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reading hawks

GTSS Reading Olympics Team, from L-R - (Back) Kim Harvey, Lower School WIN (“What I Need”) teacher; Courtney Hahn, reading specialist; (Front) GTSS students Ty’Jon, Justin, Jalynn, and Nicholas (goes by Nick), and Emily Baker, reading specialist.


The “Green Tree Reading Hawks” are getting ready to compete in the Philadelphia Reading Olympics! The Philadelphia Reading Olympics is a city-wide collaborative reading competition coordinated by PHILADELPHIA READS, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the School District of Philadelphia, the Archdiocese, and the City of Philadelphia. The Reading Olympics engages fourth through eighth graders from Philadelphia’s public, parochial, charter, independent and after school programs in a reading competition.

Teams of up to 12 students collectively read the books on the Philadelphia Reading Olympics book list and practice working together as a team to answer questions about those books. The teams are coming together on May 13 at Saint Joseph’s University to answer questions about the books. Volunteers from area businesses are joining with members of the community to ask questions and keep score.

Green Tree Lower School students are competing in the “intermediate” division, which allows 4th—6th graders. They have been meeting weekly for months under the direction of Emily Baker and Courtney Hahn, GTSS reading specialists and Kim Harvey (Lower School WIN teacher). Good luck to the Green Tree Reading Hawks, including Ty’Jon, Justin, Samiyah, Nick and Jalynn. Learn more here.



Youth Mental Health First Aid: Green Tree School & Services Partners with Healthy Minds Philly in June, 2015 for a Two-Day Conference

Green Tree School & Services is partnering with Healthy Minds Philly to host a training program designed to help family members in crisis. “Youth Mental Health First Aid” is scheduled in two half-day sessions on Wednesday, June 3rd and continues on Thursday, June 18th with both sessions from 1:00 p.m. -- 4:30 p.m. Attendees will receive a certificate indicating they completed the course and will be certified in “Youth Mental Health First Aid” if they attend both sessions. The program is open to the general public, interested professionals, parents and caregivers of children served by GTSS and staff. It will be held in Green Tree School & Services’ Conference Room.

According to, “Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.”

Please contact Karen Fisk, M.Ed., professional development coordinator at Green Tree School & Services to learn more and to register. She can be reached at 215.866-0200 ext. 220 or by writing

Past Events


Jump-A-Thon at Oaks Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park Raises $10,000 for Green Tree School & Services

Green Tree School & Services (GTSS) held a Jump-A-Thon on Saturday, April 18 at Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park in Oaks, Pennsylvania.   This fun event provided an opportunity for the whole family to participate, including students, family members and staff.  The photographs really tell the story of the day.  Participants jumped, bounced, and flipped at this popular play and exercise center that is filled with trampolines to show their support for GTSS. After the jumping was over, participants and volunteers enjoyed lunch together. Just under 100 family and staff members jumped that day and 32 guests attended to cheer them on.

GTSS families and staff collected $10,000 in sponsorship – twice their original goal! Thanks to everyone who donated in support of the jumpers, as well as the event committee, including Emily Baker, Courtney Hahn, Karen Fisk, Joanna Hall, Michele Ciofalo, Terinae Holland, Courtney Ridley and Simon Kaufman, and to all the staff who came out and volunteered.  Special thanks to Erin Lopez and Shana Washington’s 9th grade class, who collected the most sponsorships and raised $2,020 to benefit educational and therapeutic services at GTSS!

View more photos of the event.




On Wednesday, April 15, 2015 the Green Tree School & Services Cougars won their first playoff game over Chester County Intermediate Unit, making it to the championship game.  They will play again for their chance at the title on Wednesday, April 29th at 11:00 AM at Green Tree against either The County Alternative School or Wordsworth.  GTSS finished the regular season in first place with a stellar record of 11 wins, 4 losses and 1 tie.  As a member of the newly created Alternative Basketball League, Green Tree School & Services competes against other schools throughout the Greater Philadelphia area. 

Coached by behavior manager Kelvin Green and GTSS Health & PE Teacher Trish Morris, the Cougars roster is made up of 15 students from Green Tree School & Services’ Emotional Support Program.  Participation on the basketball team is wholly dependent on classroom behavior and grades.  Wish the team luck as it attempts to win the championship this season.

View more photos of the game




Student Performances Were Augmented by Art Project Displays Celebrating World Autism Awareness Month

talent show

Green Tree School & Services (GTSS) held its yearly Talent Show on Friday, April 10 before an enthusiastic audience comprised of fellow students, staff and parents. The program, under the creative direction of music therapist Lauren Gagliardi, MA, MT-BC, showcased the outstanding and diverse talent of GTSS students. The entertainment was nonstop for a full 90 minutes and the performers kept the audience engaged for the entire show. It is no surprise that it remains one of the most popular programs at GTSS. Green Tree staff started the ball rolling by dancing to this year’s ubiquitous hit by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk.”

talent show

There were singing and dancing student performances to follow, and a number of students demonstrated their flair for performing a good pop song. There was even a basketball dunking performance by Jair thrown in, as he showcased a variety of slam dunks as the audience reacted with “oohs” and “ahhs.” Another highlight was the performance by GTSS student Dacia, who performed an original composition on piano and vocals, “Why Can’t I Just Be Me?”

talent show april

In addition to the wonderful performances, in recognition of World Autism Awareness Month in April, GTSS students have been working on art projects under the direction of art teacher Zipora Schultz. They were on display at the Talent Show and provided a colorful, festive backdrop to the performances. The art will now be on display around GTSS for the duration of the month of April.

View more photos of the talent show.


Musicopia Performance at Green Tree School & Services

Early Reach Initiative Parent Presentation

On Tuesday, March 17, Green Tree School & Services, an agency for children with unique challenges and abilities, presented Musicopia, whose mission is to bring music performance and education to students and communities throughout Philadelphia. This Musicopia performance by students from the emotional support and autistic support programs at GTSS was supported by the Stephen and Julia Harmelin Fund for the Arts and Creative Expression.

This year, a group named Minas has led a seven week residency at GTSS that concluded with this performance by the students. Approximately 10 students have been learning about Brazilian culture for a couple of months, playing instruments and dancing under the instruction of Minas and their educational program, “Brazilian Adventure.” Minas is the husband and wife team of Orlando Haddad and Patricia King, and the music program at GTSS is led by music therapist Lauren Gagliardi, MA, MT-BC.

The program included group performances of music and dance related to the Brazilian culture. In the course of the residency students learned the Bossa Nova and Samba dance rhythms, to sing Brazilian songs in Portuguese, and had the opportunity to play traditional Brazilian percussion instruments. Students studied the Brazilian Carnaval celebration for which the country is known the world over, as well as the country’s complex and fascinating history. Highlights of the show included performances of “The Girl from Ipanema,” “So Danco Samba,” “Mamae Eu Quero,” and “Strong Black Coffee,” an original by Minas in which parents and students alike joined in singing the chorus. The students who performed were Dacia, Lyle, Ty’Jon, Marqwan, Lawrence, Rom, Justin and Jermaine. Please visit our Facebook page to see more photographs from the day!




Patricia Wellenbach

Green Tree School & Services’ CEO Patricia Wellenbach Participates in Philadelphia Business Journal’s Mentoring
Monday, March 30, 2015

National Event Brought Together 10,000 Business Women in 43 States

Women looking for advice and to rub elbows with some of the top female executives in town were able to do just that at the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Mentoring Monday event that took place on March 30, 2015 at Moore College of Art. Attendees had the opportunity to choose from 40 mentors who are the most influential women in the community for one-on-one coaching sessions. GTSS’ CEO Patricia Wellenbach was one of the mentors who was on hand to guide attendees and offer advice in this “speed coaching” format.

This is the second time this event was being held, and an impressive list of female business leaders was on hand to answer questions and provide advice to attendees. This was a national event, occurring in 43 markets simultaneously, resulting in 8,600 women across America, from Albany to Hawaii being coached. Check out the link above to learn more about the event, see photographs from it, and a video as well.


Early Reach Initiative Parent Presentation presented by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Services of Philadelphia at Green Tree School & Services

Early Reach Initiative Parent Presentation

On February 10th, 2015, Green Tree School & Services hosted an interactive Early Reach Initiative parent presentation by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Services of Philadelphia. Early Reach is an outreach initiative intended to promote successful outcomes for youth with disabilities by increasing awareness of OVR services and the benefits of early career planning. The purpose of this outreach is to connect with youth with disabilities early, beginning at age 14, so that they know more about OVR services and can better prepare for vocational choices and living independently.

These outreach services include information about  community resources, facilitating group information sessions, and individual consultations to  help youth with disabilities successfully navigate the transition from high school to employment or post-secondary education.  Attendees includedGTSS staff, students and parents. Please contact Jill Grossberg, OVR early reach coordinator, at (215) 560-4193 or via email at for more information on this initiative.


Philadelphia Flyers Assembly at Green Tree School & Services Educates and Entertains


(L-R) Philadelphia Flyers Fan Development staff member Jason Tempesta, GTSS paraprofessional educator in Autism Support, Jessica Hudson, GTSS students Amir Taylor- Thomas and Foxx Marion, GTSS physical education teacher Trish Morris, Flyer Fan Development staff member Tom Peffall, and (center/back) Philadelphia Flyer legend Bob “The Hound” Kelly.

On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, Green Tree School & Services (GTSS) held a Philadelphia Flyers assembly in the gymnasium of the facility located at 1196 East Washington Lane in Philadelphia. The agency has been serving children with special needs since 1957. The assembly focused on the theme of teamwork and being safe when playing sports.  Flyers Ambassador of Hockey, Bob "The Hound" Kelly, was on hand to lead the assembly.  

Approximately 40 students from the Autism Support Program and Lower School were in attendance.  This was the first time the Philadelphia Flyers presented their School Assembly program to children with special needs. Jason Tempesta and Tom Peffall, members of the Philadelphia Flyers Fan Development staff, helped Bob Kelly educate students on using teamwork to achieve their goals in school, sports and at home.  Kelly also spoke with students about being safe when playing sports and taught them about the sport of hockey. The program included video highlights, teacher-student races, student equipment modeling, and more.

  Selected in 1970 by the Philadelphia Flyers, Bob Kelly was a left-winger who helped guide the Flyers to their two consecutive Stanley Cup championships in 1974 and 1975.  He scored the 1975 cup-winning goal.

Green Tree School & Services programs and services include a licensed Approved Private School, Outpatient Services, Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services and School Therapeutic Services. It is located in historic West Oak Lane, but provides services throughout the Greater Philadelphia area. GTSS serves over 350 individuals per year with Autism Spectrum Disorders, those who are identified as Seriously Emotionally Disturbed, the Neurologically Impaired and others through its Behavioral Health Outpatient program. Please call (215) 866-0200 to learn more. Check out the photos from the event on Green Tree School & Services Facebook page.


Bob “The Hound” Kelly speaks to Green Tree School & Services students about hockey and teamwork as GTSS student John Paterson tries on the equipment, assisted by Philadelphia Flyers Fan Development staff member, Tom Peffall.


More Past Events


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