Students receive individualized reading instruction where they are cued to employ taught decoding and comprehension strategies. Licensed reading and special education teachers provide one-on-one instruction to develop close and attentive reading utilizing high-quality children’s literature and informational text that the students find motivating. Skill building in vocabulary, fluency, sentence structure, clarification, retelling and summarization receive special attention during this concentrated reading session. These specialized reading sessions allow for the sustained systematic intervention and careful monitoring of student progress necessary for optimal success.
Language and Literature
Language and Literature instruction fosters the development of language skills necessary for oral and written expression. The Story Grammar Marker® narrative maps and ThemeMaker® expository graphic organizers facilitate the students’ comprehension and organization of stories and content area information. Lessons are created in accordance with the Massachusetts Frameworks for English/Language Arts Common Core State Standards and are integrated with other subject areas. Instruction reinforces phonemic awareness, decoding and encoding strategies, grammar skills, vocabulary development, mental imagery and word retrieval cueing necessary for precise language expression.
Science and Social Studies
Student proficiency in information gathering, concept development, and practical application of knowledge is the focus of content area instruction. The strategies integrated throughout these classes include reciprocal teaching (prediction, reading, requests for clarification, test question formulation, and summarization), mental imagery, and Story Grammar Marker® and ThemeMaker® graphic organizers in concert with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks Common Core State Standards.
The math curriculum encompasses the skills, concepts and processes involved in gaining an in-depth understanding of mathematics. Word problems are an integral component of the program and manipulatives, mental imagery and graphic organizers are utilized to foster the comprehension of concepts necessary to solve those problems. Because many language learning disabled students encounter difficulties with retrieval, memory, and retention, teacher-made materials and study guides offer consistent review and re-teaching of difficult concepts as well as reinforcement.
The Social Thinking® curriculum instructs students in the unwritten social expectancies necessary for class and peer interactions and is designed to facilitate thinking strategies that must occur prior to social interactions. Students are educated how their behavior affects the way others perceive and respond to them and how this affects their own emotions and responses to others. In order to foster peer relationships, classes focus on perspective taking (the ability to infer the feeling and plan of a communicative partner), adjusting nonverbal messages to meet the communication needs of their communication partner, and learning to follow the conversational topics of others. Our goal is for students to be able to better adapt and respond to the people and situations around them.
The acquisition of social skills is important for any student’s success in school and beyond. In order to address the multiple issues faced by our diverse population of students, we employ a part time School Adjustment Counselor. Under the guidance of the School Adjustment Counselor, our students attend individual sessions, focusing on skills for social development. The transfer and generalization of these skills to other environments is emphasized in order to foster independent problem solving and well-developed social relationships.
Art, Music and Physical Education
The art of self-expression is a valued component of our curriculum. The development of personal creativity enhances self-awareness and builds the appreciation of artistic and cultural diversity. Success through artistic exploration fosters self-esteem, as students experience personal satisfaction through exposure to a multitude of artistic media. Weekly music instruction focuses on drumming, taught by staff from the Community Music School. This instruction allows students the opportunity to transfer social skills in a group environment while fostering artistic skills and cooperation. Finally, students participate in weekly physical education classes.
Field Trip Program
The ability to translate effective learned behaviors in interpersonal situations to other settings is critical to mature social development. This is a major focus of our field trip program. Various events are provided at each grade level with an overnight trip for the older students to the University of Rhode Island Environmental Center.