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An elementary school boy sits in front of a computer in his special education school while holding up a page of autographs.



Rivermont Schools One to One Support Program


Rivermont Schools elevates its commitment to the education and development of students by offering a one to one (1:1) support program based on the specific needs of a student, with the goal of fading out to less restrictive support. Through this student-centered approach, staff provide academic guidance and emotional support on an individualized basis, empowering students to meet their academic and development goals.

Understanding 1:1 Support at Rivermont Schools

At Rivermont Schools, the 1:1 support program is designed to cater to students with unique, intensive needs looking for exclusive, specialized instructional support to further academic and emotional development. Students receive direct, individualized aid from an accompanying Mental Health Associate (MHA) who not only provides academic guidance, but emotional and mental support as well throughout the school day. One to one staff teach essential skills and implement ABA therapy to support the child’s acquisition of individualized educational, behavioral, and independent living skills.

The student’s educational team at Rivermont Schools continually assesses their needs to determine the best plan to support the student’s abilities and independence. Staff continually measure students’ acquisition of skills and use this information to drive decision-making for the student, such as progress towards Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals and objectives, behavior plan objectives, and the level of supports the individual needs. Some students may require different levels for student to staff ratios, such as 2:1 or 3:1. Keeping the end in sight, one of Rivermont Schools’ primary goals is to maximize a student’s independence. As students’ progress, 1:1 support is gradually reduced to a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio, to help students achieve independence in activities of daily living, decision-making, and responsibility for oneself. In many cases, a 1:1 aide is temporary support.

Mental Health Associates (MHAs) are the specially trained professionals who work closely with students, offering guidance, encouragement, and stability in the 1:1 program. Anthony Fleming is an MHA that has worked for Rivermont's campus in Fredericksburg, Virginia for six years. In response to how he helps his students, he said, “One of the ways I make an impact on my students’ lives is by being a safe space for them. I try to always let them know that I am there for them no matter what they are going through. I also try to be proactive in advocating for them, especially when they might be unable to advocate for themselves. I make sure to try and give them access to all the things that they need to be successful throughout the day.”

The Impact of 1:1 Support

The 1:1 support program at Rivermont Schools has positively transformed students’ lives. With the 1:1 student to staff ratio that this program offers, students learn fundamental skills necessary to participate appropriately in their educational environment, stay focused, follow instructions, and interact with their peers successfully.

According to our survey, in the 2021-22 school year, 40% of Rivermont students were receiving 1:1 supports. That number reduced to 31% for the 22-23 school year. Students identified as benefitting from 2:1 support increased from 34% to 39% and students identified as benefitting from 3:1 support increased from 22% to 30%. Students experience improved academic achievement, reduced behavioral issues, and greater independent living skills.

“My favorite thing about working at Rivermont is seeing the progress that students make in real time. I love to see the growth and change that students make while they are here and to see them succeed in all their endeavors,” said Anthony.

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