WELCOME to NHS School - ALTOONAThe NHS School provides educational programming in full-time autistic support and full-time emotional support classrooms to students from 16 school districts and five counties. Students from age 5 through 21 are accepted. A Pennsylvania certified special education teacher and a highly qualified classroom aide lead instruction in each classroom where a low student-to-staff ratio is maintained at all times. Applied behavior analysis, individualized programming, and outstanding speech therapy services make our autism program unique. Cognitive behavioral interventions, therapeutic instruction guided by a master's level Behavior Shaping Specialist, and gender responsive programming for adolescent girls enhance our emotional support program. Our school works in collaboration with the local school districts and community providers to offer individualized, quality programming for each student.
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NHS Schools Altoona and East Freedom Spread Autism Awareness
Learning About Volcanoes
A trip to Holiday Bowl
Learning about Pirates
Celebrating the Holidays
Students Raise Money for Local Family
Supporting Bullying Prevention
NHS Schools Altoona and East Freedom Participate in a Food and Goods Drive
The staff and students brought in canned food items and personal hygiene items for two weeks to donate to benefit those who are less fortunate in the Bedford County area.
Great job students and staff!
Students Visit the Pittsburgh Zoo
A Trip to Valewood Farms
Through hard work by Brandon and dedication from staff, Brandon has improved his behaviors tremendously. Brandon no longer needs Therapeutic Staff Support hours in the school setting. He completes work independently at his desk with very limited prompts. Occasionally, Brandon requires a prompt to stay on task, but he is easily redirected back to task. He has volunteered at local businesses including the Salvation Army, the Bedford Library, UPMC Bedford Memorial Hospital, the Horseshoe Curve, Cosmo's Coffee Shop, and the Altoona Railroader's Museum.
Brandon is now 20 years-old and has one year remaining at NHS. He has expressed interest in working at Walmart, Carmike Cinemas, and Burger King. The sky is the limit for Brandon, due to the skills that he has acquired through the years along with his ability to control his behaviors.
One of the first things we worked on with Jeffrey was identifying coping strategies that he could use when he became upset, frustrated, or angry. Jeffrey was able to identify some of his strengths and interests, especially cooking. Over time, Jeffrey gained the ability to use his coping skills with prompting and at times independently. He started to open up to staff about his anger and frustrations and was able to appropriately process many of his feelings. Jeffrey also began to enjoy school as he started to learn new things. Now, as a 7th grader Jeffrey has substantially increased his reading ability and is now independently reading chapter books. He is proud of his ability to read and enjoys reading to his niece at home. Jeffrey has also increased his math ability by four grade levels since 2009.
Jeffrey wants to be a chef after graduation from school and is working very hard to achieve this goal. The local vocational-technical school has a culinary arts program, and Jeffrey is working toward being able to attend that program in a few years.
The students at NHS Schools in Altoona and East Freedom have been busy this school year learning about their communities and about the importance of giving back to their communities. Students at both locations have been learning about different ways to give back or donate to their communities since the school year began in September. Students and staff have participated in a variety of theme days to collect monetary donations for various community organizations. In September, students and staff kicked off the school year with a jersey day and raised $50 that was donated to the Central PA Humane Society.
In October, students and staff celebrated wacky hat and wear pink day to collect donations for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Students were able to collect and donate $90 to this worthy cause. Throughout October and November, students and staff participated in Operation Support Our Soldiers. Donations were made from a provided list of needs and monetary donations were collected in the amount of $165 to help our troops. Also, in November, students and staff organized a two-week long food drive to benefit the St. Vincent de Paul Assumption Chapel Food Pantry. Collection boxes were placed at both the Altoona and East Freedom School locations, as well as several different businesses throughout the local communities.
Students from the Altoona School location also set up a collection table at Sam's Club on November 10 to collect non-perishable and monetary donations. To encourage participation within the schools, students and staff participated in a variety of theme days. They had fun wearing their favorite hats, pajamas, and mixed-up clothes while providing non-perishable food donations for the pantry. In total, NHS students and staff were able to collect $262 and non-perishable food items valued at $700 to donate to the food pantry.
To continue their community outreach into the holiday season, several students and staff from both Altoona and East Freedom will be heading to Walmart in Altoona to help the Salvation Army with their Kettle Drive. Students and staff will be ringing the bell on December 21st outside the Altoona Walmart to celebrate the season of giving. Students and staff at NHS Schools Altoona and East Freedom are very excited about their various opportunities to give back to their local communities.
Look for more community outreach activities from NHS Schools students and staff after the new year.
Name: Melanie Shildt
School Address: 1012 8th Avenue, Altoona, PA 16602 (view on map)
School Phone Number: 814-944-3733
|On Monday, July 8, students at the NHS School Altoona were visited by the local emergency service personnel. The EMTs brought an ambulance to the school and talked with the students about what to do in an emergency and answered several questions that the students had for them. The students were given the opportunity to go inside the back of the ambulance and see all the equipment. They tested the siren and one of the students was given a ride on the stretcher. The students fully enjoyed the educational experience that they were given and were truly inspired by their community's helpers.|
Everyone had a great time and are already looking forward to next year's event.
|The students from NHS Altoona and East Freedom Schools attended a field trip to DelGrosso Park, a local family owned amusement park, on May 22. The students enjoyed the rides, games and a pizza lunch. Many of the students enjoyed the thrill of rides, while others just enjoyed watching with their friends. Everyone had a great time and look forward to returning next year.|
|The students from the autism and emotional support classrooms at the NHS School Altoona took a walking field trip to a local park, Gospel Hill. Everybody participated in a clean-up project at the park by cleaning up litter and weeds.
The students were able to enjoy a picnic lunch and played games together before returning to the school. It was nice to see both classrooms working together, with many of the emotional support students being role models to the autism students. The students took a lot of pride in helping to clean up their community.
|Students and staff of the Autism and Emotional Support programs watched an exciting show of animal acts, clowns, and stunts at the Jaffa Shrine Circus on Tuesday, April 16. The students were able to purchase snacks and souvenirs during intermission and had the opportunity to get autographs from the clowns. The students also wore autism awareness tee-shirts they made to spread autism awareness.|
|Classrooms at the NHS School Altoona participated in an activity to support Child Abuse Awareness Month. The classes chose to plant Forget-Me-Not flowers in memory of those who were abused. The flowers represent the children who have been forgotten, and are blue for the color of child abuse awareness.
In the United States, nearly four children die every day as a result of child abuse and neglect. More than three quarters of these children are under the age of five and more than 40 percent of young victims won't live to see their first birthday. Over 15 million children witness violence and abuse in their homes each year.
|Miss Paige's class at the NHS School Altoona made puzzle piece tee-shirts to recognize Autism Awareness on April 10. The students used puzzle piece templates and spray fabric paint to design their tee-shirts, with the assistance of staff. The students wore their shirts on Tuesday, April 16 when they took a field trip to the Jaffa Shrine Circus.|
|The Autism Support classroom at the NHS School Altoona celebrated World Autism Awareness day on April 2 by displaying "Light It Up Blue" and "Autism Awareness" in the front windows of the school. They made blue handprints to surround the window display and outlined the windows with blue lights. The students also created puzzle pieces to add onto their puzzle piece tree on the inside of the classroom windows.|
|Students from Miss Brooke's Altoona Emotional Support classroom volunteered with the Mountain Lion Backpack Program on Friday, March 25. This program provides weekend meals for Altoona Area School District children in need. Their mission is to provide food for school students on the weekends for families in need when other resources are not available. Each backpack is filled with meals for the weekends and then distributed to students within the Altoona Area School District.
Miss Brooke's students volunteered to help fill the backpacks and will be doing so on a regular basis. The students had a great time and felt good about the opportunity to help others in need.
|Ms. Nicole's classroom at the NHS School Altoona took a field trip to the Slinky Action Zone, a local indoor play park with ball pits, tunnels, slides, games, bounce houseson March 5. A student from Miss Brooke's emotional support class accompanied Miss Nicole's class to serve as a peer mentor and role model during the trip. This student helped to model positive social interactions and play skills. Miss Nicole's students had a blast playing in the play areas, having lunch, and working on their manners and social skills as well as waiting in line and taking turns. It was also a very positive experience for the emotional support student who was able to serve as a positive role model.|
|In honor of Dr. Seuss' Birthday, the students and staff at NHS School Somerset had a weeklong celebration filled with fun and educational activities. The teachers created activities to go along with the book of the day and the students participated in wearing fun clothing.
Some of the highlights included Fox in Sox Day where the students wore the craziest, silliest socks they could find, and Green Eggs and Ham Day where the students and staff wore their favorite pair of comfy pajamas and everyone ate green eggs and ham for lunch!
On the last day, the students read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, where they wore blue and red and made a delicious birthday cake for their favorite author. The students and staff had a great time!
|Two students from the Autism Support Classroom at NHS School Altoona visited Contact Altoona, a local resource center, on February 25, as part of the Altoona Transition Program.
The students participated in daily living activities like cleaning the bathroom, wiping down tables, dusting, and vacuuming.
The students will be going to Contact Altoona weekly and will spend between a half hour to an hour there participating in these valuable daily living tasks.
|A few students from Penn State Altoona came to the NHS School Altoona on February 27 to read to the Autism and Emotional Support students. The Penn State students read two books about children with autism and how they overcame their challenges. After the stories, they engaged the students in a coloring activity related to the message they learned in the books. The students enjoyed the visit and staff hope that the Penn State students come back again.|
Miss Paige's classroom from the NHS School Altoona took advantage of the nice weather last week by spending some time outside.
|Golf Lessons||Valentine's Day Festivities|
|Students have been enjoying participating in SNAG® (Starting New at Golf) activities with their classmates, a program to teach the game of golf to individuals of all ages and ability levels by using age appropriate equipment and programming.
The students are enthusiastic about their experiences each week and look forward to improving their skills.
|The students celebrated Valentine's Day by sharing snacks and Valentines with each other, and playing Minute to Win It games and Bingo to earn prizes.
The day was filled with lots of laughter and fun for both the Autism and Emotional Support students.
|Miss Paige's class at the NHS School Altoona took a field trip to the Holiday Bowl bowling alley on January 29. The students participated in two games of bowling and ate lunch. The students were able to work on improving their social skills, taking turns, and manners. The students and staff had a great time and all were able to transition successfully!|
|In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Miss Laylee's class at NHS School Altoona discussed dreams similar to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech, what it means to have hope, and learned why we celebrate the holiday. The students watched two videos about African American children during the time of segregation. The children enjoyed the videos and compared and contrasted what school and society is like now versus then. The students had great time learning about Martin Luther King. Jr.'s dream, as well as discussing their own.|
|The students and staff at the NHS Schools in Altoona and East Freedom recently learned about a former NHS employee, who still lives in the community, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She is a stay-at-home mom with two young boys, one of whom is diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
To show their support, all the students and staff at both schools raised money by participating in a variety of theme day activities including Wacky Wednesday, Hat Day, Pajama Day, and Team Apparel Day. The students and staff donated an item or $1 to participate in the activities. With the money raised and items collected, they will donate a Family Movie Night basket to a raffle at a benefit dinner being held on February 9 for the former employee.
All students and staff were happy to have the opportunity to help this local family.
|Three students from NHS School Altoona traveled to the Walmart Distribution Center on January 17 to accept a check for a donation to the NHS School Altoona's Autism Support Program. The employees at the distribution center held a basket raffle and raised $729 to donate to the school. The Walmart Distribution Center chose the school for the donation because some of the members of their team are personally touched by those affected by autism. The students enjoyed lunch, sitting inside the cab of one of the big rigs, and getting their picture taken while being presented the check.
Thank you Walmart Distribution Center of Altoona for your generous donation and support!
|Miss Ronda's Autism Spectrum Disorder class started to learn valuable life skills. The students prepared a grocery list of items needed to make cinnamon buns and chocolate milkshakes, took a trip to the store, and shopped for items on the list. They then spent a Friday afternoon in the kitchen preparing the cinnamon buns and milkshakes.
After all their hard work, following directions, and preparing the food, they were able to enjoy what they made!
|Students at NHS School Altoona began the New Year by learning about resolutions. After a student defined a resolution as a goal, Miss Kaylee's class chose attainable goals for each of them to work towards in the New Year.
As positive reminders, the students made pictures of themselves flexing their muscles to highlight their determination and strength.
Their motto for the New Year is "I CAN DO IT!"
|Miss Michelle's classroom in Altoona has been busy getting ready for the holiday season by making decorations for the classroom and gifts for their families. The students have decorated two bulletin boards for the classroom with snowflakes, penguins and wreaths.
The students incorporated autism awareness by painting old puzzle pieces to hang on the wreaths. The students will also be making snowmen out of recycled materials, such as plastic bags and baby food jars.
|On November 5, students from the NHS School in Altoona were visited by a representative from Lincoln Caverns for a speleological presentation (study of caves). Students participated in various, hands-on activities and a question and answer session with the representative.
On November 6, the students traveled to Lincoln Caverns and toured two caves, discovered sink holes, had lunch, and shopped in the gift shop.
Thank you Lincoln Caverns for an educational and fun experience!
|On Thursday, October 25, all students from the NHS School in Altoona traveled to the East Freedom School for our annual Halloween party. Our ghosts and ghouls dressed in their best costumes and entered the party through the haunted forest, had a pizza party lunch, enjoyed some outdoor play and socialization on the playground and basketball court, then came back inside for some "ice scream" and finished the day with a dance party.
The students enjoyed the opportunity to use their social skills and interact with each other.
5.23.12: Students from Altoona ASD and ES took a trip to the People's Natural Gas Field to enjoy lunch at the ballpark and to watch the Altoona Curve baseball team take on their opponent.
Early May: ASD and ES students walked to Contact Altoona, a local resource and outreach center for the community, and completed a clean-up and beautification project outside their building. Students cleaned up the outside of the building and did some planting/gardening, then were provided with a pizza party for all their hard work. This was a great volunteer opportunity for the students to give back to their community.