Ridgeline Academy embraces the philosophy of full inclusion, believing that special education students can best be educated in the regular classroom. Our teachers accept responsibility for all students in their classroom and modify, accommodate, and adjust teaching techniques and classroom activities to meet the unique learning abilities of all students. Special education staff supports the regular classroom teacher with this process. There are not two distinctly different types of students, e.g. “special” and “regular”. All students are individuals with their own unique set of physical, intellectual and psychological characteristics that influence their instructional needs. There are not two discrete sets of instructional methods – one set for “special” students and another for “regular” students. Instructional programs are designed for each student.
Basic Beliefs and Expectations
- Inclusion is the underlying philosophy by which all students are educated.
- All students are educated with chronologically age appropriate peers.
- All students learn and develop individually, and the curriculum is modified or adapted to allow students to progress at their individual rates. Students are not penalized for the inability to progress at grade level.
- General education teachers assume responsibility to teach and meet the cognitive, affective, and social needs of all students with special education teachers and staff providing support.
- Teaching strategies that facilitate the education of multi-level abilities in each class are used by all teachers (e.g. cooperative learning, project learning, mastery learning, and curriculum compacting, independent projects, flexible groupings, learning centers, and teaching to learning styles such as visual, auditory and manipulative).
English Language Development
Arizona law requires that students with a home language other than English be assessed for proficiency in oral language, reading comprehension, and written communication. Based on the results of the assessment, students may be placed in the English Language Development program designed to aid them in acquiring English.
All students possess unique physical, intellectual and cognitive characteristics which influence instruction. Ridgeline Academy seeks to maximize the potential of all students regardless of ability. Every newly enrolled student undergoes a 45 day screening process to monitor for potential physical, cognitive, or emotional disabilities. If a student enrolls with active or expired special education documentation, the student’s records are immediately provided to the special education coordinator. If a student is perceived to have a disability or documentation indicates that the student has received services the special education teacher may discuss further action needed with staff and the student’s parent/guardian. If parents/guardians perceive that their student is not benefiting from general education services, they may request, at no cost, an evaluation of their student’s cognitive and intellectual ability. The special education coordinator in conjunction with school administration will review the request and respond to parents in a timely manner, in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. If an evaluation is warranted, the school will provide complete results in 60 calendar days of a written request.
Students who are eligible for special education services will receive services in the least restrictive environment to the maximum extent possible. Students will receive instruction in the least restrictive environment with full implementation of their Individualized Education Plan. Students who receive their education with guidance from an Individualized Education Program may benefit from a range of scheduling options and small group instruction. The certified special education teacher serves as a consultative service to the general education teacher to ensure that appropriate levels of instruction, accommodations or modifications, and placement options are provided.