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Mr. Zatiti Moody



The Great Falls Academy Mission and Vision:

The Great Falls Academy (formerly known as The Paterson Alternative High School) is a nontraditional school setting for students who have experienced a myriad of social, emotional, and academic issues throughout their school careers.  Many of the students who are recommended to Great Falls Academy have exhibited severe episodes of defiance, disrespect toward authority, violent outbursts, and in general have been disengaged and detached from the traditional school environment. The overall mission of Great Falls Academy is to meet student’s academic needs while providing them with special assistance in developing responsible patterns of behavior in a safe, disciplined environment.


The Great Falls Academy was originally established in 1996 as a collaborative endeavor by the Paterson Housing Authority, the City of Paterson’s Youth Services Bureau, the Paterson Board of Education, the Passaic County Superior Court-Family Division, the Passaic County Probation Department, and the Paterson Police Department. The Great Falls Academy resulted from each of these organizations coming together and agreeing on the best approach of dealing with the education of our city’s most at-risk and disaffected high school aged youth. Each organization pledged to be a significant and permanent partner of this alternative school model, fully supporting the educational, social, health, and vocational needs of the students. Each organization realized that many of the students who were being serviced were already involved to some degree with each of the organizations, therefore it would be ideal for the group to pool their resources and collaborate with the Paterson Public Schools in order to offer a plethora of services as a conglomerate as opposed to individually working while missing the needs of the students and their families. As partners guided by a common vision, the team remained committed to the youth they serve, charting a course to academic achievement, family stability, interpersonal maturity and self-reliance through the Positive Peer Culture behavior modification model.  The Great Falls Academy program is designed as a holistic integrated developmental model for students and their families.


The Positive Peer Culture Behavior Modification model:

The Great Falls Academy institutes the intense tenets of the Positive Peer Culture (PPC) behavior modification system which primarily focuses on implementing a high level of care and concern for each member of the entire school community. PPC believes in creating a true sense of belonging for everybody involved in the community as a whole. PPC establishes the “12 Problem areas” that any and all members of the any group can and will identify with. PPC helps the individuals of the group to recognize and take ownership of their presenting issues while teaching reasonable methods of correcting these issues through the intense support of psychoanalytical group therapy sessions. The guiding principles of Positive Peer Culture revolve around the “10 Assumptions” of Positive Peer Culture. One of the ten assumptions state that the “Power of Giving is greater than the Power of Receiving”. This principle is critical in our development of building responsible young adults. We work to infuse these principles into the physical and mental psyche of all of our students in an effort to strengthen their coping skills while arming our students with a multitude of disarming tactics that enable them to make better decisions for their lives.  Positive Peer Culture teaches that we can never guarantee that a person will make a good decision but we can be 100% sure that our students are making better decisions if they follow our formula: Feelings over Thoughts F/T = Bad decisions while Thoughts over Feelings T/F = Better decisions. We can only guarantee that if we think before we act we will make better decisions during critical moments throughout our lives.