Skills Academy Programming

  • Skills Academy serves K-12 students who have qualified for special education and have an IEP currently in place that states the student has a need for significant specialized instruction in the area of social/emotional regulation. Additionally, students typically accepted in the program are verified as a student with an Emotional Disturbance or Other Health Impairment. A referral must be submitted and accepted in order for a student to transition into the program. The big ideas of the program include: multiple tiers of behavior support, evidence-based/scientifically validated interventions, progress monitoring, treatment integrity, data-based decision making, and collaborative problem solving. The program’s main goal is to help the students build the skills necessary to be successful in order to transition back into the general education classroom. Skills Academy programs are located within the following schools: Dodge Elementary, Westridge Middle School, and the modulars at the Wyandotte Learning Center.

    Qualification Criteria:

    In order to respond to the cognitive behavioral therapy provided by the program, students must have a verbal IQ of 85 or above. Students must also be demonstrating significant dysregulation multiple times a week over several weeks. Significant Dysregulation is defined as: physical aggression, verbal aggression, elopement, or property damage. Additionally, students typically meet at least 2 of the following criteria:

    • Treatment for mental health - documentation of a medical or psychological diagnosis with or without medication, and/or documentation of suicidal ideation
    • External placements (hospitalizations, group homes, shelters, detention facility, foster care, or out of home placement)
    • Receiving outside services (probation, counseling, DHHS, Region 3, Referral to Mid-Plains)

    Student to Staff Ratio: 5:1

    • Ideal Class Size: 5-8 Students
    • Program Capacity: 48 students, or no more than 10 in a classroom.
      • K-5- 2 Teachers, 6 paras, 1 Support Staff person
      • 6-8- 2 Teachers, 4 paras, 1 Support Staff person
      • 9-12- 2 Teachers, 4 paras, 1 Support Staff person
      • 1 Director, 1 secretary and 1 transition person that serves all levels

    Parent engagement is critical to the success of students within the Skills Academy program. Parents are engaged through monthly progress meetings, daily communication through multimedia and copies of the student’s daily behavior chart, and through annual IEP meetings.

    The goal of the Skills Academy program is to help students to gain the skills needed in order to successfully transition back to the general education setting. Students begin to transition to the classroom as determined by collaboration among the educational team that includes Skills Academy staff and the home school staff. Students must work through the three levels of the program (Daily, Weekly, & Natural) in order to be eligible for transition. Transition begins once the student has completed 17 out of 20 days above 90% on the natural level depending on academic schedules and time of the school year. The last 7 days must be consecutively above 90% with no Zero Out Behaviors. The team will consist of: Skills Academy staff (e.g. teacher, counselor, school psychologist, and coordinator), parents, student (if appropriate), and staff from the transition school. Additional transitions may take place as determined appropriate by the IEP team until the student is successful in the least restrictive environment. Once the transition process has started, students who do not maintain their level will be reviewed by the Skills and/or Leadership Team to determine next steps for the student.

    Students will receive a diploma from GIPS and may participate in GISH graduation. Students can earn credits to graduate early. Individual plans will be created to ensure college and career ready students through the use of Accellus & APEX courses as well as outings to visit colleges and visits to different job opportunities throughout the school year. Students in Skills are given the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities at their home schools as this is a federal requirement for all students with disabilities. Access to summer school and after school is considered on an individual basis.