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The Compass Program

Mead Logo- Large, red capital "M" with a family sihlouetted in the M.
The Compass Program

Compass with 8 points.


About the Compass Program

Compass is a K-12 special education program for students with social-emotional and behavioral needs who require comprehensive supports to access their education.  

The program is based on the Re-EDucation model from the work of Dr. Nicholas Hobbs (1982).  The Re-EDucation philosophy is strength-based, emphasizing what students can do and the importance of relationship and structure. Building on this, the Compass program includes:

  • Social-Emotional and Behavioral Supports
  • Academic and Social-Emotional Instruction
  • Parent Involvement
  • Community Support Services


Compass Mission Statement


In everything Mead does, there is a commitment to position students for success now and in the future.

In partnership with Mead families and the community, we are committed to providing a compassionate, safe and inclusive educational environment for our students.


Through a continuum of intentional, student-centered interventions, we will empower students with the skills they need to be successful, contributing members of society.


Guiding Principles

The Compass program is based on the 12 guiding principles of Re-EDucation developed by Dr. Nicholas Hobbs (1982):

  1. Life is to be lived now, not in the past, and lived in the future only as a present challenge.
  2. Trust between child and adult is essential, the foundation on which all other principles rest, the glue that holds teaching and learning together, the beginning point for reeducation.
  3. Competence makes a difference; children and adolescents should be helped to be good at something, and especially at schoolwork.
  4. Time is an ally, working on the side of growth in a period of development when life has a tremendous forward thrust.
  5. Self-control can be taught and children and adolescents helped to manage their behavior without the development of psychodynamic insight; and symptoms can and should be controlled by direct address, not necessarily by an uncovering therapy.
  6. The cognitive competence of children and adolescents can be considerably enhanced; they can be taught generic skills in the management of their lives as well as strategies for coping with the complex array of demands placed on them by family, school, community, or job; in other words, intelligence can be taught.
  7. Feelings should be nurtured, shared spontaneously, controlled when necessary, expressed when too long repressed, and explored with trusted others.
  8. The group is very important to young people; it can be a major source of instruction in growing up.
  9. Ceremony and ritual give order, stability, and confidence to troubled children and adolescents, whose lives are often in considerable disarray.
  10. The body is the armature of the self, the physical self around which the psychological self is constructed.
  11. Communities are important for children and youth, but the uses and benefits of community must be experienced to be learned.
  12. In growing up, a child should know some joy in each day and look forward to some joyous event for the morrow.

Program Overview

The structure of the Compass program is based on a theoretical model proposed by Walker and Fecser (2002). They identified four major structures as best practices for classrooms serving students with emotional and behavioral difficulties. The Compass program uses these four elements as the foundation of our program.

table with words explaining the program overview

Program Placement

While our goal is to keep students successful in their home school environment, complex behavioral situations arise where a more intensive need for support is recognized.  Students are identified for this increased level of support through their school teams in close collaboration with the family, guardian or other designated adult advocate. Placement decisions are made through the IEP team process.  Students selected for achievement in Compass receive instruction from staff who are trained and experienced in working with children who have social-emotional and behavioral needs. Placement in Compass is not a destination but a place for students to learn, thrive and ultimately return to their home school with a new set of skills that better meets their individualized needs.


Compass Program Locations

Shiloh Hills Elementary
Northwood Middle School


Need more information?

Mead School District Special Services Department

2323 E. Farwell Road, Spokane, WA 99021

Office: 509-465-7600. Fax: 509-465-7646.