About

The School Environment

Education Alternatives’ Day Treatment Program looks and feels like a traditional school, however, the difference is in the therapeutic philosophy that is present throughout our program.

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Every School has a Building Director who leads a team of licensed teachers, therapists and treatment staff.

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The low staff to student ratio in each classroom encourages individualized instruction according to each student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).

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Every School has a Building Director who leads a team of licensed teachers, therapists and treatment staff.

The low staff to student ratio in each classroom encourages individualized instruction according to each student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).

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Therapeutic Philosophy

A Healing Process

Education Alternatives’ therapeutic philosophy for working with troubled children is centered in the belief that the healing process needed to give children hope for the future comes from trusting relationships with positive adults in a safe and nurturing environment. The relationships children build with Education Alternatives’ staff members serve as a healing presence and offer the foundation for a healthy lifestyle.

Attachment Theory

Our agency’s therapeutic model focuses on the underlying causes of a child’s emotional disability. This method addresses emotional needs through the development of a responsive, empathetic relationship with others. The therapeutic model is based on Attachment Theory originally developed by John Bowlby in 1944. Attachment Theory states that everyone has an “attachment style”, which is either secure or insecure and controls one’s ability to regulate emotions and develop healthy relationships. Insecure attachment styles are rooted in a child’s experience of trauma or neglect at an early age, which later results in defiant behaviors and a lack of empathy for others.

At Education Alternatives, staff members attune to the child’s emotional needs through trust and unconditional positive regard, which fosters emotional growth and leads to success.

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Attunement is the empathetic relationship that staff members form with children under their care. Staff members demonstrate “unconditional positive regard” toward children and attune to their individual needs, which is the first step toward building a healthy, trusting relationship.

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Attachment is the result of the reciprocal relationship that is established between the child and the program staff. A secure attachment results in the child’s ability to regulate emotions and engage in mutually supportive relationships with others.

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Achievement is the ultimate outcome of Education Alternatives’ programs and is reflected in the child’s ability to learn, manage behavior, and positively relate to others. Once students apply secure attachment behaviors, such as self-care, increased trust in others, and decreased aggression, they are able to increase their ability to learn and succeed.

Education Alternatives was founded in 1999 to provide academic and therapeutic services to children experiencing emotional and behavioral difficulties. The agency’s first school year began with nine employees and thirteen children. Today, Education Alternatives employs over 150 teachers and facilitators and provides multi-faceted educational, therapeutic, vocational, and case management services to hundreds of children each year. Education Alternatives serves more than 400 children each year that are enrolled in our programs by over 50 school districts in Northeast Ohio.

Click name of staff person to email directly.

Gerald Swartz
Chief Executive Officer
ext. 1226

Mara Kampe
Business Operations Manager
ext. 1225

Leah Luzier
Director of Business Operations
ext. 1206

Rachelle McNeely
Compliance Manager
ext. 1227

Kerryanne Bollman
Finance Director
ext. 1204

Rich Luzier
Director of Marketing & Development
ext. 1224

Christine Swartz, Ph.D, MAPCC
Chief Clinical Psychologist

Randy Brown
Accounting Clerk
ext. 1253

Sandra Lymon
Director of Transportation
ext. 1239

Tim LaFountaine
Food Services Manager
ext. 1238

Kristi Brown
Human Resources Manager
ext. 1229

Ginger Collins
Office Manager
ext. 1201

Governing Board for Education Alternatives

Dr. Cynthia Leach
Board Member

Dr. David Ball
Treasurer/Secretary

Dr. Christine Swartz
Board Member

Kathy Francescani
Board President

Steven Van Dette
Board Member

Education Alternatives has received three consecutive Three-Year Accreditations through the international accrediting body, Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), for its Day Treatment Program.

CARF International accreditation provides a visible symbol that assures the public of a provider’s commitment to continually enhance the quality of services and programs with a focus on the satisfaction of the persons served. CARF accreditation signals a service provider’s commitment to continually improving services, encouraging feedback and serving the community.