The foundation of Aurora Day School’s therapeutic program is to empower students to implement resiliency skills coupled with a structured environment of positive behavior management. Using the extensive research done on resiliency in the last twenty years, our goal is to make a positive and lasting impact on the lives of exceptional children. By helping them learn the core traits of resiliency, they build social competence and problem-solving skills, increase their self-reliance, and encourage their sense of purpose and future.
The Resiliency Based Positive Behavior Management Program combines two approaches that are strength based and focus on bringing about behavioral and emotional changes in children and young adults. Positive behavior management establishes a foundation for immediate behavioral changes while the Resiliency approach seeks to build qualities that bring long-term success. There are seven core resiliency factors used: Initiative, Creativity, Humor, Morality, Insight, Relationships, and Independence. Teaching these core factors enables students to build their confidence, sense of future and purpose. While most students are involved in small group or individual counseling sessions, all students have the opportunity to be involved in equine and canine therapies that allow the students to interact with the animals one-on-one.
The Aurora Day School curriculum is aligned with Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards and incorporates daily lesson plans for instruction. All instruction is based on grade-specific curriculum and the goals identified in a student’s IEP, utilizing accommodations and modifications as indicated.
Classroom activities are a blend of engagement through project-based learning, group and cooperative activities, one-to-one mentoring with teachers and ed techs, the use of technology, and interactive learning. Specials, such as art, music, and PE, enhance the students’ social and emotional skills. Morning and afternoon recess are important to students to allow for movement and social interaction.
Every student is tested using the iReady adaptive diagnostics upon entering our program. Ongoing assessment procedures include quarterly iReady, formative and summative curriculum-based assessments, and teacher observations, as well as all student participation in the standardized assessments required by the state of Arizona. Individual Education Programs (IEPs), Functional Behavior Assessments (FBAs), and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs) are developed in conjunction with the District Special Education Director, service providers, and parents.
Aurora Day School prepares students for life beyond graduation. The goals is for each student to find a balance between independence and interaction in the workplace and society. Programs include: College Prep Services, Resume and Portfolio, Job Interviews, Job Shadowing and Coaching, Vocational Tracks, Simulated Workplace environments, on-campus and off-campus job placement.
College Prep Services: During the school year we have multiple activities that get our students involved with there secondary post education goals, such as college. We actively surveys parents and students which helps us align their needs and expectations for college. We scheduled college tours with our in-state colleges and trade schools. We also invite guest speakers from college recruitment centers to come talk and speak to our students.
Job Interviews: Aurora Day School runs mock interviews as a lesson plan for all high school age students, as well as interviews for on-campus jobs. There has been times were students wanted more practice before they start looking for jobs and we gladly accommodate last minute practices and rehearsals for them.
Job Shadowing & Coaching: Our high school staff and Transitions Coordinator work to provide job coaching on campus as well as off site at another location when available. Our Coffee Cart is supervised by our staff who walk students through appropriate customer service procedures and present real-life scenarios (i.e. difficult customers, busy hours etc.) which allows our student employees to improve their problem solving skills.
Vocational Track: Aurora Day School has partnered up with Gate Way Community College to provide our students with a Customer Service Certification on campus program at ADS. We also use OdysseyWare vocational courses during our online curriculum time on campus.
We are proud to partner within our local community on a daily basis. In the past we have partnered with such groups as St. Mary’s Food Bank, Goodwill, The Heart Center (equine therapy), Autism support groups, DDD state services, VocRehab, Gateway Community College, Deseret Industries and Grand Ave Records.
Field Trips are an integral part of our program. Often the students coming from public school districts have not been able to participate in off-campus field trips and at time the parents have not been able to enjoy family activities within the community. We take kids off campus multiple time per week. This increases their ability to appropriately behave in the community and paves the way for more family activities. This includes: Transition Activities, Horse Therapy, Shopping, Museums, Science Center, Job Fairs, Volunteer Projects, St. Mary’s Food Bank, College Tours, Culinary School Trips, Movies, Restaurants, Community Centers, Job Placement Activities, Utilizing Public Transit, Shopping at grocery stores, Phoenix Symphony, Student Internships, Hiking various trails, World Wildlife Zoo & Phoenix Zoo, Fun Friday Activities: Laser Tag, Castles-N-Coaster (theme park), and Jump Street.
Important Phone Numbers
We hope you find the information and resources below helpful. If you know of groups, organizations, articles, or websites that you feel would benefit those who have been touched by a special needs child, send us an email! We’d love for this page to be flexible and relevant for you.
A great article about the emotional aspects of having a child with special needs, addressing the fact that “You Are Not Alone”: http://www.familyvoices.org/admin/work_caring/files/nd20.pdf
Resource for empowering yourself with knowledge: The Advocates Bookstore: http://www.wrightslaw.com/bkstore/bks_index.htm
AZ Department of Education – Parent Information Network may have numerous items of interest to you:
AZ Department of Education – General Information: http://www.azed.gov/
AZ Department of Education – Special Education Information: http://www.azed.gov/special-education/
Raising Special Kids provides, support, information, resources, training, and assistance to parents of children with disabilities or special health needs in Arizona: http://www.raisingspecialkids.org/
Organizations Specializing in Autism:
Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) is an account established to provide an education for qualified disabled students. The program’s main purpose is to provide options for parents to freely choose how and where to educate their children with financial assistance from the state: http://www.azed.gov/esa/
Aurora Day School is an academic service for special education students in grades K–12 who, for a variety of reasons, are not benefiting from the special education program provided in their home school. Students are referred to ADS and enrolled by their home school or enrolled by parents/guardians privately on a tuition basis.
The steps are as follows:
For a public school student:
- A determination is made that the student’s needs cannot be met within a traditional special education classroom.
- The home school conducts an IEP meeting and gives prior written notice to the parents outlining the least restrictive environment for the student and enrollment at Aurora Day School.
- ADS is then contacted by the home school, and ADS assists in the process of enrollment and admission. Prior to enrollment, parents/guardians are encouraged to tour the ADS facility and meet the teachers and available staff.
For an Empowerment Scholarship Award recipient:
- Contact ADS for information about our program, schedule a tour, and discuss the needs of the student.
- With guidance from ADS, provide and complete all of the necessary documentation to enroll the student in our program.
When a student is enrolled from their home school, there is no cost to the family unless the family chooses to provide additional services outside of the IEP requirements.
An ESA recipient who chooses ADS as the school of choice may or may not have additional costs, depending on the ESA amount awarded. Financial arrangements with the parent/guardian for any overages will be discussed and agreed to prior to enrollment.
ADS provides breakfast and lunch at no cost. Meals are within the approved federal nutrition guidelines. Students may bring their own lunch from home, if desired.
Transportation is provided by the home school or the parents/guardians.