Events Archives - The Children's Guild

Our People Matter: The Power of Employee Engagement – view our presentation

Last week at NATCON in St. Louis, Missouri, the largest national conference in mental health and substance use treatment, Jenny Livelli and Elizabeth Garcia presented a poster session: Our People Matter: The Power of Employee Engagement.

Employee engagement is crucial in today’s workplace as it fosters productivity, innovation, and a positive work culture ultimately leads to higher retention rates and organizational success. Engaged employees are more likely to be committed, collaborative, and actively contributing to the organization’s goals and objectives.

In response to troubling workplace trends, The Children’s Guild proactively initiated measures to lay a positive foundation. This presentation outlined the steps taken during this process and the subsequent outcomes achieved.

Click here to view the presentation and you’ll also find free tools and resources you can download and customize for your organization.

Watch this 60-second video which outlines the process of our listening tour and how it has played a critical role in retaining our staff.

Nearly 100 visitors stopped by during their 30-minute session to learn how The Children’s Guild set “listening” as more than just a policy, but the foundation of building belonging in our organization to build community which is the key to our collective success.  Hundreds more will have access to the presentation for a full year via the National Council website.

Beyond explaining our listening tour, this presentation shared 5 tools TCG is using to ensure employees feel heard and recognized:

  1. Energy Check: helps everyone in a meeting take a moment to become present to themselves and the other participants.
  2. The Scoop: organizational newsletter to streamline internal communications.
  3. Town Halls and DEI Town Halls: held monthly across various topics.
  4. Meeting Norms: standardize what is expected in video and in-person meetings.
  5. Culture Card: short, daily meetings to review values, policy and give shout-outs.

One of our participants said it best, “There is a shortage of qualified workers in our industry, so retaining our current staff is critical so we can operate successfully and provide families the care they desperately need”.

Employee recognition has become a key element of our culture at The Children’s Guild. From informally celebrating our “good news” and successes, to official Awards at our Annual Summit, we are now more likely to recognize what we do well and be proud about it.

Following the implementation of these and additional initiatives, notable improvements have been observed, including heightened trust between front-line staff and management, enhanced staff recognition, and increased engagement. We hope you find success, too! Our team is the foundation and backbone of our good works – let’s do this, together!

The Children’s Guild joins the Autism Speaks Walk in Washington, D.C.

The Children’s Guild School of Prince George’s County had an incredible time at the Washington, DC, Autism Speaks Walk on October 17, 2023. The Autism Speaks Walk is not only where we celebrate our community and promote acceptance and understanding, but also the largest autism fundraiser in the country that helps to fuel Autism Speaks programs and services.

Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. Autism Speaks enhances lives today and is accelerating a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow.

Autism Speaks National Capital Area chapter has several year-round volunteer opportunities throughout the MD, DC, and VA communities. Learn more about how The Children’s Guild of Prince George’s County supports kids with special needs. Discover our programs and support to understand how we contribute to their well-being and development.

TCG Hosts Governor Moore for Playground Dedication

BALTIMORE, MD, December 5, 2023The Children’s Guild – Transformation Academy, a 12-month, non-public separate day school based in Baltimore, MD, for students ages 5-21, whose primary diagnosis is autism, hosted Maryland Governor Wes Moore at a playground dedication ceremony. The Orokawa Foundation Playground, a brand-new outdoor sensory playground that features 25 inclusive elements that use both standard and customized components for students and caregivers to experience together, was built through a state grant and the support of the nonprofit foundation.

The event featured remarks from the Governor, community leaders, and families whose lives will be positively impacted by this transformative space.

WATCH OUR EVENT VIDEO HERE

 

 

“Approximately 1 in 54 children in the United States have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and we are pleased we are able to provide a grant to support The Children’s Guild – Transformation Academy,” said Gov. Moore.  “Our goals are to enrich student experiences and accelerate student outcomes, as well as improve the quality of education for all children in Maryland, especially those who have been historically underserved. This new inclusive playground is a wonderful example of grant money hard at work.”

“We thank the Governor for recognizing the need at The Transformation Academy and providing the funding to build a beautiful play space for our students, many whom have the most severe form of autism and require substantial support,” said Jenny Livelli, President and CEO, The Children’s Guild.  “We also thank The Orokawa Foundation for their generosity to support this wonderful new play space which means our students have access to equipment and an environment specially designed to meet their needs.”

“Every child should experience the joy of a playground. The Orokawa Foundation is thrilled to support this amazing project which promotes sensory exploration, sparks students’ creativity, and helps them develop a passion for learning beyond the classroom,” said Samantha Cleland Manekin, Executive Director.  “We are also touched by the school’s gesture of honoring our father, Bruce Cleland, in such a meaningful way.”

The playground, designed by Sparks at Play, offers collaborative, imaginative, theatrical, structured, and non-structured play.  The 25 inclusive elements use both standard and custom components for students who have sensory, autism, hearing, and learning disabilities.  The play function links all the components – down to the surfaces which is made of artificial turf, so students have a completely sensory and accessible experience. The Orokawa Foundation Playground embodies a holistic approach, integrating a myriad of sensory experiences that encourage exploration, interaction, and imaginative play.

“The dedication of the Orokawa Foundation Playground marks a milestone in our school’s journey toward creating spaces that are truly inclusive. This playground is not just a recreational area; it’s a symbol of our dedication to ensuring that every child in our school feels welcomed and valued,” said Vesna Grujicic, Principal of Transformation Academy. “This new play space represents a significant milestone in our commitment to providing an inclusive educational environment. This space not only fosters play but also supports the social, emotional, and sensory needs of our students on the autism spectrum, empowering them to thrive.”

The Transformation Academy provides skills and support to students and their families across a variety of settings including home, workplace, and community. The teachers and administrators provide programming to foster growth and independence for each student utilizing a collaborative team approach of highly trained professionals, including special education teachers, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, behavior specialists, transition coordinators, and therapeutic behavior aides.

The Transformation Academy is part of The Children’s Guild (TCG), founded in 1953 and celebrating its 70th anniversary.  TCG is a leading MidAtlantic nonprofit organization focused on helping students and families find success socially, emotionally, educationally, and developmentally through special education and charter schools, school-based mental health services, treatment foster care, autism services, family mental and behavioral health services, and workforce development programs.  Affiliates of The Children’s Guild include The Children’s Guild School of Baltimore, The Children’s Guild DC Public Charter School, The Children’s Guild School of Prince George County, Monarch Academy Glen Burnie, Monarch Global Academy Global Laurel, Monarch Academy Annapolis, Monarch Preschool College Park, The Children’s Guild- Transformation Academy, The Outpatient Mental Health Clinic (OMHC), Treatment Foster Care, TranZed Academy for Working Students (TAWS), and TranZed Apprenticeships.  For more information, visit https://childrensguild.org/.

Transformation Academy To Host Prom For Students With Special Needs At Baltimore Campus

On Friday, August 12th, 36 students from The Children’s Guild–Transformation Academy in Baltimore will get dressed up and go to the prom to celebrate the start of their new year in this special education school that has become a thriving environment for dozens of students ages 5-21 whose primary diagnosis is autism. Many of the students also have co-existing diagnoses of sensory processing disorder, a specific learning disability, health impairment or multiple disabilities.

According to Ariel Long, One-to-One Administrator and Teacher Katie Boyce, “All students should have the opportunity to go to the prom, and we are so looking forward to giving our students the chance to Be A Star at Prom 2022.  Instead of crowning a prom king and queen, we will be recognizing each student with for their individual accomplishments and what makes them so special.”

  • What: Be A Star Prom 2022, featuring red carpet student introductions, a corsage building station, photo booth, and informal fun awards
  • Date: Friday, August 12, 2022
  • Time: 12:00 – 2:30 pm
  • Location: 6802 McClean Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21234 (Gymnasium)

The Transformation Academy provides skills and support to students and their families across a variety of settings including home, workplace, and community.  The teachers and administrators provide programming to foster growth and independence for each student utilizing a collaborative team approach of highly trained professionals, including special education teachers, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, behavior specialists, transition coordinators, and therapeutic behavior aides.

The Transformation Academy is part of The Children’s Guild schools and programs which respond to the unique needs of every child, family, and community it serves. The organization is one of the largest providers of charter schools, special education, autism services, treatment foster care, and family mental and behavioral health services in the region.

Affiliates of The Children’s Guild include The Children’s Guild, Inc., Baltimore Campus, The Children’s Guild DC Public Charter School, The Children’s Guild – Prince George Campus, Monarch Academy Glen Burnie, Monarch Academy Global – Laurel, Monarch Academy Annapolis, The Outpatient Mental Health Clinic, Treatment Foster Care, The Children’s Guild- Transformation Academy, Monarch Preschool College Park, TranZed Academy for Working Students (TAWS), and TranZed Apprenticeships.  For more information, visit https://childrensguild.org/.

The Children’s Guild DC Public Charter School, which uses a whole child teaching approach, to participate this week’s EdFest

Registration Now Open for Virtual Event Taking Place on Saturday, December 11

The Children’s Guild DC Public Charter School (TCG DC), a free DC public charter K-8 school which meets the needs of all types of learners, and guided by a Transformation Education philosophy supporting the whole child, will be participating in the Virtual EdFEST21.  This online event is DC’s annual public school fair, where families can learn about the public school lottery, is taking place on Saturday, December 11 from 10 am – 1 pm.  Families are invited to register for the event, for free, and make plans to visit TCG DC’s virtual booth to learn how the school uses a Transformation Education philosophy to educate the whole child, with a focus on special education.

“All students at TCG DC -The Children’s Guild receive the personal attention and support they need to be successful in school by having access to special education resources and a caring teaching staff to see them through,” explained School Principal Bryan Daniels.  “At The Children’s Guild, we provide a safe and reassuring learning environment that promotes personal accountability, academic achievement, and a true sense of community. We have transportation hubs around the city to get children safely to school each day.”

“TCG DC is great!  I needed a family friendly environment for my son to learn and feel nurtured and this school provides the best education and lifelong memories that has helped him to grow into a young man. Now he’s in honors courses! I couldn’t be prouder of him and the place we will forever call home at TCG DC,” Katrena Nash, DCPCS graduate parent.

To meet with TCG DC school representatives and explore more about their whole child teaching approach and how to get a child enrolled, register for EdFEST (virtual event). Families who need support registering for the event or navigating the lottery process are encouraged to call the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

The DC Public Charter School is a program of The Children’s Guild.  Affiliates of The Children’s Guild include The Children’s Guild School of Baltimore, The Children’s Guild School of Prince George’s County, The Janet and Frank Kelly Autism Center, Monarch Academy public charter and contract schools, The Outpatient Mental Health Center, Treatment Foster Care, The Children’s Guild: Transformation Academy, Monarch Preschool College Park, TranZed Academy for Working Students (TAWS), and TranZed Apprenticeships.  For more information, visit https://childrensguild.org/.

The Children’s Guild Announces New Autism School and Holds Open Houses

The Children’s Guild will open The Children’s Guild: Transformation Academy, a new non-public school providing special education services to children on the autism spectrum, on Oct. 18, 2021. Transformation Academy’s primary goal is to prepare students for transition into adulthood by focusing on functional life skills and activities of daily living beginning at a young age. By offering wrap-around services, we strive to make life better for the students and their families by meeting each student where they are and maximizing their level of independence.

Located at 6802 McClean Blvd., in Baltimore, The Children’s Guild: Transformation Academy is a 12-month, day school for students ages 5-21, whose primary diagnosis is autism but may have co-existing diagnoses of sensory processing disorder, a specific learning disability, a health impairment or multiple disabilities. At Transformation Academy, we know that our students are more than their diagnoses and we strive to educate and support families in their hopes for their child as a family member and a member of the community.

The Children’s Guild: Transformation Academy will hold open houses for interested families on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 29, from 5:30 to 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, Sept. 30, from 5:30 to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 9, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We work with children on the autism spectrum whose needs cannot be met in public schools,” said Sarah Weitzel, speech language pathologist and clinical supervisor for The Children’s Guild: Transformation Academy. Our primary purpose is to prepare students for transition into adulthood. We focus on functional life skills and activities of daily living and offer wrap-around services that make life better for the students, to maximize their level of independence.”

Instructional areas are determined by a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) and may include communication skills, self-care, functional academics, fine and gross motor skills and behavior and socialization skills. The school offers a community-based component and introduces students to job, recreation and leisure skills. Referrals are made through the student’s local public school system, and funding is through local and state boards of education.

The open houses are walk-in friendly, and no preregistration is required. All COVID-19 safety precautions will be in effect. For more information, visit www.childrensguildschools.org/transformation-academy or email Sarah Weitzel at [email protected].

Affiliates of The Children’s Guild include The Children’s Guild School of Baltimore, The Children’s Guild School of Prince George’s County, The Janet and Frank Kelly Autism Center, Monarch Academy public charter and contract schools, The Children’s Guild DC Public Charter School, The Outpatient Mental Health Center, The Academy: Therapeutic Group Homes, Treatment Foster Care, The Children’s Guild: Transformation Academy, Monarch Preschool College Park, TranZed Academy for Working Students (TAWS), and TranZed Apprenticeships.