After one year, Pyramid Healthcare labels Greentree Village a success

The opening of Pyramid Healthcare’s Greentree Village in Bald Eagle was met with resistance from the residents of Bald Eagle, but following the first school year in which Pyramid operated a therapeutic school, it has been labeled a success.
“To do what we did in such a short period of time is amazing,” said John Dibert, director for education at Pyramid Healthcare. “I am amazed at how far we came. I never thought it would come together so fast.”
The start was when administrators of the Tyrone Area School District visited Pyramid’s facility in Clearfield and determined a need for therapeutic education for students in the Tyrone schools.
“These kids who came to Greentree Village struggled to come to school when they first came there,” said Dibert. “Getting the kids there is a victory. These kids need good therapy to help them take good risks in life. To raise their hands to answer a question. To ask questions if they don’t understand. Those are good risks and they are starting to feel safe in taking good risks in life.”
To determine the success rate of the therapeutic school at Greentree Village will take more than one school year, but Dibert has witnessed a change in the behavior of the students and their attitude toward education.
“These kids haven’t done a lot of ‘family activities’ growing up,” said Dibert. “We try to blend activities in with education. When they study about the Civil War, we take a field trip to Gettysburg so they can see first hand what they are learning about. We did a block of instruction on mining and followed it with a trip to Seldom Seen Mine. These kids need to touch and feel what they are learning. It enhances what they are learning about and also helps them with behavioral skills when they are out in the community.”
In the nearly 11 months that Greentree Village has been in operation, nearly 100 students have been served either as partial students or in the group home environment. They have participated in activities such as a tour of Ritchey’s Dairy, the Jaffa Circus, a tour of Penn’s Cave, a tour of Computer Learning Network and the Army Reserve Center.
Dibert credits the Tyrone Area School District for the amount of effort they have put into the project.
“I work with four other school districts and the Tyrone School District is the most kid focused we work with,” said Dibert. “We get immediate feedback from Tyrone and we have many of the kids who are from Tyrone who participated in the program this year who will be returning to the school district for the next school year. We want them to go back to their school and become a part of the Tyrone School District in a positive way. Since the first day in which we were approached by the administration, we have had a great synergy. The school districts can’t offer the mental health services many of the kids at Greentree need. This is something that benefits the kids and allows them a chance to stay near home.”
In Monday’s Daily Herald Dibert discusses the great support from the parents of Tyrone students participating in the Greentree Program.