Sierra School of Antioch2024-01-24T16:18:31-05:00

Sierra School of Antioch

Sierra School of Antioch is dedicated to serving students who have not experienced success in traditional academic settings due to learning, language and social challenges that require special attention. We provide that attention in the form of custom-designed academic programs, tailored to each student’s strengths and needs and delivered via our unique rotational model of instruction, a structured behavioral management system, and a nurturing environment in which they can develop their academic abilities, hone their social skills, and cultivate proper behaviors.
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“I would encourage any parent who is considering enrolling their child at Sierra School of Antioch to do so. It was the best thing that I could have done for my grandson.”

Diane, Darvon's Grandmother

Our Students

Our students are referred to us by Antioch Unified School District to attend Sierra School and are generally in grades PreK–12th grade (ages 3 to 22). Our students face disabilities in a variety of areas, including Autism, Intellectual Disability, Emotional Disability, Other Health Impairments, Specific Learning Disabilities, Speech Language Impairment, and more.

Our Staff

We are proud to employ certified special education teachers, staff trained in crisis intervention, and a Transitional Coordinator. We also provide mental health therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy through Antioch Unified School District.

Sierra School of Antioch is a nonpublic, special education school that utilizes a unique academic instructional model, an effective positive behavior management system, and multiple mental health techniques to increase academic awareness, develop social skills, and cultivate proper classroom behavior in each of our students.

At Sierra School, our goal is to expedite the transition of students back to the public school system and into mainstream society. We believe nothing is more instrumental to that process than building competence and confidence. That’s why we strive to help our students excel in the classroom, at home, and in their communities.

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.

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.

At Sierra School, we believe it is never too early to create a concrete plan for generalizing the learning that takes place on campus to the greater community! Because a “transition” can happen at any time in a student’s life, all students participate in our Work Experience Program.

Our Work Experience Program encompasses many areas: classroom instruction, community-based instruction, links to support services. Specific examples include but are not limited to fieldtrips, guest speakers, independent living skills instruction, cooking, budgeting, organizing/cleaning, college tours, industry tours and much more! After being in our Work Experience Program, our graduating seniors leave with a transition portfolio, encompassing all their successes in this program.

Our Work Experience Program provides practical experiences and skills through on-campus jobs, in preparation for off-campus employment. Having firsthand work experience under their belts is a critical component of teaching students what is required to be a good and productive employee. For the 15th year in a row, Sierra was awarded a WorkAbility 1 grant to support our transition efforts.

Listed below are current/past on campus job opportunities:

  • Sierra Café/Culinary Program
  • Candle Shop
  • Sierra Clothing Line
  • Student Store
  • Gardening
  • Van Crew
  • Janitorial Services
  • Special Events Organizing & Planning

WorkAbility 1 Program

WorkAbility 1 (“WorkAbility”) is a state program that was established in 1981 as a result of a successful two-year pilot study to help special education students gain work experience and skills. Its mission is “to promote the involvement of key stakeholders including students, educators, employers, and other agencies in planning and implementing an array of services that will culminate in successful student transition to employment, lifelong learning, and quality of life.” Sierra Schools began to participate in WorkAbility program in 1997 because of our similar philosophy – taking a holistic approach to educating students, and assessing each one as a whole, helping student reach their goals both on and off the school campus. As part of the WorkAbility Program, each student has a transition binder that is kept in the on-campus transition department. The binder holds a collection of transition-related documents and work that each student can use as a tool and take with them after they leave Sierra and enter the workforce.

What exactly is the WorkAbility all about?

WorkAbility promotes independent living and provides comprehensive pre-employment, employment, worksite training, and follow-up services for special education students who are making the transition from school to work, postsecondary education, or training. Specifically, WorkAbility provides special education students (aged 16–22) with the opportunity to complete their secondary education while also obtaining marketable job skills.

How is WorkAbility funded?

WorkAbility is funded by a federal grant administered by the California State Department of Education.

How does Sierra School personnel offer assistance to the students in the WorkAbility Program?

The school provides the following staffing in the form of a Vocational Education Team (VET) to implement the program: Transition Coordinators, Special Education Teachers and Job Coaches.

What does WorkAbility offer prospective employers?

  • Students who have been screened and prepared for employment
  • Ongoing monitoring provided by Sierra personnel
  • 30–90 hours of training that can be subsidized by Sierra
  • Future trained employees who have proven themselves

What are the advantages to our students?

  • Job development/placement services
  • Support and encouragement from staff
  • Pay for job training
  • Opportunity to gain work experience
  • Assessments of vocational interests and skills

What are the possible outcomes/goals of participating in WorkAbility?

  • Students will obtain competitive employment
  • Students will become successful, productive, and contributing members of the community
  • Students build self-esteem through reinforced positive behavior

Student Success Spotlight