Supportive Learning Environment
Esperanza’s team consists of special education teachers, paraprofessionals, clinicians, and much more. With a 3:1 ratio in each classroom, we individualize learning so each student achieves success.
Our Classrooms and Teams
Esperanza School consists of 6-7 classrooms with a maximum of 10 students per classroom. Each classroom is staffed with:
- Certified Special Education Teacher
- Behavior Technician
- 2-4 Paraprofessionals, depending on the needs of the students in the classroom
The classroom team is further supported by:
- Crisis management team
- Clinical team: social workers, speech pathologists, nurse, occupational therapists
- School administration: Principal, Assistant Director of School Programs, Board Certified Behavior Analysts, Instructional Specialist, and Transition Specialist
Our special education teachers work to provide a high quality learning program for students through the uses of several curricular materials. Teachers use the Unique Learning System, a program designed to meet the needs of students with autism and intellectual disabilities. The Unique Learning System is designed with strong visual support and is tiered across three levels so students at any level can participate.
Additionally, for students who qualify, Esperanza special education teachers use the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System for reading in order to gain an understanding of student fluency in reading and comprehension. This school year, special education teachers will also be using the Ready Math system for students who qualify. The Ready Math system is a mathematics curriculum that focuses on creative problem solving through mathematics.
All related services are driven by each student’s individualized needs and are determined by the IEP team. Related services are integrated into the classrooms at Esperanza as well as provided in small groups and through individual therapy sessions. Related services at Esperanza include:
- Speech & Language Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Social Work
Esperanza School’s Behavior Program, led by Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) utilizing the methods of ABA to:
- Decrease students’ maladaptive behaviors that prevent students’ learning
- Increase appropriate behaviors
- Teach new skills to support students in becoming more independent
ABA is a science dedicated to the understanding and improvement of human behavior. Behavior analyst focus on defining behaviors of social significance by helping us to understanding:
- How behavior works
- How behavior is affected by the environment
- How learning takes place
ABA focuses on skill acquisition which occurs when a behavior analyst is teaching a new, functionally related alternative behavior (to replace an undesired behavior) or to teach academic, self-care, motor, social skills etc.
ABA can help:
- Increase language and functional communication
- Improve attention, focus, social skills, memory, and academics
- Decrease challenging behaviors to impact learning
In other words, ABA looks at how we can arrange the environment to promote learning that is individualized to the learner and increase their independence across a variety of activities and settings. We use specific strategies to teach and promote socially-significant and lasting behavior change through repetition, increased opportunities, prompting, errorless learning, and natural environment training/incidental teaching.
Our Behavior Team utilizes many ABA techniques to support our students. This flexible therapy is adapted to meet the needs of each of our students, so they learn skills that are useful in everyday life. Because of our small setting, our ABA therapy involves one-to-one teaching or small group instruction. These services are supported by our entire team of not only Behavior Technicians and our BCBA, but our Special Education Teachers and Clinicians, as well.
Techniques used in the classroom include, but are not limited to:
- Positive reinforcement: the delivery of a consequence (i.e., preferred activity, praise) following a targeted response
- Prompting: cues that can be physical, gestural or vocal
- Fading: lessening restrictiveness of cues
- Shaping: reinforcing some approximations (resembles the desired behavior or takes person closer to the desired behavior) of the target behavior
- Modeling: demonstrating a skill
- Task Analysis: breakdown of all steps in a task
Professional Crisis Management
Professional Crisis Management (PCM) is a world-wide crisis management system, and is a necessary and effective component of Esperanza’s educational and ABA program. This system is designed to give the care and attention to individuals that helps to avoid crises, manage crisis situations effectively and safely when they do occur.
Crisis situations include, but are not limited to:
- Continuous aggression toward others, self, or property/objects
- Repeated elopement from the school or classroom
- Inappropriate sexual behaviors, such as stripping or groping
PCM utilizes four strategies. Our staff is PCM certified to implement the strategies below.
Prevention strategies, including positive promotion of feelings and productive behaviors
De-escalation strategies, including non-physical management of pre-crisis feelings and behaviors
Intervention strategies, including physical management and restraint in event of crisis
Post-crisis strategies, including reintegration of the student into the classroom and routine