Program Structure

TGS Core Program

At TGS, our Core Program Daily Schedule reflects thoughtful consideration of the learning needs of our students. We provide a balanced educational program to support students’ academic and social development. Guided by students’ strengths and interests, these two interrelated components create a strong foundation for future study and growth. All components of this program are provided to all full-time enrolled TGS students.

Core Academics

Students meet in classes of 4-8, determined by academic and social-cognitive needs for Science, Math, Social Studies, and Language Arts. Academic classes meet for 45 minutes, Monday-Thursday. Academic instruction is individually planned to accommodate each student’s strengths and challenges. Students are grouped according to ability and courses are designed and modified to meet students’ needs. Opportunities to broaden social understanding and perspective-taking are woven throughout the academic disciplines.

Personal Projects™

Students work on projects related to their area of interest, following a structured format that helps them learn and practice the Executive Function skills of planning, organizing, self-monitoring, and presenting a long-term project. Approximately every 7 weeks, students present their Personal Projects to the entire TGS community. Personal Projects™ was developed by, and currently in use at Orion Academy, a college-preparatory high school for students with Asperger’s and Nonverbal Learning Disorder.

Phoenix Period

As part of their daily schedule, each student has one Phoenix Period. This time is set aside for students, under the direction of a TGS faculty member, to plan and complete meaningful tasks. Phoenix Period is a flexible time which may include structured activities, planning for or working on assignments, consulting with individual teachers or meeting with support staff.

Real World 101

Real World 101 provides students with opportunities to identify and practice “real world” skills, at TGS and out in the community. Weekly topics and groupings will vary based on student support needs, demonstrated knowledge of topics, and issues presenting in the school environment.  Topics will include personal hygiene, managing money, cooking, planning and executing outings, dating and relationships, sexual education, maintaining an organized work environment, and more.

An important foundation for Real World 101 will be instruction and practice in self-regulation strategies as needed. As students increase their ability to regulate their behavior and demonstrate socially adaptive responses, they will be presented with more opportunities for “real world” outings.

Jobs Program

Students at TGS contribute to the upkeep of the community learning environment by participating in the TGS Jobs Program. In addition, these jobs develop important life skills that prepare them for independence in the community. Some skills developed in the Jobs program will be useful to students who plan to attend college, and all will be necessary for independent living or co-housing situations.


Perspectives, TGS’ social-communication program, provides the foundation for a school-wide shared language and culture of social understanding. Perspectives is offered weekly in collaboration with Amy Thrasher, clinical assistant professor at the University of Colorado’s Speech, Language and Hearing Center. The program integrates executive function with perspective-taking to provide students with strategies to help them respond adaptively in dynamic social situations.

Consultation, Groups & Advising

Consultation Groups meet twice each week. Activities may include participating in behavioral, counseling, or academic support groups, or receiving homework support as needed. High school students will also receive college counseling and guidance for post-secondary transitions during this period.

Additional Support Programs

The following additional support programs are offered, as space is available, for an additional fee. Program enrollment is generally for a full year, and will be reevaluated at regular intervals to determine the student’s next year’s placement needs.

Behavior Support Program (BSP)

The goal of TGS’ Behavior Support Program is to teach students the skills and strategies they need to be successful, independent learners in TGS’ socio-academic environment. The program maximizes each individual’s developmental potential while improving functioning at home, school, and in the community. Students enrolled in this program receive support to develop and consistently use appropriate social skills and coping strategies to build relationships with peers. The Behavior Support Program helps students develop a sense of ownership over their behavior, and teaches specific self-management skills related to problem solving, appropriate boundaries, emotion regulation, and impulse control.

The BSP program provides the additional support needed to address the behaviors below:

  • personal space violations,
  • excessive interruptions during class,
  • physical and emotional regulation challenges,
  • extremely low frustration tolerance,
  • frequent technology misuse and/or internet addiction,
  • anger management,
  • frequent verbal or behavioral refusal to follow teacher instructions,
  • frequent work avoidance due to anxiety, and
  • need for significant adult support in order to engage in academic work.

Students who consistently demonstrate 3 or more of the above (or similar) behaviors may be candidates for the Behavioral Support Program. Recommendation for enrollment in the BSP will be based on a comprehensive review by TGS’ Support Team, including, but not limited to:

  1. Past and current diagnostic evaluations and reports;
  2. Behavioral concerns indicated by the BRIEF, BASC-2, and any other rating scales submitted during the admissions process;
  3. Past and current school performance and reports of classroom behavior;
  4. Parent and teacher input obtained from the TGS Program Placement Request form.

All BSP placement decisions are final. Students with a documented need for Behavioral Support will be required to enroll in the BSP in order to attend TGS. In order to provide adequate staffing and support for all TGS students, a limited number of BSP slots are available each year.

TGS’ Behavioral Support program is directed by a certified BCBA, with limited in-house psychological services provided by licensed professionals.

Counseling Support Program (CSP)

The Counseling Support Program is intended for students who require and benefit from additional time with support staff in order to sort through social concerns, address feelings or anxieties, and to develop adaptive coping strategies. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy support is used to target adaptive thought patterns, and reduce negative ‘feedback loop’ or black-and-white thinking patterns. Play therapy may be offered in some cases in order to build rapport, allow for role-play in social pragmatics and to build creative coping strategies in a non-threatening therapy setting. Students with diagnosed anxiety, or who require additional emotional support to function independently in the TGS environment, may be recommended for the CSP program.

The support provided by the Counseling Support program is intended to be specific to school situations, in order to address typical school stressors and social concerns. More intensive therapeutic support for family or other out-of-school issues, serious psychiatric issues and for threats to self or others will be referred to an outside therapist.

Academic Intervention Program (AIP)

The Academic Intervention Program is available for students who need intensive, individualized academic support in order to be successful in TGS’ Core Program. Students may enroll in the Academic Intervention Program for up to two subjects.  Students enrolled in the Academic Intervention Program follow a typical daily schedule and receive academic support during the targeted academic class (e.g. Language Arts or Math) and/or during the student’s Phoenix period.

Enrollment in the Academic Intervention Program is required for students with a documented learning disability in math, reading, and/or writing, or students who are up to two grade levels behind in 1-2 academic subjects. Temple Grandin School is not able to accommodate students who are 2 grade levels behind in more than 2 subject areas.

The Academic Intervention Program provides the following additional services:

  • Targeted, frequent assessment to guide intervention
  • 1:1 instruction with frequent, individualized positive feedback for performance to target low self-esteem related to past academic problems.
  • Academic progress monitoring updates for enrolled subjects in addition to regular grade reports
  • Interventionists will participate in all family conferences
  • Comprehensive Academic Intervention progress report at the end of each school year