A Place for All Learners
Prospect Academy was founded by local community members, parents, and educators who have a passion for providing public options for students in all front range districts, especially students who come from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. Our focus is serving students with level 1 and 2 autism, dyslexia, ADHD, and similar learning profiles, as well as struggling learners without diagnoses.
Prospect is uniquely set-up to serve students with autism. We believe in the incredible potential and talents of all students regardless of diagnosis or disability. We know that the language around disabilities can create limitations for some practitioners and teachers, and we exist to break down those walls.
Direct instruction provides clear language and processes to teach different tasks, content, and skills. Practice is individualized and daily, and there is a strong focus on the development of language and communication skills for all students, which also benefits students with an autism diagnosis. Students are grouped by skills progress in different areas, providing efficient instruction in each subject and allowing for students with disparate skills to still get what they need. Our social emotional curriculum is focused on increasing psychological flexibility, which is an important skill to develop.
Aspects of Prospect that are beneficial for autistic students:
Direct lessons in social-emotional skills through AIM (Accept, Identify, Move), based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Application of Social-Emotional lessons to different contexts, providing authentic practice
Student-centered instructional design, individualizing instruction
Student ownership over data and next steps, empowering students
Daily cooperative learning in each class, providing practice of social skills
Multiple opportunities for different types of responding, individualizing educational programming
High expectations, direct teaching of expectations, and support for success with expectations, providing strong behavioral support
Growth mindset, belief in all students regardless of diagnosis, helping students reach their potential
Executive function skills taught and supported in each class; supporting development of independence
Blocks of learning in each class are consistent and predictable, supporting calm and reducing anxiety
Will you follow IEPs or 504 plans already in existence?
Yes, Prospect is a free, public charter school and therefore is legally bound to a student’s IEP or 504 plan as written. However, given that Prospect’s model is unique and everything we do is tailored to meet the needs of neurodiverse students, we will likely modify IEPs and 504 plans so that they are more consistent with our programming. In most cases, students will be getting more specialized services, not fewer, and family (including the student) is always part of the IEP team.
Will you group kids by diagnosis?
No, students will not be grouped by diagnosis. This is because a diagnosis is a label used to describe a set of behaviors or actions, including academic skills (at Prospect, we define the word “behavior” a little differently than you are used to - behavior means any action on the environment - so to us, the term “reading” refers to a set of behaviors). Not all students with the same diagnosis will exhibit the same set of behaviors. Therefore, for the most effective instruction, we will group students by the skills they show in the different subject areas - math, reading, and writing. Other classes will be grouped in different ways, but the main content areas will have flexible, skills-based groupings. We anticipate groups will change based on the pace of learning for some students.