ACADEMICS: Literature, Science, Math & History

We strive to:

  • integrate social-emotional development with the academic process according to Dr. Stanley Greenspan’s DIR/Floortime model.
  • support students’ awareness of their own unique sensory and developmental profiles to facilitate self-advocacy as appropriate.
  • encourage students’ self-determination, community engagement and independence through self-awareness, self-regulation, self-advocacy and the development of life skills.
  • partner with parents and the larger community whenever possible.
  • utilize developmentally appropriate resources and facilities to support the educational program.
  • engage each student at the appropriate developmental and academic level.
  • challenge each student to realize his or her unique potential.
  • focus on developing relationships as a foundation to learning.
  • maintain small class sized and low student-teacher ratios.
  • provide each student with a high school diploma or its equivalent, as well as preparation for college or vocational education as appropriate.

Techniques and Approaches:

  • Community/Extra-classroom experiences
  • High-affect and affinities-based topics
  • Small group and individual work focus
  • Post-graduation transition support
  • Floortime-trained staff
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Supports

After viewing and analyzing the inspirational video and short film below, the students responded by writing poetry about labels. In groups, they collaborated to craft each line and piece them together as cohesive poems. The students then worked together to create an image using Canva to share their poems on social media. Their words have inspired and amazed our followers on Instagram and Facebook. Bravo to these brilliant minds!


After introducing our literature theme for the year, “the search for identity,” we began the course with an identity mapping exercise. Students wrote their names in the middle of a piece of paper and drew branches outward. The branches were then labeled with different identities they embrace, such as daughter, brother, female, student, cat owner, American, reader, etc. This activity inspired thinking around the different aspects of who we are- our cultural, familial, societal, ethnic, and gender identities. We will return to this activity as we uncover even more layers within ourselves.

In addition to starting our first novel (and loving it), we have also read “My Name” from The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. We researched the meaning behind all of our names and discussed whether or not they seem to be a true reflection of who we are.

SCIENCE: Physical Science

During the first few weeks of August, students learned first hand about the concept of Friction by sanding the ugly, water-stained tables in our science room with the ultimate goal of staining and varnishing them to make them look as good as new! We began the process of learning about Friction and then attempted to use three electric detail sanders to help expedite the process, when we soon ran into some of the sensory challenges our student have with loud and vibrating noise. So we had to go low tech and sand the tables manually. We started with 60 grit sandpaper to remove the old varnish, cutting deeply into the wood, which took several days to accomplish. In the process we produced lots of sanding dust, created lots of heat, and lots opportunities for gross and fine motor practice. Suffice it to say the tables look pretty good and are ready for new a stain and coat of protective water-based finish!

Students learned that:


  • is a force that resists motion.
  • involves surfaces that are in contact with each other.
  • is caused by the interlocking of irregularities on the two surfaces.
  • creates heat!

Friction provided a great entree into discussing Newton’s Laws of Motion with the goal of going into greater depth about the physics of fishing, casting, buoyancy, etc. and getting ready for our fishing Experiential Learning Outings in September!

Newton’s Laws of Motion:

  • An object at rest tends to stay at rest, an object in motion tends to stay in motion.
  • Force = Mass x Acceleration
    1. Mass is inversely proportional to acceleration! Same force less mass, more acceleration, more mass, less acceleration.
  • For every action (force) there is an equal an opposite reaction (force).

Physical Science

PHYSICAL SCIENCE is a branch of natural science that studies non-living systems, in contrast to the life science we covered last year. There are several Branches of Physical Science:

  • Physics
  • Astronomy
  • Chemistry
  • Earth science
  • Geomorphology
  • Hydrology
  • Glaciology
  • Biogeography
  • Climatology
  • Meteorology
  • Pedology
  • Coastal geography
  • Oceanolography
  • Landscape ecology
  • Geomatics
  • Environmental geography


“All mysteries can be explained by man’s ability to see numbers in the right order.”-C

  • The meaning of algebra
  • Order of operations (PEMDAS)
  • Negative numbers
  • Absolute value
  • Exponents
  • Square roots
  • Multiplying Exponents
  • Negative Exponents
  • Combining Like Terms
  • Simplifying Square Roots
  • Estimating Square Roots
  • Solving one and multistep equations
  • The Distributive Property
  • Factoring Monomials
  • Simplifying Rational Expressions
  • Multiplying and Dividing Rational Expressions (Copy Dot Flip)
  • The Pythagorean Theorem
  • Irrational Numbers Definition

We end each week by playing a math-based game or solving a riddle together!

“What can reason and logic tell us about the world’s mysteries? Everything except emotions.”-A

CLICK HERE for Student Application

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