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A Customized Instructional Approach

Our sensory-based education model delivers a personalized and individual approach that builds confidence and competence. Our academic programs are available in one-on-one or small-group settings that especially help children who are challenged by overstimulated senses. Highlights include:

  • Sensory-Based Education Model
  • Emphasis on Communication Needs
  • Interactive Rotational Tutorials
  • Individualized Programming
  • High School Diploma for All Graduates
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At Sierra Academy, we reserve the morning for core academic instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, and language arts. Your child will participate in a schedule of 30-minute rotations, which keeps students focused and actively engaged with their learning material. Rotational sessions include:

  • Individualized instruction
  • Independent practice
  • Supplemental instruction through computer-based software

Because reading is the essential skill that will allow students to continue learning over their lifetime, our teachers place great emphasis on this core subject, employing a variety of reading, spelling, and writing methodologies to help students establish the proficiencies critical to a strong foundation in language arts.

At every age, we stress mathematical reasoning skills, problem solving, analytical skills, computation, and calculation skills. Our balanced math curriculum focuses on the importance of problem solving in our modern, global, and technological age. By using incremental math instruction and incorporating time for practice, process and mastery of skills become evident.

Sierra Academy also provides content-area instruction in:

  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Physical Education
  • Health
  • Technology
  • Education
  • Art
  • Music


Extended School Year for Summer Instruction

Along with our Regular School Year (RSY) programming, we offer extended instruction into the summer. Our Extended School Year (ESY) services provide academic interventions throughout the summer so that your child can work toward Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals with optimal continuity. Refer to our ESY calendar for current applicable dates.

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Rotational Models

Sierra Academy’s special education models use a rotational system of learning that is personalized to each student, so you can be assured your child is experiencing education optimized to his or her particular needs.

Language Model Builds Communication Skills and Independence

Students with autism spectrum disorders and other language-based disorders who do not presently have functional means of communication are placed in our language model program to practice the skills necessary to effectively communicate and build independence. Our model builds on an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) approach that applies clinically proven methods to the classroom setting for consistent reinforcement of skills.

Academic Model Keeps Students Focused and Engaged

Sierra Academy’s academic model works in tandem with our behavior management program to emphasize self-regulation skills and help students adapt and cope in mainstream social settings. Students with a developed means of communication join our academic model, which rotates among:

  • Teacher-Directed Tutorial Sessions
  • Independent Seatwork
  • Small-Group Reinforcement Lessons
  • Technology-Based Workstations

Elementary and Middle Grade Programs

The elementary program emphasizes multisensory teaching and communication needs for students in grades K–5 (ages 5 to 11). The middle school program for grades 6–8 (ages 11 to 16) builds upon the skills developed at the elementary level. Our classrooms accommodate 12 children, with an average of six students to every staff member.

Any of the following areas can be incorporated into your child’s custom program:

  • Hands-on multisensory teaching
  • Visual supports to maintain communication
  • Behavior management and behavior intervention
  • Social skills development
  • Music therapy
  • Adaptive physical education
  • Interactive and engaging learning experiences
  • Sensory-based education model
  • Interactive rotational tutorials
  • Communication needs (for students who do not have speech skills)

Secondary Program

The secondary program prepares students in grades 9–12 (ages 16–22) to enter the community. Our highly qualified teachers and specialists concentrate on the unique needs of adolescents, and your child will graduate with a high school diploma. In addition to our high school curriculum, your child will be exposed to our Transitional Services program, designed to address the needs of young adults preparing to enter the community.

Any of the following areas can be incorporated into your child’s custom program:

  • Authentic work experience
  • Sierra Sipping Shop: student-run coffee and beverage service
  • Office skills: folding, stapling, collating, binding, and more
  • Digital literacy and computer skills: Microsoft Office (including Excel), yearbook team
  • Vocational specialties: examples include sublimation and circuit machine expertise
  • Skill-Ability Center for products and services: using specialty equipment, students design a variety of customized products (mugs, tote bags, signs, etc.)
  • Sierra Snack Attack: student-operated snack and food shop
  • Community-based instruction to support generalization of skills

Cutting-Edge Learning Technology

We stay current with technology in our classrooms. Each room is outfitted with smartboards, laptops, and iPads. All devices are programmed with instructional apps and teaching aids. We enhance basic computer skills and knowledge with leading-edge advancements, including disability-specific interactive software programs, adaptive technologies and equipment, and iPad-assisted learning.

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i-Ready Diagnostic and Instructional Program

For the 2016–2017 school year, i-Ready replaces the Renaissance STAR Assessment system previously used at Sierra for assessment and diagnosis in the core areas of reading and math. Click the button below for a flyer providing more detailed information on the i-Ready program, including home access and Parent Training Guide access.