Mission Statement

Centennial School is a special education school that provides individualized services in a safe, nurturing, supportive, and affirming environment. Within the context of current research-based strategies, Centennial School aims to help students achieve to the best of their abilities, the skills necessary for success in traditional school environments and the community at large. In addition, Centennial School assists in the preparation of aspiring special education teachers and related personnel.


The mission of Centennial School of Lehigh University is predicated on certain fundamental beliefs about children with behavioral and emotional disabilities and their parents. Some of the belief statements are:

  • Students can learn to meet the expectations we set for them.
  • Students can learn to control themselves.
  • Students can learn to think before they act.
  • Students can make positive changes in their lives.
  • Students can develop academic skills.
  • Students can work with parents and teachers to achieve their goals.
  • Students can communicate their needs in a positive way.
  • Students can set their own goals and dreams.

School Philosophy

We believe that creating a successful day school program begins with creating a culture of success and a culture of hope. Both students and staff must believe that what they do on a daily basis, every hour of the day, leads to the achievement of their purposes and goals. At Centennial School we believe that we have established an environment where that happens. 

Our sense of optimism and hope stems from our philosophy about the children and youth we serve -- a philosophy that values:

  • Helping students
  • Nurturing students
  • Supporting students

We believe that:

  • Students with emotional disturbance can learn to communicate their feelings of frustration and anger with polite words, and can make positive and sometimes profound changes in their lives.
  • Students can learn to manage and control their own behavior even when they are faced with challenges, given guidance and support.

Because we believe that our students can and will learn to control their own behavior, we don't feel the need to control them.

Centennial School is the only Approved Private School in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that works with children and youth with emotional disturbance without using seclusion time-out and routine physical restraint.

We are proud of our commitment to positive behavior management strategies for guiding our students to pro-social behavior and improved self-control.