Colebrook High School


Colebrook High School (CHS), a CASE Collaborative program, serves adolescents with average or above average intellectual abilities who experience social, emotional, and/or behavioral difficulties, and have been unable to make adequate academic and social/emotional progress in the general education setting. Students served in the CASE Colebrook Program may have one or more of the following characteristics:

• Respond well to praise and are motivated to do well in school
• Respond well to structure and a predictable environment
• Are capable of forming appropriate relationships with peers and adults
• Need accommodations to access the general education curriculum
• Have leadership skills
• Demonstrate empathy and are accepting of others
• Are self-reflective
• Struggle with peer and adult relationships
• Have maladaptive coping mechanisms for anxiety, frustration, or stressors
• Struggle with mood regulation
• Have low self-esteem
• Have difficulty self-advocating
• Have difficulty reading social cues
• Have sensory integration deficits
• Have executive functioning difficulties
• Avoid activities that cause anxiety
• Have difficulty taking responsibility for their actions
• Exhibit poor impulse control
• Have low frustration tolerance
• Have difficulty navigating transitions
• Demonstrate rigidity/lack of flexibility
• Exhibit oppositional behavior
• Exhibit poor decision-making skills

Students must demonstrate a level of self-control that ensures they will not endanger themselves or others. The facility, the program design, and the staffing are not adequate to manage a student who is in need of physical restraint. Maintaining an environment in which students feel safe is an important aspect of the program. If a student needs adults to impose physical constraints to provide that safety, s/he is in need of a more restrictive setting.



Colebrook High School is located on the Acton/Boxborough Public Schools complex in the Administration Building. CHS is a fully approved MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Department (DESE) public day school program.

The Colebrook High School program serves adolescents who have experienced difficulties and/or failures in general education settings. The intent of the program is to serve as a catalyst in breaking a negative cycle for these students. It also functions as a stepping-stone for students returning to school from a hospitalization or residential placement, before their return to their district high schools or other post-graduate educational program.


Challenging academics are the top program priority. A core belief is that, as a school, the primary way to positively impact a student's self-esteem is through the experience of academic success. Appropriate accommodations and specialized instruction are utilized to address disabilities, learning styles, and emotional issues that may interfere with student learning.

Students receive individualized academic instruction and support. Class sizes range between 5-12 students. Each student is also assigned an Adademic Advisor.

Academic Regroup

Some Colebrook students experience executive functioning difficulties. This may impact their planning, organization, attention, and transitions. Without appropriate support and structure, students may experience stress and anxiety as they attempt to compensate for these difficulties. Some students present as confused and anxious between classes as they transition and prepare for upcoming classes. Academic Regroup is a structured and supportive initiative with the goal of increasing student independence.

Every two academic periods all students gather in the community room with a staff facilitator. The staff person checks in with students to determine what materials they need for the next two periods. The intent of such intervention is to help students ritualize and internalize school preparation skills.

Following Academic Regroup, should a student arrive to class unprepared in any way, s/he will receive an Academic Regroup In-house Disciplinary Period. These students are then released 5-10 minutes before the end of the period to check in with the teacher about what was missed, get homework, and, if needed, to schedule a meeting with a teacher during a directed study period to make up any work missed.

Therapeutic Milieu with Student and Family Therapeutic Services

A therapeutic milieu is a structured group setting in which the existence of the group is a key force in the outcome of student progress. Using the combined elements of positive peer pressure, trust, safety and repetition, the therapeutic milieu provides an idealized setting for group members to work through emotional and relational issues.

The milieu evolves from the implementation and infusion of all program components within the context of a set of collectively adopted school-based values. Colebrook staff offers immediate feedback and provides necessary interventions in the milieu. Students also receive 1:1 therapy, a variety of therapy groups, and parent support services, including family therapy.

Community Building

It is important for students to feel a sense of community and school spirit at Colebrook, while remaining connected to the home school community. Students are encouraged and empowered to take the responsibility to create the type of school they desire based on commonly accepted school-based values.

School Performance and Self-Regulation Systems

The Level System provides a self-monitoring system for students to track their own progress across academic and social/emotional/behavioral domains, leading to success. The Level System also provides for students who may be functioning at varying school performance levels, recognizing and rewarding those functioning at a high level and providing additional supports for those who may be struggling.

These program components provide the operating structures within the therapeutic context of a "Relationship Model of Intervention". The goal is to use the staff-student relationship to guide students through an exploration of their attitudes, values and behaviors, and to encourage and reinforce developmentally appropriate academic, emotional and social growth. Through this process students are consistently recognized and supported for their positive choices and progress, while they also are held accountable for their behaviors by taking responsibility for their choices an any resulting consequences.

Students are given opportunities to take on a leadership roles. The culture at Colebrook is one in which students can become role models for each other. Students need to feel safe and comfortable to explore and develop their strengths and skills, re-channeling them in more productive, constructive and self-affirming ways.

Students gain peer status by working within the program systems, their progress being recognized through weekly awards, increased privileges and responsibilities, participation in work-study opportunities, and inclusion in the general eduction program and/or activities.


Colebrook High School provides a rigorous academic program that is aligned with MA Curriculum Frameworks and the Common Core Standards, intensive therapeutic support and intervention and comprehensive transition services. Academic credits earned are directly transferred to a sending district transcript. Students receive diplomas from their sending districts.

Inclusion Opportunities

While most Colebrook students initially attend all academic classes at Colebrook, there are opportunities to participate in inclusion classes and other school experiences at Acton/Boxborough Regional High School (ABRHS), as appropriate. Students involved in these inclusion opportunities must comply with ABRHS and Colebrook attendance and other expectations.

Home/School Connections

There is immeasurable value of working as a team with families. It is understood that many families may experience considerable stress and isolation. Thus, Colebrook staff is committed to finding opportunities to support parents an encourage them to be active participants in the school community. Parent support services, including family therapy, are part of the Colebrook Program.

Extended School Year

A five-week summer option is available for Colebrook students whose IEPs call for an extended year program. Inclusionary programming is not available during the summer

Staffing and Services

Maureen Keegan, M. Ed Program Administrator
Audra Berryann, M. Ed Social Studies Teacher
Joanne Flores, M. Ed Science Teacher
Tony Buonomo English Teacher
Lisa DePaola Mathematics Teacher
Ellen Manning Teaching Assistant
Michael Morse, LICSW School Adjustment Counselor/School Social Worker
Brenda Fruscione, LICSW School Adjustment Counselor/School Social Worker
Jessica Grill, LICSW School Adjustment Counselor/School Social Worker
Jason Messina, MS, M. Ed Transition Specialist and Extended Opportunities for Success (EOS) Instructor
Bart Wendell, PhD Program Clinical Consultant
Detective Mike Eracleo Acton/Boxborough Resource Officer


Placement in all CASE programs follows consensus by the sending school district, parent/guardian, and CASE staff. New, signed IEP and placement pages are required for enrollment in all CASE classes. Referrals to a CASE program are initiated by the school district. Parents/guardians may obtain additional information about this, or other CASE classes by contacting the special education office in their school district. District personnel may obtain additional information, including a referral form, by contacting the Colebrook Office as noted below.

Maureen Keegan
Colebrook Program Administrator
(978) 264-3367 Fax (978) 264-3368