K-12 Birch Academy

A whole child wrap-around therapeutic day program integrates various elements to support the holistic development and well-being of children and adolescents built on a deep understanding of the brain and the neurodivergent needs of each and every unique being.

Therapeutic Transition Program (TTP)

This is a five-week program designed to support students (families and the district) in an acute mental health crisis or significant life event. TTP is based on the whole child wrap-around approach where community is at the forefront. This model fosters an environment of wellness through mindfulness, clinical, and therapeutic practices. Instruction is provided in partnership with the district and is on an individual basis. Connection with nature is embedded in the Ulster BOCES program. Ulster BOCES partners with the family, the district, and Astor Services. All students who may need a long term therapeutic program will first access the TTP. 

Long Term Therapeutic Program (LTTP) 

is designed for students who are not ready to transition back into their home district program following their 5-week session at TTP. LTTP is designed to support students who may benefit from having a longer term in a therapeutic program. Families and districts partner in the development of the transition plan from TTP to LTTP.  These programs are similar in their whole child approach to daily engagement and wellness.   

Intake Transition Team (ITT)

Ulster BOCES administrators, teachers, Astor Services social worker, LTTP social worker, and district representatives; including but not limited to: administrator, social worker, teachers, guidance counselors, family, and student will meet to discuss the plan for the student. Once the plan is in place, the student will transition from TPP into LTTP.

Step one: Once an identified student is not ready to transition back into their homeschool program, the ITT will meet. (Generally after the TTP re-entry meeting and/or sometime after completing the program)

Ulster BOCES/Home District Team:
Ulster BOCES, Astor Services social worker, and Ulster BOCES social worker meet with the home district team to discuss a preliminary plan.  This meeting is to understand the transition from TTP to LTTP.

Step two: Individualized Plan: Stage One

Ulster BOCES/Home District Team: 
Ulster BOCES administration and staff will meet with the home district team; administrator, social worker, counselor, and teachers to come up with a preliminary plan.

Step three: Individualized Plan: Stage Two

Ulster BOCES/Home District Team: 
The family and student will meet with the home district and Ulster BOCES team to discuss a preliminary plan to gain feedback from the family and student.

Step four: Student will access LTTP

Ulster BOCES/Home District Team: 
Student, teacher, and social worker meet to acclimate and set the foundation.

Step five: On-going Outreach and Communication

Ulster BOCES/Home District Team: 

Pending the duration of the LTTP needs, times may vary: 2-week reports will be generated for student progress, staff will call home as needed. Ulster BOCES and home district will  meeting periodically with the initial ITT; student continues program or starts the transition back to district.

Our Approach

An Individual Pathway Plan will be created by the ITT; this plan will be specific to the student’s learning and mental health needs. We believe in an environment of wellness through self-awareness, awareness of others, clinical and therapeutic practices, and on-going family, district, and community outreach and communication.

An individual approach to instruction to meet the academic/credit needs of the student will be provided.

Additional Highlights/Information:

  • Classroom Grade Bands:  K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
    • 10-12 students per classroom;
  • Ulster BOCES Team: teacher, teaching assistant, positive intervention specialist, and social worker
  • Individual counseling: One-on-one counseling sessions conducted by trained professionals, such as psychologists or counselors, to address specific emotional, behavioral, or developmental needs of the child/adolescent.
  • Group counseling: Structured therapeutic sessions conducted in a group setting, allowing children/adolescents to interact, share experiences, and develop social skills while addressing common challenges.
  • Check in meetings with the district and families.
  • Duration of student and program support is pending the agreed upon length of service.
  • Please note, this is not a special education program and related services and/or specific special education programming will not be provided other than counseling.


Jillaine Berardi, Ed.D. 
Assistant Superintendent Special Education and Pupil Personnel Services

Leah Raftis
Assistant Director for the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning Student-Based Programs 

Gwen Kramer-Gold
Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning at Anna Devine 

Tonya Griffiths
Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning at Mt. Marion 

Christina Rutella
Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning at Port Ewen

Richard Haviland
Supervisor in Special Education

Rachel Balaban
Assistant Principal
Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning at Port Ewen

David Goho
Assistant Principal 
Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning at Port Ewen 

Linda Rubin
Assistant Principal
Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning at Anna Devine 

Port Ewen 
Route 9W, PO Box 1176

Port Ewen, NY 12466
Phone: 845.339.8707

Anna Devine
1372 Old Post Road

Ulster Park, NY 12487
Phone: 845.334.5915

Mt. Marion
744 Glasco Tpke,
Saugerties, NY 12477
Phone: 845.334.5930