Incoming students are assessed to identify their reading level. Classes are designed to improve reading fluency through decoding skills, and development of automaticity with respect to the sound-symbol relationships.
When students become more fluent readers, the focus shifts to comprehension strategies specifically designed for students with reading disorders.
Language development, technology use, self-management, executive functioning, and social and emotional regulation are supported and addressed as "teachable moments" in the academic program.
A student who struggles with language will flounder in other academic areas. The Social Skills Communication class is taught by a part-time Speech and Language Pathologist.
At The Vanguard School we cater to the whole student. Instructors adjust their level of support, and set the instructional level according to each student’s unique academic plan.
Student goals are identified, as well as accommodations necessary to achieve those goals. These adjustments are captured in the student progress reports for each class, with respect to the course standards.
Differentiation of instruction is accomplished by identifying the performance levels of each student within the construct of curriculum standards for each class.
The premise is all lessons begin at the student’s instructional level and move toward mastery of the standards by utilizing specific teaching strategies that will foster student growth and achievement in relationship to the required competencies.
Concurrently, differentiation of instruction and accommodations within each class will be observed where one student may be asked to perform an assignment or task that requires comprehension with teacher prompts with a mastery of 80%, while another student is asked to perform an assignment that requires analysis of given information independently with a mastery of 90%. This process is successful when instructors understand the needs of each student. We use medical and psychological information provided by licensed practitioners through our parents to identify appropriate accommodations. Our faculty employs many different strategies to accommodate students in the areas of presentation of material, (how the student will access information); response (how the student will demonstrate competence of instructional material); setting (where the student will be instructed and assessed); and scheduling (time needed to instruct, respond and for assessment/testing).
Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy Options at the Vanguard School
The Vanguard School works in conjunction with the Polk County School District to offer speech services, as documented on a student’s incoming public school IEP. (In private schools, the IEP becomes a Service Plan, in which the county offers services to students placed in private schools, limited to speech/language therapy and tutoring.) The county does not offer occupational therapy at this time, regardless of the IEP documentation. Once the county representative comes to the school to do the initial Service Plan meetings, a speech therapist is assigned to come to campus weekly and offer group speech services, based upon the documented plan. Usually, these services are offered up to 60 minutes per week in a group setting.
The Vanguard School does not offer speech or occupational therapy as a part of our program at this time. Students who are in need of speech therapy but do not have an active IEP or Service Plan must contract those services out privately. Occupational therapy must also be contracted privately. Please indicate to your Admissions Counselor if you wish for your student to have access to these services so they can inform the academic administration prior to your student's enrollment.
Social and pragmatic therapy services are provided to Vanguard students two days per week, for six hours each day. Each student session is one period in length. The service is contracted through our certified speech-language pathologist, Wendy Warman, who has provided these services to Vanguard students for more than 16 years.
Wendy Warman’s services:
Social/pragmatic communication skills, and executive functioning skills training are offered to meet the needs of specific Vanguard Students.
Public speaking training, as available, is provided for students interested in this area of communication.
The student profile for Mrs. Warman’s services includes, but is not limited to, ASD and non-verbal learning disabilities.
Individual and group sessions are provided.
Referrals to the program come from parents, faculty, and residential staff. Students are then evaluated by Mrs. Warman for eligibility in the program. Mrs. Warman has a limited caseload each year, so students may be put on a waiting list for services.
The goal of the program is to provide a structured, focused, and relevant curriculum that will enable the student to benefit from building and maintaining valuable relationships, which in turn improves the quality of life for the student when applying the communication skills learned through the program.