Students are referred by their school district to attend High Road School and are generally in grades K–12 (aged 5 to 21). They face disabilities in a variety of areas, including emotional disabilities, learning disabilities, specific learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, traumatic brain injury, ADHD, other health impairments, and oppositional defiant disorder.
We are proud to employ certified special education teachers, staff trained in Life Space Crisis Intervention and mindfulness techniques, staff trained in emergency interventions, school social workers, consulting behavioral specialist, consulting psychologist, Speech Pathologist, and Occupational Therapy.
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High Road School of Norwalk is an educational program serving the instructional and behavioral needs of adolescents in a supportive and structured environment. The program is designed to focus on personalized academic and behavioral goals so that students can return to a less restrictive educational setting. The goals of the program are as follows:
- To provide each student with the academic and social skills to be successful in the school, community, and family system
- To prepare students to return to a less restrictive setting as quickly as possible
- To prepare students for State of Connecticut testing programs
- To provide students with consistent and structured tutorials in order to prevent regression and produce both academic and behavioral gains
- To provide students with an array of cultural and recreational experiences
- High Road’s interdisciplinary staff 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.
In addition to students referred to us by their districts for full-service, longer-term programming, we accept students for diagnostic services as well. Our short-term 40-day Interim Alternative Education Placement (IAEP) program is a fully developed academic and behavioral 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 settings, High Road assists public school districts with appropriate placement evaluation, review, and recommendations to best meet the needs of each student.
To supplement our school’s regular 10-month school year program, we offer an ESY (extended school year) program for eligible students. 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.
We customize our curriculums to focus on the specific strengths and abilities of each child, then we implement these targeted interventions in a warm and nurturing environment characterized by small class sizes, personalized attention, and positive reinforcement. By adopting such an individualized approach, we lead our students to their highest potential, creating new pathways to heightened academic achievement and self-esteem.
Educational course sequencing is based on that of the respective school district and addresses all state standards in order to facilitate reintegration into the public school system and/or progression toward graduation. Our small class sizes of no more than 10 students per teacher and TA ensure that each student receives personal attention and customized instruction that accommodates their particular learning style and their specific strengths and deficits.
Throughout the day, core subjects are taught through a rotational tutorial model that entails one-on-one sessions, small-group work, and independent study, enhanced by computer-assisted learning. We also provide physical education, social skills training, health education, and an array of electives like art, Spanish, and computer classes.
Our Speech & Language Therapy Program features a coordinated and individualized approach. In group work as well as in individual sessions, our certified speech therapists work with students to correctly produce the sounds in words, increase speech intelligibility, develop vocabulary knowledge and understanding, and utilize appropriate conversational skills. Emphasis is placed on pragmatics, such as turn taking, topic maintenance, asking appropriate questions, and socialization. Grammar, syntax, and written expression are also addressed.
Our occupational therapists support students with sensory, perceptual, and motor problems in better meeting the daily demands of their environment. OTs use directed play as the primary method of treatment; however, classroom consultation directly with teachers and assistants regarding the student’s abilities is also key to their success. Directed play includes such activities as mazes and target games to develop hand-eye coordination and ball games to increase coordination between two sides of the body. Through the use of movement, touch, and other functional activities, the student more effectively develops the responses needed to function in the classroom, home, and community environments. As the child ages and his or her needs change, the focus is on the acquisition of specific skills used in daily life. These can include learning to measure baking ingredients, personal care, or crossing busy streets, depending on the student’s abilities.
Our social workers guide students through emotional and social growth issues. They focuses on helping the student develop age-appropriate skills and behaviors for the classroom and beyond. Through the use of recreational and other activities, they assist students in building self-esteem, applying social skills, and practicing leadership and team participation. The students are seen individually and in small-group sessions. It is also not unusual to find social workers in the classroom leading social skills activities.
A consulting psychologist and behaviorist are also available on an as-needed basis.
At High Road, all related services personnel work closely with classroom teachers to assure integration of learned skills into all classroom activities.
The High Road School of Norwalk has a comprehensive Transition Program in place for all high school students. The vocational coordinators on staff address the transition goals listed in each student’s individualized educational plan, as well as coordinate vocational interest inventories, community out-placements, and on-site school jobs.
The first year of the Transition Program entails student participation in a preparatory multi-level curriculum. The Work Readiness class in the morning provides instruction in developing the basic skills needed to succeed in a job. The curriculum also provides individual student support in such areas as hygiene and professional dress, interviewing skills, taking directives, and dealing with unexpected scenarios. Each skill is taught through classroom-based instruction complemented by role-playing, to give the students an opportunity to practice typical work situations. The students must display acquisition of each skill taught before advancing to the next. The Work Readiness class runs 6 to 10 weeks, depending on the extensiveness of the content being taught.
The beginning of this phase of the curriculum also includes administering a Vocational Interest Survey that assesses student interests and aptitudes using a variety of quick-response inventories, as well as a computer-based inventory called CareerScope. The results of these reports guide the future training programs and community experiences in which each student would most likely achieve success by narrowing the employment possibilities to those that reflect their particular preferences and proficiencies.
The second component of the first-year student’s program consists of afternoon job cluster rotations. Based on areas of interest identified through the vocational surveys, students rotate among major training areas we offer to gauge true interest in performing jobs in these fields daily. Rotations are limited to three students at a time, ensuring individualized skill development throughout a two- to three-month period and giving staff and students an accurate record of the depth and breadth of their interest. Long-term success remains a guiding principle in the development of needed skills. During this phase, data collection obtained through ongoing assessments reveals specific supports the student will need to be successful (e.g., a one-to-one job coach, diminishing supervision, etc.).
After narrowing down the possibilities for the most suitable career paths per student, the second year of our Transition Program focuses on functional academics and work readiness remediation and troubleshooting, in the morning, followed by customized training in the relevant field(s) through volunteer opportunities, in the afternoon. Students enter specialized training in a specific field with the expectation of eventually completing the final phase of the program in the third or fourth year by filling a community-based employment need. This can be fulfilled in a variety of ways—through an enclave, through supported employment, or through independent or competitive employment—with the community-based opportunities negotiated and secured by our vocational training staff.
Lastly, the vocational coordinators for these community-based positions conduct periodic surveys with employers to gather feedback on what refinements are needed to continue advancing the student’s skill set. The ultimate goal is sustaining their community-based job en route to a productive and rewarding future in a field well suited to each student.