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Beech Brook will honor the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) with the agency’s Community Partnership Award at its 166th Annual Meeting on Thursday evening, September 13, at the Beech Brook campus, 3737 Lander Rd, Pepper Pike.

In 1976, Beech Brook and the Cleveland Schools launched their first combined special education/behavioral health program on the Beech Brook campus. At that time, the program was called Cleveland Day Treatment, and the students who attended were brought in from their schools for services, according to Tom Royer, Beech Brook president/CEO.

The goal, however, was to provide services within the city schools, and by 1977, Beech Brook had taken a step closer, opening its first classroom for children with emotional/behavioral issues across from what was then the A.J. Rickoff School on E. 147th Street and Kinsman Avenue.

The program continued to grow, and today, Beech Brook serves more than 2,200 students at 66 schools throughout Cuyahoga County.

Royer says Beech Brook was one of the first providers of school-based behavioral health in the country and CMSD was one of the first districts in the country to fully embrace school-based behavioral health.

“I began my career at Beech Brook working in the school-based program in 1991,” he says. “Since then, we’ve provided services to more than 8,000 students through Beech Brook’s partnership with CMSD. We’ve reached thousands of others through our comprehensive sexual education programming. None of this would have been possible without the hundreds of principals, teachers, administrators, custodians, counselors and others with whom we have partnered throughout the years.”

Beech Brook also will present its highest individual honor of the year at the annual meeting to Julius L. Simmons, M.S.S.A., L.I.S.W.-S., of Shaker Heights. Simmons will receive the Suzanne Brookhart Harrison Award for Exceptional Service to Children for his 56 years of commitment to children and families.

Simmons, who worked at Beech Brook from 1975-2002, was instrumental in developing the early school-based services with the CMSD students in the Mt. Pleasant community as well as other social services for families in that area. Simmons worked at several other agencies serving children and families, both as a staff member and consultant, and he continues to serve as an adjunct professor of social work at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences and as a liaison for school-based services for the Murtis Taylor Human Services System.

The annual meeting will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the program. Tickets for the dinner are $25. For more information, call 216.831.2255. To purchase tickets online, visit www.beechbrook.org

Founded in 1852 as an orphanage in downtown Cleveland, today Beech Brook serves more than 15,000 children and families through a range of parent education, early childhood services, school-based programs, foster care, comprehensive sex education, divorce education workshops, and other behavioral health services.

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