Sierra School of East Valley
Sierra School of School of East Valley is a new Nonpublic School located in Colton, CA. We are excited to announce we are now enrolling students for the 2022-2023 school year.
Sierra School of East Valley’s programming is designed to meet the unique academic and social emotional learning needs of each individual student. All students are encouraged, nurtured, respected, and supported in achieving their full potential in an enriching, positive environment. Students are placed in an appropriate classroom conducive to their learning style and needs.
The school program offers a continuum of services and supports which include:
- Small Class Size
- High Staff to Student Ratio
- Specialized Academic Instruction (Individual/Group)
- Occupational Therapy & Sensory Integration
- Speech & Language Therapy
- Social Skills Training
- Counseling Service
- Life Skills Training
- Classroom & Schoolwide Behavior Supports
Behavior Management is an integral part of our school’s programming that ensures a safe learning environment. All students’ behavior supports and services are reviewed and implemented in accordance with their IEPs. Our school team will be provided with Crisis Intervention trainings, de-escalation techniques and Behavior Intervention supports and resources.
- 1325 E. Cooley Dr. Colton, CA 92324
2nd floor, entrance in back of building
Meet the Team
Karla Rodriguez, School Counselor
Karla Rodriguez is a recent graduate from California State University, San Bernardino and received her Master’s in Guidance and Counseling with a PPS credential. She has experience in working with Special Education children ages 3-18 years old, in the school and clinical setting. She looks forward to supporting students in their school and life goals by applying counseling techniques with the mindfulness approach when listening to them. During her free time, she enjoys being at the river or beach, doing yoga and spending time with her loved ones. She hopes to continue growing as a person and a School Counselor and is happy to be part of the team at Sierra School of East valley.
Darlene Velador, ACI (Mild/Mod) HS Teacher
Darlene Velador devotes her time and attention towards her students and works in guiding them towards a direction where they are able to overcome their obstacles, no matter how difficult they may be. She was born in Los Angeles, CA and raised in Nayarit, Mexico. She graduated from California State University, San Bernardino in 2020 with a B.A. in Psychology. She is currently enrolled at the University of the Pacific working on her Masters and obtaining a Teaching Credential in Special Education. She began working at Sierra School of East Valley when it first opened its doors in 2019 as a Teacher Assistant. In 2022, she transitioned as a Teacher in the High School ACI class.
Andrew Elliot, ACI (Mild/Mod) MS Teacher
Andrew Elliott is a longtime Riverside resident and is happy to be part of the Sierra School of East Valley. He has a Master’s Degree in Education and an Education Specialist credential (Mild to Moderate) from Azusa Pacific University. He has over ten years of experience in Teaching Special Education. Andrew believes that fun, games, and art are integral to increasing learning in students, and that there are no limits to what his students can do. He has been married 21 years and has two sons, ages 19 and 24. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing guitar, and golf.
Amber Withey, BEST (Mod/Severe) MS/HS Teacher
Nancy Landaverde, BCBA
Jessica Huang, OT
Ruben Medrano, Administrator
Sierra School of East Valley serves students grades K-12+. Our school offers a continuum of academic and social-emotional services for students with disabilities that include but are not limited to: Autism, Intellectual Disability, Emotional Disability, Other Health Impairments, and Multiple Disabilities. Referrals are made by school districts.
We are proud to employ highly qualified staff who are trained in our Academic Rotational and B.E.S.T. Models, as well as positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) strategies. Our staff includes certified Special Education Teachers, a Therapist, a Behavior Specialist and Assistant Teachers.
Utilizing four specific instructional rotations, students are assessed academically, gain self-regulation skills, learn with district-aligned academic curriculums, and utilize integrated technology.
Sierra’s goal is to build the confidence and competence of children facing learning, language, and social challenges through personalized academic interventions. Sierra is committed to achieving success with each student even in the face of obstacles, challenges, and excuses. The program is geared toward preparing youth to become responsible adults who are able to participate in their communities and lead self-fulfilling lives. We aim to build each student’s skills and self-esteem to a level that allows them to return to a mainstream school and become fully functioning members of society. In order to achieve this, Sierra has developed school-wide learning objectives. We help Sierra students to be:
Healthy individuals who:
- Effectively maintain appropriate peer relationships
- Take responsibility for their own physical and emotional heath
Demonstrate healthy life choices
Technologically literate individuals who:
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of various computer programs
- Utilize a variety of current technology tools
- Demonstrate awareness of assistive devices that will allow them to better access academic curriculums
Independent individuals who:
- Develop strategies to set specific and attainable goals
- Set priorities and manage time effectively
- Develop a plan for the future
- Develop their ability to have acceptable work habits
Academically competent individuals who:
- Read, write, and speak effectively
- Practice learned strategies to effectively problem solve
- Complete assignments, display organizational skills, and practice study skills
- Access and apply learned information and utilize notes on assigned curriculums
This Mission Is Accomplished By:
- Participation in community-based instruction.
- Receiving specialized education instruction, training, and support.
- Learning competency-based functional skills for continued development in daily living, personal social, and career preparation skills.
- Taking part in career exploration and development.
Three Tiers of Transition Services:
Tier One: In Classroom Independent Living and Job Training:
- Classroom janitorial services.
- Meal preparation and distribution.
- Daily classroom chores.
- Functional activities- resume, cover-letter, budgeting, sample applications and post education research.
Tier Two: On Campus Job Coaching:
Our students work with local community partners that provides job coaching in the janitorial industry on our school campus.
- Vehicle maintenance and cleaning.
- Mopping, sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning windows.
- Restroom maintenance.
- Trash disposal- classrooms, front office, transition office and counseling office.
- Customer service- Delivering snack shack, greeting staff and students at Holiday events.
Tier Three: Off-Campus Job Experiences:
For those students who are 15 ½ years old or older, on level, have a 2.0 grade point average, and have completed the two previous tiers, are eligible for job training at an off-site business. Students are accompanied by a job coach from Sierra School. Students work an average of 4 hours a week and will collect bi-monthly paychecks. Students in this program are held accountable for their behaviors, dress code, attendance, and professional communication. Failure in these areas of competencies will reflect in their ability to work.
Founded in behavioral science, SESI’s CASE (Considerate, Accountable, Safe, Engaged) approach uses a multi-tiered, positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS)* framework to increase socially appropriate behaviors for all students in our standalone schools and in-district classrooms, regardless of their behavioral needs. We define what it means to be considerate, accountable, safe, and engaged across all settings, and use these expectations to guide all aspects of behavioral support.
Students and staff are considerate of their environment, themselves, and each other. Everyone is treated with kindness, patience, and respect.
Students and staff are accountable for their actions and own their behaviors by taking responsibility for their decisions.
Students and staff are safe and engage in behaviors that keep themselves and others secure and calm.
Students and staff stay engaged and complete tasks and activities when asked. Everyone takes pride in their work and gives their best effort.
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 activities, and links to support services. Specific examples include but are not limited to: field trips, guest speakers, independent living skills instruction, cooking, budgeting, college tours, and much more! After being in our Work Experience Program, our graduating seniors leave with a transition portfolio, encompassing all of their successes in this program.
One of our students’ favorite activities, 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 14th year in a row, Sierra was awarded a WorkAbility 1 grant to support our transition efforts.
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 School 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 Guidance Center. 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 Coordinator, Transition Assistant, Curriculum Coordinator, Guidance Counselor, Specialist 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
Listed below are current and past employer partnerships with Sierra School:
- Sea World
- Original Pancake House
- Foot Locker
- Einstein Bagels
- Jo-Ann Fabrics
- Mission Trails Park and Recreation
Our PALS (Partial Academic and Life Skills) model is an individualized hybrid of our Academic Rotation model and our BEST (Broad-Based Educational Services and Therapies) model. Students in this model receive customized instruction and programming based on their individual needs. For example, some students focus more on academic instruction, while others may require more intensive BEST programming involving life and social skills. Depending on their assessments and individual needs, students will always receive a combination of both models within a PALS learning environment.