A crucial partnership serving kids with complex needs
Updated: Mar 31, 2021
The Lawrence P. Noonan Center for Excellence in Anaconda, Montana, operates in a unique private, public partnership that serves kids ages 5-17 with some of the most intensive mental health and school service needs in the state.
The school is truly one of a kind, employing teachers from Anaconda School District #10 who work hand-in-hand with AWARE’s onsite mental health teams, including licensed clinicians and treatment specialists.
The result of this partnership is a place that maintains youth in the least restrictive classroom environment. And it works, too.
One of the most rewarding experiences for teachers and staff at the Center for Excellence is seeing the kids graduate.
And of course, we have to mention the annual Christmas program where students of all ages come together to perform hilarious comedy skits blended with some of the year’s top hits.
They even design Christmas cards each year that are distributed to local nursing home residents. Some of you might have been lucky enough to receive one of these cards, as we also send them out to our stakeholders and friends.
We have a student at the center working hard at a part-time job in the community, and some students return to a traditional school setting after completing their academic goals at the center.
In the end, the Center for Excellence is just another school, but it couldn’t happen without this unique partnership. The school district teachers and mental health professionals make it happen by pouring their hearts and minds into setting their students up for success. We want them to have access to every opportunity available and that’s what we do.
A little more about the facility
In 2014, AWARE and Anaconda School District #10 joined forces to open the Center for Excellence at its current location, providing a dramatic landmark for Anaconda’s entryway. The school is filled with four classrooms, staff offices, a gymnasium, and a lunchroom. The grounds are landscaped with a picnic shelter and plenty of space to help kids be physically active and healthy. One day soon we hope to have a full playground and garden space for the students to use and enjoy.