Differentiated Course of Study
In accordance with students’ IEPs, Spectrum offers a range of placement options that best meet the individualized needs of students who perform on varying levels. Each track provides research-based instruction on core content while adhering to the specific educational outline of each student’s IEP. There are three programming tracks at Spectrum:
Traditional Course of Study - designed for student who are performing academically on or above grade level in reading and math. Students who are less than two years below grade level will also benefit from participation in this course of study with explicit academic supports and leveled instruction on grade-level content. The Common Core State Standards and the Utah State Standards serve as the foundation for instruction on the Traditional track as students make progress toward a high school diploma.
Core Strategies/Occupational Course of Study - designed for students who have been identified as participating on the Alternative Assessment. Classes within this course of study offer students instruction on their performance level as well as smaller class sizes. In the middle school there is a reduction in the number of transitions throughout the school day to allow for flexibility and more instructional time in a given class setting on the Essential Elements and the Utah State Standards.
Functional Skills Course of Study - designed for students who are performing significantly below grade level for academics and below development level for adaptive skills. This program focuses on instruction of basic reading and math using the Essential Elements, as well as instruction for the development of communication, social and adaptive life skills. Functional Skills staff provide direct instruction using Applied Behavior Analysis across all grades through the development of individualized programs based upon each student’s IEP.
Core Curriculum: The Utah Core Standards establish a framework for high quality instruction. They help Utah teachers ensure academic achievement for Utah students by defining the essential knowledge, concepts and skills to be mastered at each grade level or within critical content areas. They define what students should know and be able to do to as they move on to post-secondary training, college, or a career.
Response To Intervention: Response to intervention integrates assessment and intervention within a multi-level prevention system to maximize student achievement and to reduce behavioral problems. With RTI, Spectrum Academy uses data to identify students at risk for poor learning outcomes, monitor student progress, provide evidence-based interventions and adjust the intensity and nature of those interventions depending on a student’s responsiveness, and identify students with learning disabilities or other disabilities.
Screening includes brief assessments that are valid, reliable, and demonstrate diagnostic accuracy for predicting which students will develop learning or behavioral problems. They are conducted with all students to identify those who are at risk of academic failure and, therefore, need more intensive intervention to supplement primary prevention.
Spectrum Academy employs a multi-level prevention system that provides for the early identification of learning and behavioral challenges and timely intervention for students who are at risk for long-term learning problems. This system includes three levels of intensity or three levels of prevention, which represent a continuum of supports. Spectrum Academy may use more than one intervention within a given level of prevention.
Primary prevention: high quality core instruction that meets the needs of most students
Secondary prevention: evidence-based intervention(s) of moderate intensity
Tertiary prevention: individualized intervention(s) of increased intensity for students who show minimal response to secondary prevention. At all levels, attention is on fidelity of implementation, with consideration for cultural and linguistic responsiveness and recognition of student strengths.
Student Progress Monitoring is used to assess students’ performance over time, to quantify student rates of improvement or responsiveness to instruction, to evaluate instructional effectiveness, and for students who are least responsive to effective instruction, to formulate effective individualized programs. Progress monitoring tools must accurately represent students’ academic development and must be useful for instructional planning and assessing student learning. In addition, in tertiary prevention, Spectrum Academy use progress monitoring to compare a student’s expected and actual rates of learning. If a student is not achieving the expected rate of learning, the educator experiments with instructional components in an attempt to improve the rate of learning.
To meet the unique needs of our student population and to satisfy the requirements of the Common Core State Standards and the Utah State Core Curriculum, Spectrum Academy employs a differentiated instruction method on grade-level core subjects. Each of our students is assessed in the areas of reading and math prior to the first day of classes in order for the student to be assigned to classes that are on their academic performance level. Other factors that are considered when determining these leveled placements include age, grade, developmental level, social needs, class size, and appropriate student - teacher match.
By utilizing a differentiated instruction method, or leveled placement, a student who may be by age in seventh grade, but is performing on a fifth grade level in reading, will receive reading instruction presented on a fifth grade learning level with tailored instruction to expose them to grade-level content using the Essential Elements. The target goal for students who perform below grade level is to increase their performance levels so that they may near grade-level. Additionally, a student who may be by age in seventh grade but is performing on a tenth grade level in math is placed in a class commensurate with his academic abilities.
Spectrum Academy makes the commitment to every student to provide research-based instruction on core standards, daily social skills instruction, and sensory integration which culminates in the development of adaptive skills to ensure lifelong success into adulthood. Beginning in the 6th grade, students and their families are introduced to transition and provided with ideas to initiate the planning process. Through 8th grade, students participate in classes, activities, and unique experiences that introduce them to several vocations and skills required for success.
Once students enter high school, a comprehensive transition plan is developed by the IEP team with great emphasis placed upon student involvement. The team develops goals in the areas of career, training, and adult living. Input and data are gathered from interest inventories, transition assessments, and based directly linked to IEP goals that address areas of deficit. Transition services are identified to support progress towards transition goals and the exploration of transition opportunities as well as the development of skills.
Spectrum Transition & Academic Resource School (STARS)
Spectrum Academy offers a program for students on the Functional Skills Course of Study. The Spectrum Transition & Academic Resource School (STARS) is a specially-designed facility that meets the unique needs of our students. The STARS program serves students by providing differentiated instruction guided by the Essential Elements, a set of standards linked to the Utah Core Standards to ensure general curriculum access for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
The instructional staff will implement Applied Behavior Analysis and other research-based techniques to provide individualized instruction for students centered on their IEP services, goals, and accommodations. Students in the STARS program will also benefit from the following on-site services and resources:
Licensed Special Education Teachers
Adaptive Physical Education
Social Skills Instruction
Executive Functioning Instruction
Discrete Trial Training
Zones of Regulation
Positive Behavior Supports
Individualized Behavior Interventions
Life Skills Instruction
Teacher to student ratios will remain low with 1 teacher to every 3-4 students, depending upon the intensity of supports needed. The STARS facility will offer specialized areas for classes, small group, and one-on-one therapy sessions. Targeted socialization opportunities for secondary and elementary students will allow for maximized instruction with age-appropriate grouping. Additionally, the STARS staff will work closely with the North Salt Lake Secondary and Elementary Schools to provide integrated learning experiences throughout the school year.
Career Readiness, Educational Advancement, Training, and Employment
The CREATE acronym stands for Career Readiness, Educational Advancement, Training and Employment.
At the CREATE Campus, students will explore their career interests and gain knowledge and skills in career pathways. By offering bridging supports to students as they learn and grow in not only job skills, but also social and soft skills, Spectrum Academy's CREATE Campus will help students become well positioned for successful acquisition and retention of fulfilling careers.
Currently, CREATE programming includes courses in Business Office Specialist, pathways in Family and Consumer Science and Information Technology, and internships and vocational experiences in the School-to-Work program. Students interested in pursuing CREATE courses should complete the application it its entirety. Upon completion and review of the application by the Counseling Office, the student will be informed of their acceptance into courses and/or a pathway. Criteria for enrollment in CREATE courses include that the pathway is in alignment with the student’s IEP or college and career readiness goals; the student demonstrates commitment to their pathway; the required prerequisite courses have been successfully completed; the student is in a place in their educational pathway at which participation will best benefit them.
Students at Spectrum Academy receive daily social skills instruction using curriculum developed by professionals at the school. A Social Skills Curriculum is divided into weekly topics that break intricate social concepts into individual lessons that address the unique social needs of children with autism and other developmental disorders. Lessons are designed to address a variety of learners on the following instructional components:
Functional vocabulary instruction
Stories and literature that reinforce the concept
Reinforcing activities, such as role-playing, tailored to each social concept
Each student's social skill level is assessed on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis as needed to determine program effectiveness and to aid in instructional decision-making for the student.
Social Skills instruction takes place across the grades and is both tailored to students as individuals and the dynamics of a given group of students with concepts repeated over years to provide maximum opportunities for student mastery. Instructional concepts include:
Understanding of Emotions
Bullying and Teasing
Spectrum Academy has its own assistive technology team, supported through the Utah Center for Assistive Technology. Our team is currently made up of 2 OT’s, 3 speech-language pathologists, and one special education teacher. Our team conducts formal and informal evaluations and collaborates with students and staff to provide high- and low-tech solutions for learning. We have a lending library of devices available for trial, including communication devices, writing alternatives, and supports for behavior, executive function, and reading. In addition, our team provides regular support to our teachers and families in the form of trainings, classroom observations, and consultation.
Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP’s) prevent, assess, diagnose and treat a variety of communication disorders. SLP’s address speech sounds, language disorders, social communication disorders, cognitive disorders (executive function, planning, problem solving, etc.), and feeding and swallowing disorders. In a school setting, SLP’s promote language use and communication skills that allow students to access their educational programs. Spectrum Academy’s Speech Team includes Speech-Language Pathologists and Speech-Language Technicians.
At Spectrum Academy, SLP’s provide services on an individual basis, through in-class and out of class groups, through consultation and environmental modifications, and through the provision of Alternative and Augmentative Communication devices. Our SLP’s frequently push into classrooms and other educational settings to model strategies and provide intervention in a student’s natural environment.
Our SLP’s are part of a strong interdisciplinary team that strives to provide evidence-based services utilizing the most efficient and effective methods. SLP’s are involved in training staff, modifying curriculum and environments, and program development. They are valued and respected members of an educational team that is encouraged to develop a creative, forward-thinking approach to student progress.
Occupational Therapy & Sensory Integration
Occupational therapy (OT) involves facilitating participation in an individual’s preferred occupations (meaning, activities). OT’s provide expertise in improving, developing, or restoring function, particularly related to seating/positioning modifications, handwriting, motor skills, sensory processing skills, organizing self and materials, self-care skills, and safety for students. School-based OT’s promote motor and sensory development and promote the student’s participation in everyday routines and activities that are part of the educational program. Spectrum Academy’s Occupational Therapy Team includes licensed Occupational Therapists and Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants.
At Spectrum Academy, OT’s promote functional participation through an eclectic therapeutic approach. All students receive instruction through classroom-based groups, which address such skills as self-regulation, handwriting, and social skills. When OT is a part of a student’s educational program (IEP) he or she may also receive services through consultation or environmental modifications, direct services inside the classroom, and/or through individual or small-group intervention outside the classroom.
Spectrum Academy’s OT’s collaborate with other professionals (teachers, speech-language pathologists, counselors, behavior specialists, etc.) to provide evidence-based services and to develop research supported programs. Our staff are encouraged to adopt a creative, forward-thinking approach in order to develop individual and school-wide programs that promote progress.
Spectrum Academy’s OT’s also provide ground breaking sensory interventions. Spectrum Academy’s mission is to meet the sensory needs of all of our students, and this is done in a variety of ways. We have suspended equipment and calming sensory rooms in each building that are accessible to all of our students on a daily basis. Sensory equipment is available to all classrooms and to all students, regardless of developmental level. All of our classrooms teach self-regulation on a daily basis using the Zones of Regulation curriculum.
At Spectrum Academy, Art is incorporated into the Elementary schools as well as offered as an elective in our upper grades.
We also offer Drama class and Choir Club at the Pleasant Grove Campus and Dance at the North Salt Lake Campus.
Students who are members of Spectrum Academy's Student Council are given opportunities for leadership through service, event planning, team building exercises, and group projects. Students plan service projects, spirit events, school activities, dances and parties, advertise events, and work with staff and administration on special projects. Members of Student Council are selected through application and essay, teacher approval, and either an interview or election (based on the position). Students who are selected demonstrate leadership, kindness toward others, willingness to try new things, the ability to work well with others, and are role models to their peers.