Learn It Purchases Beach Cities Learning

On Monday, December 14, 2015, Learn It Systems, a national behavioral and education services organization, announced its purchase of Beach Cities Learning. Beach Cities Learning is a California approved and  Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredited non-public school that provides special education and alternative education solutions for school districts in California. With locations in Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes and Rosemead, Beach Cities currently serves more than 50 students in the Greater Los Angeles area. The school serves students in grades 1–12 using tailored programs that target confidence building, motivation, focus, and problem solving skills.

According to Dan Campbell, Beach Cities Learning’s Founder and Executive Director, “Our partnership with Learn It will allow us to expand our unique, high-quality services throughout California. We are also excited to collaborate with professionals across Learn It’s organization to offer additional services to our school district clients and continue to help children in need excel.”

Beach Cities Learning along with Desert Choice Schools form the basis of Learn It’s Intensive Behavior Support services which provides managed classroom solutions for school districts to support high-need students, especially those with emotional disabilities (ED), autism spectrum disorders, and alternative learning needs. Don Scheeler, Learn It’s Executive Vice President commented, “We are excited to add Beach Cities services to our portfolio of school-within-a-school services for school districts. With a reintegration rate upwards of 50%, Beach Cities’ philosophy and focus on outcomes fits well with our organization’s goals to provide exceptional services for children with special needs.”

Dan founded Beach Cities Learning in 2009 after spending more than 25 years in public education service, including serving as a program specialist overseeing high school special education programs. He saw first-hand the difficulty schools were facing educating nontraditional learners, and created Beach Cities Learning to fill this gap with a high-quality, outcomes-focused program. Dan added, “Many students do not learn well in traditional institutions. Students do not always respond to the assembly line nature of most institutions. I believe that a child’s strengths and natural abilities need to be the foundation of learning, and this is core to our programs.”

About Beach Cities

Founded in 2009, with locations in Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes and Rosemead, Beach Cities currently serves more than 50 students in the Greater Los Angeles area. Beach Cities Learning is a part of the Learn It family of companies, a national organization whose mission is to help all children succeed in school and life regardless of any obstacles they may face. The Learn It family of companies also includes; Autism Spectrum Therapies (www.autismtherapies.com), Desert Choice Schools (www.desertchoiceschools.com), Trellis Services (www.trellisservices.com), and Light Street Special Education Solutions (www.lightstreetsolutions.com). Learn more at www.learnitsystems.com/family.

Letter to the Editor in response to the Baltimore Sun’s article “Harford special education program under scrutiny”

This letter to the Editor was written in response to the recent Baltimore Sun article, published on September, 15, 2015.

Harford special education program under scrutiny” (September 15, 2015) was not just a disturbing outline of how seriously one school failed the students it is responsible for serving. It’s also a clear example of why school districts should consider public-private partnerships that can make a real difference for students with autism and other special needs.

As the article explains, under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, schools must provide students with disabilities a free public education that’s suitable for them. While many districts try and accomplish this within the public school setting, it’s often just not nearly enough.

Students with autism and other spectrum disorders deserve a school environment specifically designed for them. A place where they can learn, grow and thrive under the supervision and care of trained specialists.

In Maryland, we’re lucky to have several specialized programs that are designed to do just that. Organizations like Kennedy Krieger Institute, St. Elizabeth School and Trellis Services, among others, are experts in this arena because it’s all they do. These programs offer services and, more importantly, staff with the education, training and passion for working with students with special needs.

Even more valuable? These programs are accountable to the districts they serve – providing compliance and ongoing staff training and supervision that can sometimes be difficult to ensure in a public school setting.

With shrinking budgets, many districts balk at the thought of engaging with private partners. But these collaborations can actually be more cost effective, not to mention more enriching and meaningful for students and their families. Responsible for large, diverse student populations, school districts are sometimes unable to provide the resources necessary to serve students at the highest level. A public-private partnership frees up funds, staff and time to make certain the needs of all students are met.

While the reported actions at Hickory Elementary may be isolated, considering public-private partnerships makes sense for any district committed to serving its special needs students. From accountability and fiscal efficiency to expertise and positive outcomes, public-private partnerships ensure special needs students in Maryland receive compassion, services and education that are far more than just suitable. And isn’t that what they deserve?

Michael Maloney
President & CEO

New Johns Hopkins Study Shows Learn It’s Desert Choice Program Reduces Costs and Improves Special Education Outcomes

Phoenix, AZ –A recent case study by Johns Hopkins Center for Research and Reform in Education demonstrates how Learn It’s Desert Choice Schools (DCS) partnerships are creating positive behavior and academic outcomes for students with special needs while also saving its school district partners substantial monies.

Conducted by one of the nation’s leading authorities on education programs and policy, the research team studied the Desert Choice Schools program for students with emotional disabilities, autism and other behavior related challenges. The program, which has been operating in Arizona for almost a decade, uses a rigorous positive behavior support program to teach students how better to self-manage their behavior. Characterized by a strong internal team culture, a commitment to program integrity and a goal of reintegrating students into a less restrictive, less expensive setting upon completion of the program, DCS is currently partnering with 6 school districts and operating in 28 classrooms.

The research concluded, “District leaders praised the program’s ability to serve students with emotional disabilities. Leaders indicated the important impact that the program has with providing an alternative environment for this population of students that is both beneficial for these students as well as the classrooms on their other campuses. District leaders also stated that the program has generated substantial financial benefit to the district through reducing their special education expenses.”

In addition, “DCS parents and students shared positive (and often substantially positive) opinions on the overall influence of the program. Both student and parents repeatedly cited behavioral improvements at school and at home. Examples of academic improvements were also shared. Furthermore, parents strongly praised the communication and support provided to them by the DCS staff and shared examples of the often substantial social and psychological improvements exhibited by their children during their time with DCS.”

The findings were based on an independent qualitative analysis of the program at Buckeye Union School District. According to Pete Brown, Desert Choice’s Executive Director, “DCS is an organization made up of professionals dedicated to helping our students succeed, whatever it takes. We take pride in working closely with our district partners to not only get great outcomes for their students, but also to do it in a cost effective manner. The study confirmed what we’ve known all along – our program is cost effective and substantially higher in quality compared to the typical private placement options.”

Read the full case study here.

About Desert Choice Schools

Desert Choice Schools is a certified K -12 Private Day School approved by the Arizona Department of Education to provide Special Education Services.  They currently offer classrooms co-located on public school campuses (“school-within-a-school”) for students with severe behavior or emotional disabilities, students facing suspension in need of an alternative placement, students requiring an alternative learning environment for life skills, and students with moderate to severe autism (in partnership with Autism Spectrum Therapies and Trellis Services). As part of the Learn It family of companies, the organization aspires to enhance the lives of students not only at school, but also in their home and community by fostering a lifelong love of learning, responsible decision-making, and the development of caring, contributing members of our multi-cultural society.