The Guild for Human Services was recently awarded a $74,907 federal grant through the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to reduce or eliminate the use of time-out rooms. The funds will allow The Guild School to expand the number of inclusive and welcoming open spaces and enhance the overall learning environment. These spaces are part of The Guild School’s focus on providing the best trauma-informed care for students with significant needs when they experience distress. Each space will be specifically designed to foster a sense of safety and comfort, aiming to increase the amount of time students spend learning alongside their peers.

The specific improvements include:

  • Creating three sensory rooms in the Guild School with sensory tools and neuro-accessible/affirming furnishings. 
  • Transforming the upstairs school lobby into a sensory-friendly environment.
  • Adding additional sensory tools to the current school environment to make the classroom more appealing and coping strategies readily available.
  • Creating professional development and training for staff on the identification of triggers, trauma-supportive environments, and an interoceptive curriculum to teach students to notice and regulate their body signals and emotions to effectively utilize the new spaces during times of distress.

These enhancements are expected to increase voluntary breaks within The Guild student body, promoting self-care and emotional regulation, and encourage the use of more open, friendly, and accessible spaces that reduce the need for time-out rooms. 

Annie Willis, M.S., BCBA, LABA, Chief Education Officer at The Guild, will oversee the project, which will be supported by a cross-functional team.