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Merakey Education Center East Freedom

WELCOME to Merakey Education Center EAST FREEDOM (Blair County | 814-696-3390)

The Merakey Education Center East Freedom provides educational programming in full-time autistic support and full-time emotional support classrooms to students ages 5 through 21. A low student-to-staff ratio is maintained at all times to maximize learning. Applied behavior analysis, individualized programming, and outstanding speech therapy services make our autism program unique. Cognitive behavioral interventions and therapeutic instruction guided by a master's level Behavior Shaping Specialist enhance our emotional support program. The ultimate goal of our program is to help students achieve behavioral and academic milestones in order to transition to a less restrictive environment within their home school district.

We also offer a specialized transition classroom for students ages 18-21. Within this program, our students learn independent living, pre-vocational, and vocational skills to prepare them for the next stage in their lives. The transition classroom has established partnerships with the local YMCA and senior service agencies to provide unique volunteer and vocational opportunities. The students are able to gain valuable job and life skills through these collaborations. Additionally, our students have the opportunity to gain experience through volunteer work in the building's coffee shop, where they maintain inventory and take and fill drink orders. Our school works in collaboration with the local school districts and community providers to provide individualized, quality programming for each student.

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School Address: 2879 Everett Rd., East Freedom, PA 16637 (view on map)
School Phone Number: 814-696-3390 
Education and Autism Services Administration Office Number: 855-530-4853

Pamela SnyderName: Pamela Snyder
Title: Educational Director
Email: Pamela.Snyder@merakey.org
Janelle Bowser Name: Janelle Bowser
Title: Administrative Assistant
Email: Janelle.Bowser@merakey.org

Field Trip to DelGrosso's Amusement Park

(06.14.2019) - On May 31, students and staff from the older Autism Spectrum Disorder classroom at the Merakey Education Centers in East Freedom, Altoona, and State College, PA went on a field trip to DelGrosso's Amusement Park. Students spent the day socializing, having fun on the rides, playing games, and eating delicious food. Everyone had a great time and are looking forward to their next adventure!

Delgrosso's Delgrosso's Delgrosso's Delgrosso's

Field Day at East Freedom

(05.29.2019) - The students and staff from Merakey Education Center in East Freedom and the Education and Autism Center in Altoona, PA participated in Field Day on May 3. Joined by many of their families, the students had fun participating in various activities such as bowling, ring toss, bean bag toss, face painting, and other social games. They also enjoyed snacks and beverages to help fuel them to play more games. Everyone who attended the event had a great time!

Field Day

The Meaning of the Word “Valuable”

(04.25.2019) - The students in the older ASD classroom at Merakey Education Center East Freedom have been discussing the meaning of the word THRIVE. For each letter of the word THRIVE, students are given another word to do an activity that represents that word. This month, students talked about the word valuable to highlight the letter “v”, and things that may be valuable to them. Two students created a collage to represent things that the class found valuable, and another student created an Acrostic poem using a thesaurus and dictionary to represent each letter in the word valuable. Students enjoyed looking at and talking about objects/items they value as part of this overall project.

valuable valuable

Dr. Seuss Week

(04.05.2019) - Students in the older Autism Spectrum Disorder classroom at the Merakey Education Center in East Freedom celebrated Dr. Seuss week in early March. Students enjoyed listening to a Dr. Seuss book every morning. Students also colored Dr. Seuss hats and glued family words on them.

Dr. Seuss Week

Field Trip to Bowling and Pizza

(03.11.2019) - The students in the older ASD classroom at Merakey Education Center in East Freedom, PA went on a field trip to Morrison's Cove to bowl a few games and to Fox's Pizza to enjoy pizza and drinks. The students used their manners and enjoyed some social time together.

Pizza Party Pizza Party
Pizza Party Pizza Party

Learning About Our Solar System

Learning about our solar system! (03.04.2019) - The Emotional Support classroom at the Merakey Education Center in East Freedom is learning about the solar system.

The class watched videos, studied each planet and created posters. They colored each planet, added glitter glue to the orbit, and added asteroids, space shuttles and stars as finishing touches.

The students enjoyed making models of the solar system which enhances their learning and retention skills.

Fun with Trains

(02.22.2019) - On February 19, students in Ms. Kim's Elementary Autism Spectrum Disorder classroom at the Merakey Education Center in East Freedom participated in a Natural Environment Teaching activity. The students built a train track and ran the toy trains over ramps and connecting tracks. The students also measured how far each train ran on the connecting tracks. They conducted several experiments to see if they could get the train to run as far as possible.


Trip to Sam's Club

(02.14.2019) - Students in the older Autism Spectrum Disorder room at Merakey Education Center East Freedom go to Sam's Club every other week to shop for snacks for the classroom snack cart. Students are responsible for selecting items, checking prices, and determining how much to sell the snacks to staff members so they make a profit. The students also help count the money when making purchases. Keep up the great work!

Sam's Club Visit Sam's Club Visit
Sam's Club Visit Sam's Club Visit

Invested in Kindness

Invest Board

(02.14.2019) - Students in the Emotional Support classroom at Merakey Education Center East Freedom invest in each other every day by writing kind messages about one another and displaying them on their INVESTED bulletin board.

This simple act of kindness helps increase socialization skills and decrease bullying.

Team Work for The Win!

Team Work for The Win!(01.2019) - The Emotional Support classroom at Merakey Education Center East Freedom has a strong focus on social development. The class works on getting along, team work, and mutual respect. Two students were praised for doing an amazing job on completing a difficult puzzle together without any problems. They were proud of each other and demonstrated to the rest of the class that team work prevails.

Great job East Freedom Emotional Support kids!
NHS Students Busy Giving BackBrandon came to NHS from the Bedford Area School District in 2007 when he was 14 years old as one of the first students to attend the NHS School Altoona. He transferred to NHS School East Freedom when it opened in 2010. Brandon was referred to us because his behaviors often interrupted the learning of other students in his home district. His obsessions and repetitiveness were extremely distracting and would sometimes take thirty minutes to walk through the classroom door—walking in, backing out, and walking in over and over again. Brandon's behaviors were very impulsive, often putting him into dangerous or inappropriate situations.

Through hard work by Brandon and dedication from staff, Brandon has improved his behaviors tremendously. He 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, the Altoona Railroader's Museum and Blair Senior Services.

Brandon is currently entering the last three months of his seven year enrollment at the NHS Schools. In June, he will leave NHS as a young man ready for whatever comes his way. Brandon has acquired countless job-related skills that will help him be successful with his future career. He can operate a cash register and count exact change, complete numerous cleaning tasks, and remain on task for an hour without a break. In November 2013, Brandon began his transition to Skills in Bedford by attending one day each week. He currently attends Skills two days each week with the goal of attending Skills four days each week by the end of the current school year. Brandon has expressed an interest in obtaining a job at Wal-Mart, Burger King, or the Pitt Theater in Bedford. The staff at NHS is hopeful that Brandon will earn a part-time paying job in the near future.

Take a walk around our school and in the classroom!