Yellow Breeches is a private academic school licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Our mission is to provide a quality, comprehensive, life-altering special education program for secondary school-aged students, identified with emotional support needs, who are at risk to fail in the traditional academic setting.
The design of our program is to meet and challenge the various educational needs of middle and high school age students who are having difficulty succeeding in a traditional academic setting.
Of primary concern in our program’s design, is development of our student’s character-education. We emphasize an intentional, proactive, and comprehensive approach to promote our program’s core ethical values of respect, responsibility, trust, effort, and courage throughout all phases of school life. In support of this effort, the program adheres to the basic principles of effective Character Education commissioned by the Character Education Partnership (CEP).
Character education principles are promoted and enforced through the implementation of a positive, peer normative culture which includes behavior management and level systems, to motivate and enhance our students’ abilities to learn.
It all started 35 years ago…
For Mark Staszko, as a student of Homeward Bound located at Nickerson State Park, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This was no ordinary learning situation. The mission of Homeward Bound was to teach young men discipline and endurance through intense wilderness experiences. It was not just the wilderness experience that Mark found to be so remarkable, but also the relationships formed between the staff and students. The staff utilized everything at their disposal as an opportunity for education; the ocean, mountains, the Cape, everything.
This hands on, experiential approach to learning was an opportunity for Mark to change his life. The experience set him on a lifetime of teaching and encouraging young people to change their lives through unique experiences, hard work and discipline. Homeward Bound saw something in Mark too. They hired him as an instructor and also arranged for him to be the first person in history to receive a full scholarship to the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). NOLS is one of the premier wilderness leadership schools in the country. At age 18, he hitchhiked out to Landers, Wyoming to participate in an intense 6 week mountaineering course in the Wind River Mountain Range, which still remains one of the wildest mountain ranges in the continental United States. Although he was the youngest of the group, Mark was elected Captain to lead the final expedition; a five day, fifty mile rough terrain trek, with no food except what they were able to find in the wilderness. Needless to say, they ate a lot of trout.Mark went on to work in a wide variety of wilderness-based programs through out the United States in a variety of capacities. He was constantly learning from and creating some of the best programming in the field.
YBEC was launched with the support of local area school districts. It incorporates many of the philosophies that Mark has found to be so effective in changing lives. Unique wilderness experiences, mentally and physically challenging activities, accountability, respect for each other and the environment, an orderly academic environment, and the encouragement of discipline are all at the heart of the program. It is these philosophies that have made YBEC so successful. We are proud to say that we are now serving over 20 school districts on the East and West Shore and over 200 students in our five campuses and five branch programs.
Our committed staff and continual strive for excellence in academic and experiential programming, have kept Yellow Breeches Educational Center, Inc. on the cutting edge in the field of special education.