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Student Support Services

The Garrison School offers many services to support our students academically, socially, emotionally, and physically. Please explore the details of these programs below.

Special Education Upon Entry into the School

Parents or legal guardians whose children reside in the district and have recently enrolled in school may be entitled to support services. If you suspect your child has a disability, you may obtain additional information regarding the special education process by reviewing the NYS Department of Education website publication "A Parent's Guide to Special Education for children ages three to twenty one." Please contact our district School Psychologist/CSE Chairperson, David Roper at

As of July 2017 the State Education Department has issued a revised version of the Procedural Safeguards for Special Education. This document will now be made available electronically only. If you have further questions, please contact the district office of Special Education.

The Garrison School utilizes a multi-tiered system of academic support for students. The process identifies students struggling in academic and behavioral areas, provides students with systematically applied strategies and targeted instruction at varying levels of intervention, and employs research-based programs and/or interventions that include explicit and systematic instruction. Learn more by clicking below.

The Garrison Union Free School District is committed to providing social-emotional and mental health support to all of our students. It is our belief that connecting students to clinical staff from a young age, establishing norms around discussing mental health and seeking help, and openly discussing the range of human emotions provides students with a foundation of mental health skills needed to thrive in adolescence and adulthood. We are committed to teaching children the ability to accurately identify their emotions and those of others, to use appropriate coping skills to help themselves, and to take the perspective of another when they are in a conflict. We utilize a multi-tiered system to deliver social and emotional support.

All students K-5 receive weekly Tier 1 SEL instruction through a guidance class taught by a school counselor or school psychologist. Lessons follow the Yale Ruler curriculum, or are developed from other resources. We apply an equity lens to our SEL lessons by following New York State guidelines for culturally responsive teaching and learning. It is our goal to celebrate what makes each child special and unique and to celebrate differences in our community. All students in our community also have access to individual check-ins, or sessions, with trained counselors when they need someone to speak to or help solving a problem. Likewise, counselors maintain and open door policy for guardians and caregivers, and strive to be a trusted community resource for all stakeholders.

Children with identified mental health or social needs are provided with counseling services in the school setting according to their individual needs. Counselors are fully trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and provide this research based intervention to those students most at-risk for emotional difficulties. Garrison’s DBT team was selected as the 2020 Team of the Year out of over 90 regional teams by Cognitive Behavioral Consultants. We are committed to growing and expanding our social emotional learning and supports for all in the Garrison community.

We apply an equity lens to our SEL lessons by following New York State guidelines for culturally responsive teaching and learning. It is our goal to celebrate what makes each child special and unique and to celebrate differences in our community. Learn more by reviewing the New York State Guide to Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Education.

To support social emotional learning (SEL) in the Garrison Schoo, we utilize a researched-based program called RULER. Developed by Yale, RULER supports the idea that emotional intelligence can make a difference in the lives of children and adults. The core belief of the RULER program is that emotions matter. RULER is an acronym for the 5 skills of emotional intelligence:


RULER has several components that build and sustain a positive emotional climate.

  1. The Charter: Allows everyone in a school community the chance to articulate how they want to feel at school, then work together to agree upon behaviors that support those feelings.
  2. Mood Meter: enhances self and social awareness. This tool supports the development of a nuanced emotion vocabulary and a range of strategies for regulating emotion.
  3. The Meta-Moment: Notice changes in your body and mind, pause and wait to respond, imagine your best self in the situation, think of a strategy and try it out.
  4. The Blueprint: This is used to past conflicts to help students understand their perspective and the other person's perspective. Then, they reflect on how they might act differently.

DBT is a research based comprehensive mental health intervention for high need/high risk students. Garrison adopted the DBT program as an intervention to address the increasingly severe mental health needs of our student population and to proactively address burn-out and stress in clinical staff. DBT is an effective treatment for a variety of mental health issues including anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicidal ideation, anger/frustration control, inattention, impulsiveness, and poor quality relationships with peers, teachers, and family. The Garrison School has partnered with Cognitive Behavioral Consultants (CBC) to provide training and ongoing consultation to support the DBT in schools program. Components of the DBT program include:

  1. Weekly skills training groups
  2. Individual sessions for students
  3. Coaching for students
  4. Weekly Consultation Team meeting and support for staff
  5. The core DBT skills taught are:
  6. Mindfulness
  7. Emotion Regulation
  8. Distress Tolerance
  9. Interpersonal Effectiveness

At the Garrison School, speech-language services and support are provided as part of the special education and building level support programs for K-8. Within the speech-language program, the goal for students is always to become more confident and competent communicators. Speech-language skills are addressed within the classroom context and/or while working with curricular content. In K-2, articulation, social-pragmatic language, phonological awareness, and basic expressive and receptive language skills are typical targets as students are developing early literacy skills. Later elementary grades will refine later developing articulation sounds, social-pragmatic language, phonological awareness skills, language processing, and high level language skills while working with content-specific vocabulary. Middle school speech-language support, most frequently offered within the classroom, aims to synthesize speech-language skills in order to enhance students’ ability to become stronger writers, researchers, presenters, and collaborators.