The PASS Program uses the cognitive behavior therapy model in the classroom, with a focus on identifying past trauma. However, at the high school level, there is a strong emotional emphasis on accountability for one’s actions, as we are shaping these young adults for the real world. Students are challenged to identify thinking errors and victim mindsets, and are presented with a PASS Code of Conduct that was created to build character, integrity, and performance. All therapeutic activities and assignments are designed from this Code of Conduct and monthly themes will be presented in a variety of ways by all staff.
PASS operates on a level system, and at each level, students are working on mastery of specific skills:
0 – 175 points Apprentice following directions and boundaries
176 - 550 points Steward manners and accepting feedback
551 - 1000 points Lieutenant effort and weekly goal
1001 + points Captain exemplifies the aspects of the PASS Code of Conduct
Once a student has accumulated the points to “level up”, they write an essay describing how they have demonstrated their mastery of the skills on their current level. Each staff reads the essay and provides feedback and suggestions. When the essay is complete and each staff has signed their approval, the student presents their essay to their peers in a Peer Review process. The peers provide feedback and vote on whether they believe this student has made enough progress to rise to the next level.
To progress to the Captain Level, the student creates a poster project depicting their journey through treatment and present to their peers how they demonstrate the aspects of the PASS Code of Conduct. At the Captain Level, the student is differentiated from their peers as a role model and leader. They are allowed to keep their phones during the school day, run huddles and sign off on peer point sheets.
‘Red Level Behaviors’ have been replaced by the term “Mayday Behaviors” and are serious behaviors which result in being ‘Shipwrecked’. Shipwrecked is a 1:1 setting with staff, separate from the milieu, in order to assess the motivation behind these serious behaviors. During this time, the student will have therapeutic assignments that have been created by staff specifically for the student. The student will not earn points to be recorded for their point totals during this time. To get out of Shipwrecked, the student must write an essay identifying their thinking errors and describe how these thinking errors contribute to characteristics of a victim mentality. They also identify the traits of a resilient person that they will use to replace their victim mentality. This essay is reviewed and approved by all staff, then the student presents this essay before a Peer Review. The peers provide feedback and vote on whether they believe this student has made enough progress to return to the program and to their level.
Less severe Mayday Behaviors, such as refusal to follow program rules, refusing to complete assignments, or walking out of the classroom, result in being placed in “The Doldrums”. In The Doldrums, the student will be in silent breakfast and silent lunch, but may still engage with the group during academic classes and therapeutic activities. They will not earn points during this time, but are still expected to rate their point cards throughout the day. The student must complete an essay (designed by the QP from a cache of therapeutic assignments) for staff review and must participate in a Peer Review to get back on level.