Fresh Start Academy is a structured Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) regular education program for children in kindergarten to fifth grade whose academic success is impacted due to disruptive, destructive or aggressive behaviors. Fresh Start is for children who are still discovering how to adjust to school and aims to give students the tools they need to access the curriculum and successfully return to their home school. Superintendent Kimberly A. Hill, Ed.D., announced during the Board of Education’s Jan. 14, 2020 meeting that she expanded the scope of the program to include students in third to fifth grade.

Program Staff

mbruce Melissa Bruce, M.Ed, BCBA, LBA
Program Coordinator
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mgilliam Michelle Gilliam, NCC, NCSC
Transition Specialist
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dfleisher Doria Fleisher
Teacher
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cshort Chelsey Short
Teacher
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How the program works

Fresh Start Academy provides academic, behavioral and psychological support for students, and is not disciplinary in nature. The program is researched-based and focuses on helping children develop socio-emotional skills, including emotional self-control, emotional awareness of others, problem solving, and sustained and controlled attention.

Socio-emotional learning
Fresh Start Academy is using the Zones of Regulation, a curriculum designed to teach students emotional self-management. Using four color zones, students learn to identify how they are feeling in the moment as well as learn skills to regulate their actions. This helps children increase their self-control and problem solving abilities.

Behavior management
Every student at Fresh Start Academy will have an individual behavior intervention plan. Strategies include a point and level system, behavior charts and contracts, preference and reinforcer assessments, group contingencies, Fresh Start Bucks and a school store, communication between the home school and parents, a support and deescalation room, and restraint.

How can students participate in the program?
Recommendations for placement at Fresh Start will be initiated by the Student Support Team (SST) at the child’s home school only after the team has exhausted all other options. Options include functional behavior assessments and behavior plans; an SST plan; observations conducted by a school psychologist or behavior specialist; a modified classroom environment; and an analysis of data. Enrollment in the Fresh Start Academy is voluntary; parents interested in this option will work with the SST to determine whether or not the program is appropriate for their child.  Transportation to the Fresh Start Academy is provided by CCPS.

Parental involvement
Parent involvement is essential if children are going to succeed at Fresh Start Academy. Staff encourages parent participation and will provide support and guidance to parents to use at home to reinforce positive behaviors their children are learning in the program.

How will students transition back to their home school?
The team will review progress after the first 20 days and every 30 days there after.  When transition readiness is determined, the team will create a transition plan. Transition plans will be individualized and modified based on the needs of the student. Transitions will occur over 1 to 4 weeks and use a combination of full and half day support from an instructional assistant. The Transition Specialist will accompany students on their first day returning to their home school and will check in with the student as needed throughout the transition process.  Home schools will receive ongoing consultation as needed for students who have transitioned from Fresh Start Academy. 


Contact Information
7775 Marshall Corner Road
Pomfret, MD 20675
301-392-5595
Fax: 301-392-5538
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Hours of operation
Students:  9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Staff:  8:10 a.m. - 3:40 p.m.

FSABrochure

FreshStartOverviewPresentation

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