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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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CONTACT INFO:
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: 724-532-2302

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 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.


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.

Trains!

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!

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

(03.26.2018) - On Friday, March 16, 2018, students from Ms. Kim's elementary ASD class, Ms. Denis's ES class, and Ms. Pam's high school ASD class at NHS School East Freedom came together to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Participants went on a scavenger hunt using clues they found to locate treasures. After the hunt, they decorated shamrock cookies and enjoyed eating them. The celebration ended with everyone enjoying ice cream and watching the movie “Mulan”. Students had a great time and cannot wait to celebrate again next year!

NHS School East Freedom St. Patrick’s Day Celebration NHS School East Freedom St. Patrick’s Day Celebration NHS School East Freedom St. Patrick’s Day Celebration NHS School East Freedom St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

NHS School East Freedom St. Patrick’s Day Celebration NHS School East Freedom St. Patrick’s Day Celebration NHS School East Freedom St. Patrick’s Day Celebration NHS School East Freedom St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

Going Bowling

(01.25.2018) - Ms. Kim's autistic support class at NHS School East Freedom went on a field trip to the Holiday Bowl Bowling Lanes on January 19. It was an exciting day! Each student ordered and paid for their own lunch with assistance from the staff. After the students ate their lunch, they were ready to bowl Everyone participated and had a great time. While there, they practiced daily living and social skills outside the school environment, and practiced taking turns, sharing, and gross motor skills.

NHS School East Freedom Goes Bowling NHS School East Freedom Goes Bowling NHS School East Freedom Goes Bowling

NHS School East Freedom Goes Bowling NHS School East Freedom Goes Bowling NHS School East Freedom Goes Bowling

Students Take a Trip to Chick-fil-A

(11.2017) - Ms. Kim's autistic support class at NHS School East Freedom went on a field trip to Chick-fil-A in Altoona, PA on November 7. Each student ordered and paid for their own lunch with assistance from staff. After the students ate their lunches, they played in the play area which was the highlight of the trip! While there, they practiced daily living and social skills outside the school environment. All the students had a great time on the field trip.

Students Take a Trip to Chick-fil-A Students Take a Trip to Chick-fil-A Students Take a Trip to Chick-fil-A

Celebrating Halloween

(11.2017) - Students at the NHS School East Freedom had a “Spooktacular” time on October 31, celebrating Halloween. Before a party, students made spooky spiders using Styrofoam cups, pompoms, and pipe cleaners. During the party, students rotated to different classrooms in the school to decorate cookies, guess what was in the mystery boxes, and make sensory bottles. There was something for everyone to enjoy!

Our Jack-O-Lanterns

(10.2017) - On October 18, the students at NHS School East Freedom learned about pumpkins. The students were excited to make their own jack-o-lanterns in preparation for Halloween. This activity required the students to use fine motor skills to crumple orange tissue paper and glue it to a plate. They also cut out shapes for the eyes, nose and mouth. The students enjoyed this activity.

Our Jack-O-Lanterns Our Jack-O-Lanterns Our Jack-O-Lanterns

A Very Special Music Class

(10.2017) - The students in the Emotional Support classroom at NHS School East Freedom recently participated in a very special music class. Mike Ebersole, Behavioral Interventionist, brought in one of his bass guitars to show the class. He played some special requests and then let each student hold and play the guitar. The students were full of questions about how it worked and really enjoyed seeing and hearing the instrument being played.
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!