Sierra Academy of Scottsdale
At Sierra Academy of Scottsdale we don’t believe in “one size fits all.” We provide individualized learning within a comprehensive program designed to help children with autism and other learning disabilities achieve a higher quality of life. Small classrooms and one-on-one attention provide your child with tailored instruction. Our research-based learning model builds on your child’s strengths while addressing identified challenges. We are committed to achieving success with each student, no matter what barriers stand in the way of his or her education. Our program is geared toward building important skills and self-esteem while preparing your child to become a responsible, independent adult.
- (P) 480.767.8659
- (F) 480.767.9776
- 9128 E San Salvador Drive Scottsdale, AZ 85258
Meet The Team
Lenora King – Program Director
Ms. King has been working with students for over 18 years. She is a native of New Mexico and attended the University of New Mexico. She earned her Bachelor’s in Communication and her Master’s in Special Education from UNM. Ms. King started her career in education working with high risk middle school students in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has also worked in Conyers Georgia and in the Glendale Elementary School District.
Ms. King’s philosophy on education is that every student is capable of learning and that special education is a service that we provide to students and not a place to place students. Ms. King has been the Director of Education since March 2017 and she previously was the Associate Director at Aurora Day School in Peoria, Arizona. Ms. King is a Certified Licensed Special Education Teacher.
Brianna Grondin, M.Ed, SLP-A – Associate Director
Brianna holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences & Disorders from Northern Arizona University. After graduating, Brianna spent four years working as an SLP-A, providing in-home speech therapy for children and adults with disabilities. In 2014,Brianna joined the team at Sierra Academy as a certified special education teacher. In 2017, Brianna was designated as Sierra Academy’s Lead Teacher, where she served as instructional leader for two years. In 2019, Brianna officially joined the leadership team at Sierra Academy as Associate Director. Brianna holds Master’s Degree in Special Education and is certified as a Speech and Language Pathology Assistant (SLP-A).
Brianna’s passion is preparing students for a successful life after school. She seeks to prepare each student to contribute to their families, society and their communities.
Students are referred by their school district or privately by their parents to attend Sierra Academy and are generally in grades 1–12 (aged 5 to 22). They face disabilities in a variety of areas, including Autism Spectrum Disorders, Mild and Moderate Intellectual Disabilities, Specific Learning Disabilities, Speech-Language Impairments, Emotional Disabilities, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Orthopedic Impairments, and Other Health Impairments
We are proud to employ certified special education teachers, who are certified through the Arizona Department of Education and have crisis intervention training. We have contracted services providers in counseling, speech, occupational and physical therapies.
- Sensory-Based Education Model
- Emphasis on Communication Needs
- Interactive Rotational Tutorials
- Individualized Programming
- High School Diploma for All Graduates
At Sierra Academy, we reserve the morning for core academic instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, and language arts. Your child will participate in a schedule of 30-minute rotations, which keeps students focused and actively engaged with their learning material. Rotational sessions include:
- Individualized instruction
- Independent practice
- Supplemental instruction through computer-based software
Because reading is the essential skill that will allow students to continue learning over their lifetime, our teachers place great emphasis on this core subject, employing a variety of reading, spelling, and writing methodologies to help students establish the proficiencies critical to a strong foundation in language arts.
At every age, we stress mathematical reasoning skills, problem solving, analytical skills, computation, and calculation skills. Our balanced math curriculum focuses on the importance of problem solving in our modern, global, and technological age. By using incremental math instruction and incorporating time for practice, process and mastery of skills become evident.
By focusing on key areas — academics, behavior modifications, support services, and transition / life planning services — we are able to meet the individual needs of all students through these varied approaches to instruction. Through collaboration with a student’s IEP team, we are able to choose the most appropriate learning model based on a given student’s present levels of performance, social capabilities, motor coordination, and ability to learn in a group setting.
Utilizing four specific instructional rotations, students are assessed academically, gain self-regulation skills, learn with district-aligned academic curriculums, and utilize integrated technology.
Extended School Year for Summer Instruction
Along with our Regular School Year (RSY) programming, we offer extended instruction into the summer. Our Extended School Year (ESY) services provide academic interventions throughout the summer so that your child can work toward Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals with optimal continuity. Refer to our ESY calendar for current applicable dates.
Serving students with significant autism and developmental disabilities, our model takes learned skills and practically applies them to the multiple environments in which a student would use those skills. Students spends portions of their day rotating through different modalities of instruction, the length and the frequency of each rotation is individuality designed for each learner and based on their current skills and future goals.
Each student enrolled in the model has individualized behavior programming which is driven by Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBA). We aim to identify the behaviors that continue to disrupt our student’s ability to access their environment and learning. We then use the data collected from the FBA and classroom data to device strategies that get to the root function of the students disrupted behaviors.
Sierra Academy prepares your child for a variety of postgraduation pursuits, enrollment in technical/vocational schools, or employment in the workforce. We focus on workplace skills in the following areas:
- Life Skills Training: theme-based activities that teach students daily skills for living and socializing successfully
- Vocational Skills: coursework and both on- and off-campus activities that expose students to a wide range of trades and professions
- Career Readiness: students create a portfolio that contains grade-level-specific items and lessons such as:
- Interest inventory
- Work values
- Individual learning styles
- Resume writing
- Electronic debit card
Similar to our custom programs, our workplace skills development curriculum is ability-specific to your child. We use hands-on instructional practices and interactive learning methodologies delivered by a multidisciplinary team. Our diverse transition curriculum consists of numerous components that greatly appeal to your child’s interests and maximize engagement.
Social Skills Training
The special education teachers at Sierra Academy focus on helping students develop age-appropriate social and emotional skills, particularly those that relate to improving their classroom performance. Our teachers concentrate on the individual development of each student to increase self-esteem, heighten interpersonal relations, and improve scholastic achievements. Through the various activity-based lessons and training modalities we employ in our social skills curriculum, students learn how to work with others, make positive choices, accept responsibility, and peacefully resolve conflicts.
Physical therapy services are provided for students with gross motor challenges, postural problems, balance and coordination deficits, muscle weakness, decreased flexibility, and/or abnormal gait. Our therapists work on the foundational skills necessary for the performance of daily functional activities.
Language development plays an important role in clarification of the required skills of thinking, performing, and problem solving. Thus, each eligible student receives an individualized and synchronized speech program, created by our certified speech pathologists and concentrated on such areas as expressive/receptive language skills, speech production skills, auditory processing, pragmatic/social language skills, voice, and fluency. Engaging in appropriate topic-relevant conversations, establishing pragmatic problem-solving skills, improving decision making, utilizing appropriate vocabulary, and developing conceptual understanding are all components of the strategic instruction of Sierra Academy’s SLP (speech-language pathologist).
We meet the demands of our students’ environment through occupational therapy, which assists sensory, perceptual, and motor skills. Our therapist works directly with the children on foundational skills for motor planning, sensory processing, organization, and visual motor integration. Integration of OT within the classroom by our core teachers ensures that each student’s therapy plan complements their responsibilities outside the therapy setting in everyday experiences.
Promoting positive school behaviors and the development of appropriate social skills form the basis of our school-wide Behavior Management System. Through this multifaceted program, students learn to demonstrate positive behaviors that facilitate greater academic successes. Implemented by staff trained in crisis intervention and behavior modification, our behavioral program capitalizes on students’ feelings of personal significance and self-management abilities.
Adult Day Program
Specialized Education of Arizona’s Sierra Day Program is our Day Treatment for Adults Program (DTA) – an Arizona Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD/DES) approved program for individuals age 18 and over with developmental disabilities. The facility-based program focuses on recreational and leisure activities with an emphasis on community integration. Each Member’s personalized goals are individually designed and targeted in a safe and engaging environment. Our dedicated staff provide coaching to Members to expand their repertoire of essential skills in areas like community knowledge, social awareness, personal organization, basic communication and leisure skills. Each member is encouraged to participate to their full potential in a supportive space that embraces community integration, friendship, and embraces neurodiversity. Sierra Day Program is an option for current students who are exiting school services and seeking an adult program with approval from DDD. Students will benefit from the continuity of our mission and vision, structured programming, and our dedicated and supportive staff. Members from the broader community are also invited to learn more about our program. View a sample of the daily schedule for Sierra Day Program.
Day Treatment and Training (DTT)
Specialized Education of Arizona’s Day Treatment and Training – Children (DTT) will offer After-School and Summer Programming options for eligible Members who are between the ages of 8 and 17 years old. This rehabilitation service supplements educational programming and focuses on goals which have been identified as part of their Individual Service Plan.
Take a Virtual Tour!
- ESA (Empowerment Scholarship Account): an account established to provide an education for qualified disabled students. The program’s main purpose is to provide options for parents to freely choose how and where to educate their children with financial assistance from the state.
- AZ Department of Education: Parent Network
- Raising Special Kids: provides, support, information, resources, training, and assistance to parents of children with disabilities or special health needs in Arizona
- AZ Assist: a community of families of teens and young adults on the autism spectrum, where self-advocacy and independence are promoted and encouraged
- Autism Society of Phoenix
- SAARC (Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center)
- CSN: an Arizona networking and education organization devoted to helping those working with children and adolescents connect and stay informed
- Hope Group
- Touchstone Health Services
Sierra Academy of Scottsdale
2022-2023 Campus Winner
Sierra Academy of Scottsdale
2022-2023 Campus Winner