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What We Do

Foster Education Innovation.
Birdsong Farm identifies and makes strategic investments in promising new ideas that improve the educational outcomes of children and youth placed in foster care; best practices that are shared with schools across the region and the nation. We are committed to education reform, action research and helping students develop a love of life-long learning.

Create Key Partnerships.
Birdsong Farm ensures that education innovation thrives by creating vibrant partnerships with four key collaborators:

  1. Education
  2. Farm/Garden
  3. Mental Health
  4. Equine/Canine/Animal Welfare

In addition, we seek to leverage resources throughout the region by developing a compelling menu of engagement options with colleges, universities, businesses, non-profits and interested citizens to improve the educational outcomes of our children and youth placed in foster care.

Develop Conditions for Collaborative Social Change.
Birdsong Farm partners with regional stakeholders to create the best environment for education reform. It conducts research that supports educational equity, advances innovative solutions, and engages educators, mental health professionals, colleges, universities, child welfare professionals and community members interested in creating collaborative and sustainable social change.

Birdsong Farm understands that no single agency or organization can ensure educational success for all students placed in foster care. Birdsong Farm's vision requires leveraging people, dollar and idea resources to create sustainable investment in innovation and the creation of best practices. Therefore, it is collaborating with others to develop on-site education advocacy systems, a new research-based and data-driven model designed to ensure disadvantaged children receive the opportunities they need to succeed in school. These systems:

  1. Identify children facing educational challenges
  2. Determine their educational needs
  3. Ensure appropriate educational support and services

Birdsong Farm is developing on-site education advocacy systems that involve four additional partners:

  1. Education Partner
  2. Farm/Garden Partner
  3. Mental Health Partner
  4. Equine/Canine/Animal Welfare Partner

Each Birdsong Farm partner will assume responsibility for part of the Birdsong Farm collaborative education/advocacy approach.

Geographic Region Being Served:
Birdsong Farm will serve children and youth placed in foster care in towns and cities throughout southeastern MA, including Attleboro, Brockton, Bridgewater and Taunton. At full enrollment Birdsong Farm will serve students in Grades Pre-K through 12.

Birdsong Farm Principles:
Trauma Sensitive Learning Environments:

At Birdsong Farm we understand the importance of creating trauma sensitive learning environments for students who have experienced challenging beginnings.

Children affected by trauma may or may not see school as a safe haven or "different place" than the one where they experienced a trauma. The significance of trauma is that educators may not be aware that a student is learning or responding under a trauma response.

Behaviors, learning patterns or social skills may be misinterpreted or mislabeled. Traumatized children are vulnerable; teachers are the critical link to intervention with sensitivity and awareness.

Best practices create an environment where students can learn in a safe and positive environment. At Birdsong Farm trauma sensitive practice is a must for every educator's toolkit.

Trauma has profound effects on a child's ability to participate and process the regular school day. At Birdsong Farm we are creating a learning environment that is safe, predictable and experiential; one that offers students an array of supports and opportunities to engage in a curriculum full of ……

At Birdsong Farm, educators have an opportunity to support their students in non-traditional ways and advocate on behalf of their students with trauma sensitive practice and awareness.

Common Elements of Trauma Sensitive Schools:

  • Comprehensive professional development for teachers & other staff
  • A team of school/district personnel to assess individual student cases
  • Expanded counseling services
  • On-site support services
  • Parent and family workshops on the effects of trauma
  • Conflict resolution training for both teachers and students
  • Consultations with local hospitals, mental health facilities, women's shelters, and other community based organizations
  • Regional support for establishing a trauma sensitive learning environment
  • Academic instruction techniques for teaching traumatized students
  • Development of school policies to be more trauma sensitive

Equal Opportunity:
There is no greater need in education than to give every student the opportunity and resources to succeed. Quality education for all individuals is the primary way to create a more socially just society and help ensure that all of our children in America have the opportunity to thrive educationally.

Birdsong Farm students will be given opportunities to become literate, active, self aware, prepared to succeed in higher education, able to determine and attain their personal goals, and capable of serving as positive role models and inspirational leaders.

Year-Round Learning Community Model:
Students who have experienced foster care benefit from participating in a year-round learning curriculum designed to help them attain the same level of educational success that their peers who have not been placed in our child welfare system achieve. To that end, Birdsong Farm will provide students with 12 month full service programming.