioral issues. The focus begins to shift from discipline to healing, a more effective approach.

If your school district is considering Transition Classrooms, Laurel Life is happy to schedule a visit with a participating district to observe one of our classrooms in action. Please contact Paul Mancia or Mark Keck at (717) 375-4834.


Learn more about Transition Classrooms.