Examining Factors, Supports, and Transitional Resources among Students Attending Agency Schools in Southwestern Ontario
Mental health challenges continue to rise amongst children, proving the need for successful school based mental health services. Agency schools can combine treatment and education in order to try and meet the diverse needs of students in-risk that are unable to succeed in community school settings. In conducting this study, I present and interpret the perspective of teachers for policy makers, administrators, and researchers to develop a deeper understanding of the structure and dynamics of day treatment programs and transitions, so that agency schools can continue to develop to meet the needs of students. In this qualitative case study, I investigated the lived experiences of teachers working in agency schools in a region in Southwestern Ontario. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, and the data was analyzed through Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Five themes emerged from an analysis of the data: 1) Teaching the Whole Child; 2) Communication; 3) Collaboration and Team Dynamics; 4) The Present Role of Parent(s) and/or Guardians; and 5) Successful and Adaptive Transition. The themes present a general conception of how teachers identify their role in agency schools while providing evidence of the success of day treatment programs and student transitions.