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Bridging The Gap

 

An Overview Of What We Do

Bridging the Gap (BTG) is an educational program based on the core principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) that seeks to provide an appropriate and productive classroom environment for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As a program of HOPE Academy, BTG works in conjunction with HOPE Reach to ensure classrooms are founded in behavioral principles and employing evidence-based instruction methods. This series of classrooms prepares students to either transition into mainstream or inclusion-based classrooms, or, transition to the next grade level within the BTG program.  Emphasis is placed on group and social skills within a classroom environment, with an individualized curriculum approach to teaching academics.  Teachers are able to provide an active educational experience for all students.

CLASSROOM SETUP

Bridging the Gap (BTG) is a program designed for children and teens on the autism spectrum.  Classrooms maintain a 4:1 student to teacher ratio and are designed to develop academic, classroom readiness, behavioral, and social skills using a foundation of ABA principles.  Classrooms are available from Preschool to Middle School, maintaining the same behavioral foundation but expanding the academic and social scope as students progress.  BTG classrooms utilize academic curriculums across all grades that are based on both Common Core and South Carolina State Standards.  The scope and sequence for each curriculum is utilized to ensure that building block skills are taught in a way to support continued skill growth throughout the BTG program.  Teachers individualize materials and goals to best meet the needs of students where they are in each curriculum.  These curriculums include:  Eureka Math, Explode the Code (spelling), Reading A-to-Z, Writing A-to-Z, and SkillStream (social skills).  

HISTORY

Bridging the Gap was launched as a pilot program in June of 2011 with the goal of improving classroom skills for 7 students. Through the combination of the principles of ABA and a classroom setting, instructors were able to increase group responding, increase individual response to group instructions, reduce problem behaviors during transitions, and teach students in a group instruction format. BTG continues to grow and now includes six separate classrooms, ranging from ages 3-14.

TECHNOLOGY

BTG places a big emphasis on the use of technology in classrooms in preparation for students future placements and professional aspirations. Currently, the Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd-3rd Grade, 4th-5th Grade, and Middle School classrooms use a Promethean Board for group instruction and academic guided practice. The 4th-5th Grade and Middle School classrooms also practice computer skills, such as composing and sending emails. Our classroom teachers use iPads for data collection and curriculum resources.

The Admission Process

Thank you for your interest in Bridging the Gap!  The application process for students applying for K4 - Middle School is outlined below.  The first step in the process is to fill out the HOPE Services Application.  Registration for current BTG students and current HOPE Reach clients begins February 1st.  Open registration for new students starts March 1st.  Please note that we continue to fill slots until each grade level is full, even if the school year has started.  Please contact the HOPE Academy Office with any questions related to enrollment, tuition, scholarships, or paperwork.

Tours are scheduled throughout the year for parents to come see our classrooms and learn more about the BTG philosophy.  To schedule a tour, please contact the HOPE Academy Office at (864) 676-0028.  Tours are scheduled on weekday mornings at 9:15am based on availability.

Step 1 - Complete the Application

Bridging the Gap is a program of Project HOPE Foundation that works in conjunction with HOPE Academy and HOPE Reach.  HOPE Reach and BTG classrooms follow the same guidelines for admissions. Click for the HOPE Services Application here.

Step 2 - Complete the Client Information Questionnaire

Applicants will be contacted by our intake coordinator and asked to fill out a detailed questionnaire providing HOPE Staff with an overview of your child's skills and specific needs.

Step 3 - Complete a Prospective Client Evaluation Session

Parents and child will meet with a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) to determine the best placement for your child.  Overview of available services and expectations for school placement and / or therapy will be covered within this meeting.  There is an administrative fee of $125 for this evaluation session.

Steps 1 - 3 are required for all applicants, including potential HOPE Reach clients, and must be completed before your child can be considered for a placement in a BTG classroom.

Step 4 - Accept or Decline Recommended Placement

An official recommendation for placement will be offered to parents after completion of the Prospective Client Evaluation Session.  If the recommendation is accepted, prospective clients will be placed on the waiting list for their specific placement and given a numerical number and tentative wait time for services.

Step 5 - Service Placement

Once a slot is available for the recommended placement, parents will be notified and given final steps to begin services.  For all BTG classes, there is a supply fee due by the first day of school ($85 for half day classes and $110 for full day classes).  Classroom placements will not be confirmed until this step is completed.

Bridging The Gap Support Staff

 
ANDREA HUDSPETH, BCBA BTG Coordinator

ANDREA HUDSPETH, BCBA
BTG Coordinator

JOANNA HAYNES, BCBA BTG Coordinator

JOANNA HAYNES, BCBA
BTG Coordinator

MARY EVAN GILES Administrative Assistant

MARY EVAN GILES
Administrative Assistant

Bridging the Gap Teachers

Volunteer for Team HOPE

TEAM Hope is the parent volunteer organization of Hope Academy, including both Academy and BTG families.  It was born from the idea that we as parents need and want to support our teachers and administrators and thank them for the hard work that they are doing.  TEAM Hope stands for Together Everyone Achieves More and we truly believe that if we all do our part, we can make Hope Academy a phenomenal place to educate and raise our children. 

Three main areas we focus on are teacher/classroom support, teacher appreciation, and general school support.  Examples of teacher support include a room parent, field trip driver, and making copies.  Teacher appreciation would include "tokens of thanks" throughout the year, "take-out" lunches for teachers, and an end-of-year teacher luncheon.  General school support covers many areas, including helping at school events, coordination of TEAM Hope events, marketing and public relations assistance, fundraising, and much, much more.  As a group, we want the teachers and administrators to come to us with a request and for our response to be "we can get that done!!"

We all have busy schedules and other commitments, but we hope that every parent will become actively involved in TEAM Hope. Our motto is: Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something!

You can find our volunteer form below.  

There are many ways to get involved at Hope Academy, click on the form below to let us know how you want to volunteer.

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SC Tax Credit

South Carolina Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children

As the tax year comes to a conclusion, now is the opportune time for taxpayers to do year-end tax planning and to consider the benefits of available state tax credits.  

South Carolina currently offers an Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children tax credit, a dollar-for-dollar tax credit, for individuals and corporations.  Applicants are required to make a donation to Exceptional SC, a 501(c)(3) entity authorized by the South Carolina state legislature.  

A pool of $10,000,000 has been designated for these tax credits, given out on a first-come, first-serve basis, for tax year 2016.  As of November 4th, $5,285,631 of the $10,000,000 pool had been donated.  A five-person board awards tuition scholarships from this pool to qualifying exceptional needs children who attend approved private schools in the state.

Benefits of a Donation

  • Provides a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit  for up to 60% of a taxpayer’s South Carolina income tax
  • Allows for a charitable contribution for federal income tax purposes

Eligible Donors

  • C corporations
  • LLCs
  • Partnerships
  • S corporations
  • Individuals (parents/guardians of scholarship recipients will have a credit limitation)

Eligible Funds for Donation

  • Cash
  • Publicly Traded Securities

Taxpayers Who Benefit Most

  • Individual taxpayers paying Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) – for federal income tax purposes, the donation is considered a charitable contribution; it is not an add-back for AMT purposes whereas state income tax payments are
  • C corporations paying Alternative Minimum Tax
  • Individual taxpayers contributing appreciated stock – taxpayers will receive a charitable contribution deduction for the fair market value of the security donated (no taxable gain reported)

Other Items

  • The state tax credit is limited to 60% of state tax, with no carryovers
  • The amount of the federal charitable contribution deduction is an addback for SC income tax purposes
  • Charitable contributions may be limited for federal tax purposes
  • Flowthrough entities making donations should consider the effect on each owner individually

How to Make a Donation – Go to https://exceptionalsc.org/donate/

How to Apply for the Credit - Complete and file SC Form 57A after the donation has been made

This information has been provided by Project Hope Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) public charity located throughout upstate South Carolina, which provides a lifespan of services to the autism community, including Hope Academy,  an exceptional needs school for children with autism that is located in Greenville, SC.

While Project Hope does not directly benefit from your donation, we are providing this material to help facilitate full utilization of the $10,000,000 pool for this tax year.  Hope Academy provides services for approximately sixty children who received these scholarships.  These scholarships are vital to our ability to provide future services to the children.