Hallmarks of our program include: small class sizes of 8–10 students; industry-high staff-to-student ratios; board-certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) on staff; integrated technology in every classroom; and implementation of the latest research-based methodologies and modalities, like discrete trial training. BEST Academy also utilizes Catalyst, an online platform for data collection that allows to closely monitor the behavioral and academic progress of each student. Complementing our time-proven, comprehensive education model, we offer the full range of school experiences, including recreation, art, music, clubs, seasonal activities, and field trips.
Students are referred by their school district to attend High Road School. Our students are generally in grades K–12 (aged 5 to 21). Our student populations face disabilities in a variety of areas, including Autism, Intellectual Disability, Speech/Language Disabilities, Other Health Impairments, and more.
We are proud to employ certified special education teachers, staff trained in crisis intervention, a full-time Speech and Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Social Work. All of our paraprofessionals are Registered Behavior Technicians.
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.
BEST Academy helps students make the most of learning opportunities by employing certified specialists to give each student additional support as needed.
Our Speech & Language Therapy Program features a coordinated and individualized approach. In group work as well as in individual sessions, our certified speech therapists work with students to correctly produce the sounds in words, increase speech intelligibility, develop vocabulary knowledge and understanding, and utilize appropriate conversational skills. Emphasis is placed on pragmatics, such as turn taking, topic maintenance, asking appropriate questions, and socialization. Grammar, syntax, and written expression are also addressed. Our Speech Language Pathologists also assist with AAC devices, such as iPads, that utilize communication software for our non-verbal students.
Our occupational therapists support students with sensory, perceptual, and motor problems in better meeting the daily demands of their environment. OTs use directed play as the primary method of treatment; however, classroom consultation directly with teachers and assistants regarding the student’s abilities is also key to their success. Directed play includes such activities as mazes and target games to develop hand-eye coordination and ball games to increase coordination between two sides of the body. Through the use of movement, touch, and other functional activities, the student more effectively develops the responses needed to function in the classroom, home, and community environments. As the child ages and his or her needs change, the focus is on the acquisition of specific skills used in daily life. These can include learning to measure baking ingredients, personal care, or crossing busy streets, depending on the student’s abilities.
Our social workers guide students through emotional and social growth issues. They focuses on helping the student develop age-appropriate skills and behaviors for the classroom and beyond. Through the use of recreational and other activities, they assist students in building self-esteem, applying social skills, and practicing leadership and team participation. The students are seen individually and in small-group sessions. It is also not unusual to find social workers in the classroom leading social skills activities. Our social workers also work with families to assist in gaining resources, such as accessing the Department of Disability Services and helping them through the Guardianship process if needed.
The primary function of our BCBA staff is to conduct descriptive and systematic behavioral assessments, conduct functional behavioral analysis (FBA), analyze data, and provide behavior analytic explanation of the data and results. The BCBA also designs and supervises behavior intervention plans (BIPS) for their students, and revises these interventions when a student has shown limited progress or mastery on their behavioral goals and objectives in their IEP.
A consulting psychologist and behaviorist are also available on an as-needed basis.
At BEST Academy, all related services personnel work closely with classroom teachers to assure integration of learned skills into all classroom activities. All related service staff members are available to collaborate and meet with families to assist with carryover of interventions into the home and community as well.
Our Transitional Program focuses on students aged 18-21. This program focuses on functional academics, community safety, ability to communicate in the community and employment experiences. We have several community relationships, including Staples, 99 House, Goodwill, Fosdicks and Masters Manna. Prior to graduating from the Transition Program, our team utilizes formal and informal assessments to determine areas of career interests. We also work to identify appropriate adult service program through visits, communication and collaboration. A concrete long-term plan is in place prior to a student leaving BEST Academy. Our Transitional Team collaborates closely with the Department of Disability Services, the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services and the student’s family throughout the long-term planning process.