Sierra School of Sonoma County2024-01-31T12:25:38-05:00

Sierra School of Sonoma County

Sierra School of Sonoma County is a Non-Public special education school that provides services to students with academic and behavioral challenges in Sonoma, Marin and Mendocino counties. We work in partnership with local school districts to educate students who are not experiencing success in the general education setting. Our structured program creates predictability for the students while allowing for the flexibility that is required to meet each of their unique learning needs. Our goal is to strengthen each of these students’ skills to the point they may successfully re-enter their mainstream environment. For some students that may mean a return to their public school of residence, while for others it may mean earning a high school diploma and obtaining gainful employment.

View our School Accountability Report Card (SARC)

  • (P) 707.861.4900
  • 3273 Airway Drive
    Suite D
    Santa Rosa, CA, 95403
Home > Our Locations > Sierra Schools of California > Sierra School of Sonoma County

Our Students

Students are referred by their school district to attend Sierra School and are generally in grades K–12 (aged 5 to 22). They face disabilities in a variety of areas, including Emotional Disturbance (ED), Specific Learning Disability (SLD), Other Health Impairment (OHI), and more.

Our Staff

We are proud to employ certified special education teachers, licensed therapists, MFT/ASW interns, licensed Speech and Language Pathologist, and Behavior Specialist.

Sierra School expertly provides that attention in the form of custom-designed academic programs tailored to their aptitudes and goals, a structured behavioral management system that motivates students to behave responsibly and respectfully toward themselves and others, and a caring, nurturing environment in which these students can strengthen academic abilities, develop social skills, and cultivate proper behaviors.

Our primary goal is to expedite the transition of students back to the public school system and into mainstream society, so we focus our efforts on building competence and confidence in each of them, as well as preparing them for fruitful and fulfilling futures through vocational training and life skills instruction.

Many components contribute to the remarkable results we’ve been able to achieve since opening our doors years ago, but we’re most proud of our effective comprehensive programs, our team approach to special education, the value we place on encouraging family involvement, and most of all, our tireless commitment to making sure that each child entrusted to our care is given every opportunity possible to reap the rewards of personal success—in the classroom, at home, and in the community.

Our program is known for working with students that many other Sonoma County Non-Public Schools will not accept. Our individualized academic model and willingness to allow experiences of specific interests helps us to reach a challenging behavioral demographic.

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.

School-wide Student Learning Outcomes

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 the following expected school-wide learning results. Sierra students will 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
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

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