Location: Albany, New York
Students: Over 300 children and families entrusted to our care daily
Administration, Faculty & Staff: Over 200 full and part-time teachers, childcare workers, and staff
La Salle School began as an orphanage in 1854. Today, La Salle is a residential treatment center for children and families who are in need of counseling and treatment. La Salle’s programs and services includes specialized treatment programming, day services, after school center, evening reporting center, supervised independent living services, and family empowerment (prevention) services.
While youth work to confront issues and solve problems, La Salle School provides them with an education in a New York State Regents accredited middle and high school. Students are offered all of the advantages available in the state’s more “traditional” school settings. Most have had difficulties which have jeopardized their success in these traditional schools. However, the agency views each student’s hurdles as an opportunity to learn and a chance to thrive in a highly personalized and intensified classroom setting. In September, La Salle will announce the addition of Advanced Placement courses giving students the opportunity to excel.
The Student Senate has been working with a team of La Salle staff over the past few months to pilot a school dress code. Day Service youth also participated in this pilot. When classes begin in September, every student will wear a school uniform consistent with the recommendation of the team. Uniforms are being provided to families at no cost.
Clinically, there are a growing number of La Salle youth suffering from significant substance abuse issues increasing the demand for treatment programs. For example, the agency has extended its outpatient Chemical Dependency Services to all La Salle youth through the agency’s on campus OASAS- licensed clinic. This expansion has allowed La Salle to offer much needed treatment services to a broad range of clients, and has resulted in a surge in referrals and placements.
During the summer months, Day Service students had an opportunity to participate in an expanded Recreation Program. They took trips to the Great Escape, the Adirondack Extreme, Howe Caverns, and other terrific destinations.
The Experiential Learning/Challenge Course and Adventure-Based programming equips the Day Services Treatment Team with specialized groups for their students. This course incorporates well regarded group intervention to the individual counseling already in place.
During the past year, a thorough evaluation of the whole agency was conducted by the Council of Accreditation for Children and Services (COA) resulting in reaccreditation. When this examination was complete, COA peer reviewers summed up their findings in an exit interview with staff. They congratulated La Salle for maintaining exceptionally high standards in programming, administration, and associated services including the Juvenile Sexual/Victim Offender Program. The formal reaccreditation letter stated that the entire La Salle School organization personified its mission statement through living and role modeling their guiding principles: ‘We are safe, We are responsible, We are respectful.”
While La Salle relies on 158 years of experience, the agency is quickly stepping into a new age. No longer is the school known as the “coop” of old. Today, La Salle’s is recognized for the outstanding professionalism of their staff. Working as a team, and individually, they ask more of themselves and their abilities as the agency positions itself for the challenges that, no doubt, will shape the future of child welfare.