Program Information

Program Information

The High Road Academy of Wallingford specializes in serving students who face learning, language, and social challenges, with diagnoses including but not limited to: ASDs, LDs, traumatic brain injury, intellectual disabilities, anxiety disorders, NLDs, and speech-language disorders.

High Road’s interdisciplinary staff—consisting of an Education Director,  Admissions Director, certified special education teachers, teaching assistants, school social workers, school psychologists, and speech-language pathologists—is responsible for providing our comprehensive special education program. The services of a psychiatrist and occupational therapists are also available on an as-needed basis.

The High Road Academy is committed to the success of all of our students. Educational course sequencing is based on that of the respective school district and addresses all state standards. In addition, instructional strategies address the strengths and needs of each child. Our initiatives are implemented within a warm and nurturing environment characterized by small class sizes, personal attention, and positive reinforcement.

Other features of our program include integrated computer technology, social skills classes, art appreciation, and physical education. An expansive menu of age-appropriate transition services is also offered to our high school students, incorporating life skills training, college preparation, and career readiness, among other post-graduation pursuits, like our renowned vocational tracks in culinary arts, horticulture/landscaping, and building maintenance. Throughout the school day, the High Road Academy maintains a strong behavioral management system that emphasizes accountability and the development of appropriate behaviors necessary for academic and lifelong success.

The High Road Academy accepts students who have been referred to our day program by their local school district, as well as those students referred to our shorter-term Interim Alternative Education Placement (IAEP) program. This 40-day program is a fully developed behavioral and academic intervention plan that expertly meets all district needs for interim placements; it encompasses intensive academic intervention, comprehensive behavior management, and individual and group counseling. With the end goal of reintegrating participating students into their public school special education classrooms, High Road assists public school districts with placement evaluation, review, and appropriate recommendations.

In addition to our school’s regular 10-month school year program, we offer an ESY (extended school year) program for eligbile students identified through the Planning and Placement Team meeting process. This summer programming provides academic support with an eye toward preventing regression of skills and maintaining academic and behavioral skills development through such means as subject area tutorials, behavioral instruction, recreational activities, and cultural experiences.

Family involvement continues to be a staple of the High Road model, and parents are always encouraged to visit the school at any time, learn more about our program, and become as involved as they wish in the academic pursuits of their children.

The High Road Academy does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, ethnic background, religion, or gender in the admission of students or employment of staff.

We are very excited to be continuing this year with our support of student development in the area of vocational skill building. We provide unique opportunities for students to make connections in the community while building employability skills in trade-specific and exploratory settings. Our staff consists of seasoned veterans in the industries in which we provide training, as well as highly qualified and energetic new leaders, providing a well-rounded, structured, and supportive environment in which students feel comfortable to try new experiences.

One of the most exciting developments this year is the creation of our student-run, on-site café called Cup of Inspiration. The coffeehouse-type setting offers a calm and soothing atmosphere with controlled lighting, attractive seating, counter service, and background music. As students manage and operate the café on campus—even delivering hot beverages to staff throughout the day through a pre-ordering system—the students are learning the ins and outs of running a small business, including conducting inventories, predicting sales, purchasing supplies, and responding to customer feedback. In time, our students will be able to transfer their learned skills to similar positions at off-campus establishments, like Bruegger’s, Starbucks, and Dunkin’ Donuts.

We are also continuing our partnerships with local community businesses to ensure the delivery of consistent skill development in such areas as building maintenance, horticulture, and culinary arts. Our established partnership with the Local Union of Carpenters in Wallingford teaches students the skills necessary to succeed in the field of carpentry, using both simple hand tools and more advanced power tools. Our culinary students learn how to provide services needed at businesses like 99 Restaurant as they complete the prerequisites to earn a ServSafe® certificate. Students in our gardening and landscaping program are responsible for maintaining our school’s grounds, making them very attractive with flowers and plants that create an inviting presentation for visitors. Our community partner G.R.O.W.E.R.S. Inc., in New Haven, contributes both greenhouse opportunities and landscaping projects. Additionally, we have developed opportunities for students to regularly work at the local charity agency Master’s Manna, fulfilling such tasks as organizing nonperishable foods, sorting through clothing, and preparing meals for those needing support.

Like all of High Road programming, our vocational services for 18- to 21-year-old students provides continual support, highly individualized trainings, and personalized skill development to increase the likelihood of success at each stage of their career readiness growth, starting in their first year (our exploratory phase, which uses functional academic tutorials), progressing through their second year, when they either investigate a variety of employment experiences (at PetCo, ShopRite, Dollar Tree, Goodwill, Staples, Chili’s) or choose a trade-specific track, and finally culminating in their third year, when they fine-tune skills to secure ongoing competitive employment.

It is our pleasure to honor each individual student and provide a diverse program that celebrates the uniqueness of those we serve.

The High Road Schools & Academies of Connecticut are diligent about advancing the social skills development of all our students. It is important for each of them to receive social skills instruction that is appropriate for their age, grade level, and disability. Accordingly, our school social workers have infused our daily curriculum with targeted social skills components that help our students reach their fullest potential.

In addition to Rachel’s Challenge—an initiative implemented at all of our schools that promotes kindness and compassion while it works to eradicate bullying among peers—here are a few of the social skills programs we currently employ:

Second Step
The Second Step program can take students from preschool all the way through middle school. Each grade level features developmentally appropriate ways to teach core social-emotional skills such as empathy, emotion management, and problem solving. For grades K–5, the program concentrates on self-regulation, executive functioning, and skills for early learning, to give young kids that extra boost. The middle school program focuses on more advanced skills, like communication techniques, anger management, coping strategies, and decision making. These skills help students stay engaged in school, make good choices, set goals, and avoid peer pressure to become involved with such negative influences as substance abuse, bullying, and cyber bullying.

This program teaches students relationship boundaries and relationship-specific behaviors. Particularly applicable to students on the autism spectrum and those with mild to moderate cognitive impairment, Circles: Level 1serves as an ideal introduction to the Circle Paradigm by presenting highly abstract concepts in very simple, concrete ways that make them easy for youngsters to understand. Step-by-step dramatizations visually portray the connection between the kind of relationship and the appropriate corresponding level of intimacy (for example, it’s okay to hug your mother, but it’s not okay to hug the mail carrier).

Techniques for Tough Times
This program was originally created to provide field-proven curriculum and training for educators striving to teach life skills to at-risk students. Leigh VandenAkker and Gayle Threet, a teacher and counselor respectively, developed the program based on years of experience in the trenches. Techniques for Tough Times offers new techniques in violence prevention, conflict resolution, leadership skills, relationship skill building, and counseling. Twelve years of data from the program show increased school attendance, higher grade point averages, and significant decreases in disciplinary referrals to administration. All of this translates to a more positive school environment, in all education settings with all kinds of challenging student populations.

The High Road Hornets are gearing up for another exciting year playing a wide range of sports, including cross-country, basketball, volleyball, softball and flag football. High Road students in grades 8–12 from across the region are eligible to be on the team once they achieve upper-level status on our behavior management system.

The team faces challenging games with students from other nonpublic schools in the area. The Hornets look forward to Fridays, when they travel to selected schools for the competition.

The competitive sports program enables the students to learn more about a variety of games as well as giving them a great opportunity to interact with new peers. Along with exercise and good sportsmanship, this activity provides team members with another venue where they can put their social skills into practice.