My son was a residential student at Andrus, and I can honestly say this was the most awful 9 months for my son and our family. The school is completely terrible in all ways. The classroom setting was horrific with teachers unable to control the students and 2nd graders frequently having violent outbursts and hitting one another. My son was hit, stepped on and had tables/chairs thrown at him. If your child is gifted or bright in any way, he or she will suffer as the academics are taught to the lowest common denominator and the kids aren't properly challenged. The communication with the teachers/therapists is lacking, There is no music, art, or other exposure to creative arts in the curriculum. The only "special" my son had was horticulture. There is a pool, but my son was never in it in his 9 months there.
As bad as the day school was, the residential portion was even worse. My son was hit by one staff member and had another staff member trash his room. This staff member was not fired but administration instead used it as "point of learning". There are no behavior specialists in the residences, thus if your child has difficulty at night or on the weekend, rather than use therapy, they simply lock the kids in their room. The staff are completely unengaged. There are no formal activities. The children play video games and watch TV all night and all weekend. In 9 months and over 100 trips to the campus, I saw children outside playing exactly "1" time on a weekend. I do not know how the administration thinks this is acceptable. The residential director might be the single worst employee at Andrus given how poorly the cottages are run. The medical services are terrible. The nurses frequently missed doses and could not properly administer the medicines as the right time/dosages. The Psychiatrists on staff are absolutely horrible. They have no forward looking plans and refuse to try different mediations which may be helpful. They diagnosed my son with a mood disorder, yet wouldn't prescribe a mood stabilizer.
I could go on and on about how awful this place is. There is not one positive aspect about the school, the teachers, the administration, the doctors or the campus. My son lost 9 months and deteriorated. Fortunately, we withdrew him and found an alternate setting and he is now thriving. Please, Do NOT send your child here!!!
My son was a day student and not a resident. Overall, we were enthralled by potential of the bucolic surroundings, the nurtured therapy animals, the swimming pool, and their focus on art and music. The admissions director really sold us. It was an easy decision. In reality, this school never delivered on any of what they promised and was a complete disaster. From the non-communicative teachers and support to the administration these folks fell far short compared to the special needs NYC school my son was enrolled in - and that school couldn't meet his needs and wasn't interested in helping. When I say disaster I mean every single aspect of my son's care and education. Every. Single. Aspect. From the unruly children on the bus in which the bus staff played Hot 97, to the multiple times they played PG-13 violent movies during breakfast, to the fact that my son swam in the pool 1 time in a year, to the horticulture class where they watched movies instead of planted, to the after school programs which were unorganized and ill-supervised. The staff and administration, with the exception of 1 or 2 people, continued to fail and continued to be unresponsive.
The students don't get the help they required. I am so disappointed with the staff. There are two boys that fight at least 4 times a week and they still keep them in the same classroom and cottage. They are risking their lives and the staff.
In spite of a change in admin. I had an identical experience as the parent Apr.2,2004. My child was also harmed both physically & emotionally by staff due to lack of training and understanding of my child's disability. I spent 3 years working with staff. I paid for professionals to help. Every agreement regarding teaching & behavior mgmt was kept for two weeks, then they returned to threats, coercion & physical restraints. My child was told constantly that this was the last chance before prison. Against NYS regs he was sent home constantly, and isolated upon return.Related services weren't given, testing mods not followed. Serious internal breakdown between psychologists and staff working directly with students. I lost time, money, & jobs because of the amount of time admin forced me to keep my child at home. Tried medications that were recommended, admin made lots of promises of help then went behind my back and put in paperwork to have my child put into a residential facility. Teaching staff poorly trained also. Many meltdowns were actually caused by staff and could have been avoided with proper approach. Students on the spectrum do not belong here. Regrets. Should have left.
This program offers a safe, flexible & nurturing setting for children with special needs. The staff offers a balance of well structured programs, with much needed emotional support & a commitment to academic development. The clinical staff provide excellent family support. The Campus is peaceful, beautiful & offers a stress free environment for the children. I recommend this school . I only wish they provided a high school & an after-school program for the day treatment students.
The Orchard School provides a calm, supportive environment that is tailor made to the needs of each individual child. Goals are set and when met new ones are set. This parent is a huge supporter of the Orchard School!!!
andrus is the bes school for children with disabilities it hels kids with there copeing skills and to get along with outher children and not throw tantrums it also teaches us to be responcible with our work and do veary good in school. for intstence if a child is good and hand in all his/her homework for three months the become an achiver. Being an achiver is a privlage u have to continue to do well in school because you are being a roll modle for the younger kids. An achiver gets to walk around the school with out staff but as long as they have permision but lets say the child stops doing there home work and class work there achiver level is suspended for two weeks . during that time student has to start to do well again to regain his/her achiver level.
Our child was mistreated at this school/ physically harmed by a T/A. Many aids do not have higher level educations and are not adequately informed about the children's disabilities, yet they interact with these children everyday. Our experience: the school suffers from communication problems among staff impeding the passing along of critical info and appropriate intervention. The grounds are beautiful, however that is no indication that the children are properly served. Upon placement at this school, the administration made promises they did not keep and as a result, did not follow our child's IEP. After 18 months of advocacy without results, we became jaded by lots of lip service. Rather than pinpointing the child's disability through effective evaluation, this school is rather quick to advise meds. Since this school groups children by disability, it may not be uncommon for students to be functioning across 5 grade levels in one classroom.