School District enters service agreement with Pyramid Healthcare

At the Tuesday meeting of the Tyrone Area School District Board of Directors, the Board voted to enter an agreement with Pyramid Healthcare Inc. to provide residential and treatment services as well as educational services, to school-age students effective for the 2002-03 school term.
Jon Wolf the Chief Executive Officer of Pyramid Health Care and Jim Vernarsky were at the meeting to address the concerns of Bald Eagle residents who live near where the new facility will be located.
“It is not a halfway house, not a drug and alcohol treatment facility, not a juvenile home or a prison,” Wolf said to those in attendance. “This facility is designed to offer a full educational program that is sanctioned by the Tyrone School District in conjunction with a therapeutic component that offers group and individual counseling to deal with emotional health and behavioral issues.”
Pyramid has facilities in the area at Clearfield and Blandburg. and were given high accolades from Pennsylvania’s Deputy Secretary of the Department of Welfare Gerald Radke.
“These kids are victims,” said Vernarsky. “They haven’t been in a good situation. A lot of the kids we treat have had histories of sexual or physical abuse. We bring them in and give them a unique and structured environment. It is a therapeutic school that is staff intensive. We have one staff member for every patient.”
The School District was impressed with Pyramid when members of the administration visited the facilities in Blandburg and Clearfield.
“We liked what this program offers,” said Tyrone Assistant Superintendent Joann Lang. “We have 27 students who go outside of our District for programs similar to this. We believe that Pyramid provides a full education. We’ve never seen a program like this before. Pyramid was interested in coming to Tyrone and was looking at the Ames building or working out of church basements. The facility in Bald Eagle happened to come open. The people at Pyramid share a common vision with the School District.”
During the meeting, Dr. William Miller, Tyrone Superintendent of Schools said the services of Pyramid would save the District a significant amount of money.
“Having a Pyramid facility in our community could save the District $50,000 this year and maybe more,” said Miller. “The transportation costs to send students to other programs and the educational costs make this program a good alternative program.”
There is a need for a facility like this in Tyrone.
“The people at Pyramid have made Tyrone a priority,” said Lang. “It takes special people to run a program like this. To put a child in this program, we need to have the support of the parents.
“The parents have the option,” said Lang. “The District sets up a mediation with children that need severe help. With the new Pyramid facility here, more parents are likely to take advantage of the program that is offers. Many of the students are referred through Children’s and Youth Services of Blair County. It also helps students who have outbursts and are chronically truant.”
Wolf added that Pyramid has Drug and Alcohol treatment facilities, but it is in Altoona and the facility in Bald Eagle will not be one.
“We have never had a problem in our Blandburg and Clearfield facilities,” said Wolf. “We are right in the middle of the community. We believe in being good neighbors. We do things to help in the neighborhood we are in. Our kids shovel the sidewalks of elderly people both in Clearfield and Blandburg. We want to make the neighborhood better.”
Pyramid will begin its educational and therapeutic program on August 26th at their new facility in Bald Eagle.