Staff Spotlight: BCBA Bonanza!

The REC was founded by BCBA, Tricia Woolard, and since the Peabody REC’s door opened 4 years ago we have been fortunate enough to add an extraordinary team of BCBAs to the program. With 12 BCBAs on staff between both locations, about 6 are full-time. With the continuous growth of our centers, we would like to give a shout-out to a group of BCBAs heading up various divisions at both REC locations:

Heather Giurlando, M.S., BCBA
NH REC Behavioral Consultant

Heather received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Northeastern University and continued there to complete her Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis and then received her BCBA. Her passion for special education began early when she volunteered in middle school at an Extended School Year summer program. While working towards her degrees, Heather gained experience through various internships at day camps, daycares and the Brookline Public Schools. She also completed co-op work at Kennedy Day School at Franciscan Children’s Hospital. After completing undergrad, Heather worked at the May Institute for almost 13 years where she had experience in both the classroom and home.

Lisa Cooper, M.S.Ed, BCBA, MSW
Peabody REC Program Director, Early Learners

Lisa received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Quinnipiac College and went onto Simmons’ College’s well renowned ABA program to receive her Masters in Education and her BCBA. She also earned her Masters in Social Work and certification as a Trauma Informed Clinician from Simmons. Her internships at MCI- Cedar Junction and YOU Inc. Teen Substance Abuse Program fueled her interest in helping those who are struggling in the community. Lisa refocused her skills to children and young adults with disabilities as a Behavioral Consultant at South Shore Charter Public School and then as a BCBA with the REC’s sister company, Creative Behavioral Solutions (CBS) where she worked both in-home and in-school as a Behavioral Consultant. She was introduced to the REC during her time at CBS and admired the center-based ABA Programming and team atmosphere. Her favorite thing about the REC is the enthusiastic and dedicated staff. The REC is excited to welcome Lisa to the Early Learners Department!

Brianna Fedolfi, M.Ed, BCBA
Peabody REC Program Director, Tweens

Brianna received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Keene State College and continued her higher education at Endicott College’s Institute for Behavioral Studies where she earned her Masters in Education for Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis and then her BCBA. Her passion for working with children began as a camp counselor at the YMCA of the North Shore. Post-grad, Brianna started off her career in the Public Schools System with Marlborough Public Schools as an ABA Technician. She further honed her ABA programming skills at Futures Clinic and Futures Behavior Therapy Center in Beverly, MA. Brianna’s favorite things about the REC are the small groups and the social skills games. She is a great addition to the Tween Department!

Juliana Hartelius, M.Ed, BCBA
Peabody REC Program Director, Teens and Young Adults

Juliana received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Salem State University and then moved onto Bay Path University where she earned her Masters in Education and then her BCBA. Her experience began at a local collaborative and then spent the majority of her career as a BCBA with the REC’s sister company, Creative Behavioral Solutions (CBS) as a Behavioral Consultant in-home and in-school. Juliana also began working part-time at the REC. She loves seeing how happy the REC students are upon arrival and has made the move to become a full-time fixture in the Teen Department.

#squadgoals Are you interested in joining Team REC? We are now hiring staff for our Fall Programming! Between our 2 locations, we offer full and part-time positions with various experience levels. Inquire by sending an email to jobs@recreationaleducationcenter.com.

 

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Sneak-a-Peek at our Clinical Corner!

The REC is committed to providing effective ABA programming for each individual student and that commitment extends to our staff training. REC Staffers join our team with varying degrees of ABA training. The REC promotes staff development through in person trainings, online modules, daily clinical exercises, as well as through other methods.

REC fulltime staffers consist of a team of Board Certified Behavior Analysts, Registered Behavior Technicians and experienced special educators who are passionate about ABA therapy and providing direct staff with the support system needed to create and implement successful programs. In addition to trainings, Senior REC Staffers have created the Clinical Corner to assist staff and reinforce the use of ABA methods.

The Clinical Corner topics change monthly so check out the last few months of creative learning in the staff room!

Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement
Staff was asked to give examples of positive and negative reinforcement based on student experiences. The staff room was decorated with various examples such as,

Positive Reinforcement – Verbal praise, “Awesome job waiting for your turn!” for turn taking during a game with peers reinforces waiting and will strengthen that behavior.

Negative Reinforcement – If a student mands (requests) for a break, “I want a break” to avoid a certain situation (loud, crowded area) the behavior will be strengthened, reinforced and then used to request a break in the future.

Functional Communication and Natural Environment Teaching
There are opportunities for Functional Communication in nearly every moment of programming at the REC. Staff was asked to give examples of various ways that they create opportunities for students to communicate functionally throughout the REC’s Natural Environment.

Examples included the following:
When on the trampoline staffers will ask the student, “What animals jump?” (categorization/class) or request that they “Jump 5 times” (following one step directions).

Also, staffers encourage students Mand (request) for items and Tact (label) for items:
“I want to jump” and “I want a turn” (Mand) or “He/she is jumping (Tact)

 

Are you a good fit for Team REC? Click HERE for a brief job description. Please email inquiries and resumes to jobs@recreationaleducationcenter.com.

Staff Spotlight: REC of NH Program Coordinator

The REC of NH in Londonderry has been open just over 3 months but we are far from green! Our last Staff Spotlight (click here) featured Program Coordinators from our Peabody, MA location. Our rapidly growing REC of NH currently has one Program Coordinator who has set a high standard that we like to consider the REC way of providing effective, individualized, and comprehensive ABA programming.

Gina Tremblay, Program Coordinator

Gina joined Team REC in Peabody, MA several years ago. She began training as a Behavioral Support Staff, and it became clear early on that she was passionate about helping REC kiddos reach their full potential and facilitating ABA programming.  When the REC of NH was being developed, Gina was the perfect candidate to lead the charge and replicate our successful Peabody program in Londonderry. She has embraced the role of Program Coordinator and exceeded all expectations by bringing her experience and creativity into her work.

Gina effectively juggles many responsibilities including clinical tasks such as student assessment, treatment planning, and ongoing maintenance of students’ individualized programming. She also plans daily group art activities, ice skating pond crafting, and cooking task analyses, baking marshmallow pumpkin pops for Halloween or multi colored red and green cupcakes for the Holidays.  If you’ve been to the REC of NH and like what you see, it is most likely thanks to Gina and her bright handmade craft ideas brought to life by the students at the REC and adorned all throughout 10 Mohawk Drive!  We can’t wait to see what else Gina has up her sleeve and look forward to her kicking off an amazing Spring and Summer Program (Camp REC) schedule!

Thank you Gina for all that you do! To read more about the REC Staff visit our website.

Gina2Students

Gina pictured with 2 REC students

Stay tuned for more staff spotlights!

Letter from our Founder

It is incredibly hard to believe that our 2014 summer program Camp REC is coming to an end. As I walk through the center, I am totally in awe of the smiling faces on both staff and children and the contagious giggles that abound.  It is truly amazing to observe the wonderful resource the REC has become. It certainly makes me reflect back on when the idea of opening the REC was merely a thought to the actuality of opening day.

Frequently, I am asked why I opened the center. Although the development of the center from its infancy to now has been a tremendous adventure, how it came to fruition is actually not a spectacular story. I started working in special education over sixteen years ago. Throughout my career and wonderful interactions with so many children and their families, it became evident that the services I was providing for these children and their families were often not enough. Parents expressed their concerns and wishes for additional supportive programs. For many families, evenings are long, weekends are longer, and vacation weeks are endless. Simply an hour can feel like an eternity at times when a child is having a difficult day. Confronted with this realization, I envisioned offering a year-round program that would be available to families seven days per week. Families would have the opportunity to access the center at times convenient for them. What a wonderful resource it would be!

For a long period of time, I constantly thought about how to design and institute such a program. After endless hours of perseverating on the idea, I finally decided that I needed to simply take a chance and move forward with following my dream.  My initial concept of implementing this program soon became a reality. Thanks to the many families who continue to take advantage of the activities and programs offered at the center, the REC quickly gained popularity. With its success, I have received more gratification than I could ever have imagined. The center today offers so much more than seven days per week of programming; it offers a truly specialized experience for all students. It has opened the doors for children with special needs to engage in similar experiences as their peers.

I am extremely proud to be surrounded by such talented and dedicated people who share my belief in the REC. My staff members possess endless amounts of energy. They spend countless hours researching and creating fun and educational new projects for our students. My team members and those families participating in our programs truly make the REC a unique and cherished place. They have been instrumental in making my dream come alive and the success of the REC has surpassed all my expectations.

I am truly touched and feel so fortunate that we have been able to reach so many families over the three years we have been open. My dream doesn’t stop here though; I am committed to extending these opportunities to more families as well! Although I have achieved my initial goal with the success of the REC, anyone who knows me well would agree that I am constantly striving to expand and provide more support and additional resources to families. Why stop here? The REC in Peabody officially opened while I was 8 months pregnant with my second son. It just seems fitting that our second center will open while I am 8 months pregnant with my third child. We are eager to launch our Londonderry, NH location in October 2014. We hope many new families will access and enjoy the programs offered at our new location and that we will receive as much enthusiasm from families in New Hampshire as we have received by those in Massachusetts.

I truly love the career path I have chosen and I am extremely thankful for the students, families and staff members of the REC who consistently impact my life and remain my constant motivation in continuing to explore and create new and even more beneficial resources for all families.

I hope you will come see us soon in either Peabody or Londonderry!

Tricia Woolard, M.S.Ed., BCBA
Executive Director/Owner
Recreational Education Center, LLC

 

Tricia and her two sons at the REC's Annual Halloween Party.

Tricia and her two sons at the REC’s Annual Halloween Party.

REC Staff Spotlight: Senior Programming Team

After three short years, we consider the REC to be a well-oiled machine. We have great REC staffers to thank for that! Every staffer contributes so much to make each day fun and educational for the children and teens attending. As we approach another great summer of Camp REC it is the perfect time to introduce the Senior Programming Team and give you a little glimpse of their day-to-day!

Mark Williams, Clinical Director
Mark joined the REC team in 2013, but it is already impossible to imagine the REC without him! As an experienced BCBA, he came to the REC ready to lead and assist in training the team. Not only does he oversee all of the REC staffers, but he also works directly with families to confirm the best possible treatment plans for the students. Mark’s active engagement has made him fully vested in the well-being of both the staff and the students. Mark’s clinical background gives him the tools he needs to ensure all ABA programming runs smoothly and attains results.

Have you ever wondered who is behind all of the fun themes, marvelous art projects, delicious recipes, daily activities, Camp REC activity schedules and more? All of the staff contributes on a daily basis, but the ones leading the charge on all things REC are our amazing Program Coordinators! It takes true passion to accomplish what they do and it is time to meet them!

Reagan Cassidy, Program Coordinator (Early Childhood)
Reagan is a native of Peabody and has been working in the special education field her entire career.  Looking for something new and different, she came to the REC, and we are so glad she did! Reagan’s job description has evolved over the past 3 years as she is always taking on new responsibilities. Her role includes assessing new students, writing treatment plans, working with students, training staff, planning activities and more.

You will usually find Reagan in early to prep themed activities such as holiday art projects, butterfly catching for insect week, kite flying for the windy spring days and even organizing an environmental clean-up day. Reagan has also mastered the art of throwing the perfect REC Birthday Party! We are so excited to see what fun ideas Reagan has for Camp REC this summer!

Nancy Pierce, Program Coordinator (Teen Center)
Nancy is also a native of Peabody and an experienced special educator who came to the REC from our sister company, Creative Behavioral Solutions– ABA Consultants. Nancy could easily be known as ‘Chef Nancy’! Not only does Nancy help plan all of the fun REC cooking activities, but she also bakes all of the cupcakes for REC Birthday Parties. She creates the annual REC cookbook which each Camp REC attendee receives at the end of the summer.  In addition to her skills in the kitchen, Nancy’s role also includes assessing new students, writing treatment plans, working with students, training staff, planning activities and more. 

Nancy’s experience made her a perfect fit to take on our Teen Center when it opened in 2013 and it is great to see her creativity at work in every project they do. 

Mark, Reagan and Nancy

Mark, Reagan and Nancy

Thank you Mark, Reagan and Nancy for all that you do! To read more about the REC Staff visit our website. Stay tuned for more staff spotlights throughout the year!

Are you interested in becoming a part of Team REC? Join us and LOVE where you work! Now hiring for both MA and NH locations. Full and part-time positions are available. Email jobs@recreationaleducationcenter.com for more details.