Sierra School of Weld County
2040 Clubhouse Drive
Greeley, CO 80634
The Sierra School of Weld County is an in-district model working in partnership with the Centennial Board of Cooperative Educational Services (Centennial BOCES). The program services students in grades 6–12 with autism spectrum exceptionalities, specific learning disabilities, and emotional disabilities.
Services for Students with Autism or Specific Learning Disabilities
At Sierra, we take an individualized approach to educating students with specific eligibilities, which starts with building strong foundational skills in the areas of language, visual performance, and fine and gross motor skills. Our approach is informed by the belief that it is common to find defined splinter skills in children and adolescents with autism and SLD, as well as a large “gap” between receptive and expressive language skills—a gap that hinders social abilities and can lead to maladaptive behaviors. Consequently, the Sierra School consistently works to bridge this gap by expediting acquisition of skills and increasing our students’ awareness of their surroundings. To accomplish this, we employ a rotational model of instruction whereby students move about their educational space, alternating among specific learning modalities and diversifying their settings, all of which supports faster generalization of skills.
Our rotational system consists of DTT (Discrete Trial Training) sessions, life skills training, social skills lab and motor lab work, NET (Natural Environment Teaching), instruction in designated academic blocks, activity schedules, and independent play and leisure time. Each rotation is designed to progressively build on the last level of skills and inform the next level. For example, what is taught in DTT serves as a building block for the social skills lab, which in turn is generalized into the NET room, which itself is generalized into routine components of the day (e.g., recess, lunch, transitional times) and eventually to real-world encounters. Ultimately, this progression of skills leads to two long-term goals: (1) the ability to participate, function, and demonstrate independence in the general public; and (2) the ability to transition students to a more general academic setting.
Services for Students with Emotional Disabilities
The route to success for our students with emotional disabilities begins with individualized education that focuses on a high level of structure and consistency. These characteristics create a productive and positive learning environment that properly addresses internalizing and externalizing behavior issues and teaches self-regulation.
Our rotational system of instruction for ED students is centered on 1:1, small-group, and independent instruction—all with integrated technology throughout—incorporating a wide variety of comprehensive multisensory curriculums. Our students learn to manage their emotional triggers and to enjoy learning.[/vc_column_text]