Small classes with supportive teachers
The average class size at TGS is four to eight students. In addition to subject matter knowledge, our regular teachers have knowledge of, experience with and love of Asperger’s Syndrome students. They are committed to understanding and supporting each student in reaching his or her potential. TGS teachers participate regularly in professional development to learn and practice effective teaching strategies for our unique students. They are available and accessible, and strive to be wise mentors to TGS students in all aspects of the TGS program.
Challenging academic curriculum
At TGS, there are no limits to what students can learn—especially in their areas of strength and interest. We help students tap into professional and academic resources in the community to extend their learning beyond a traditional high school program. Our 4+1 learning program offers four days of focused academic content in the classroom combined with one Plus 1 day of creative arts, individualized enrichment, mentoring, or service learning.
TGS teachers admire and respect their students’ academic strengths, and our small classes provide the impetus for rapid individual growth by each student. Stimulating classroom discussions promote the process of learning, which we believe involves questioning, exploring and hypothesizing.
TGS utilizes the Orion Academy Personal Projects program to allow students to translate what they have learned into a polished presentation. This detailed and carefully constructed process, developed over Orion’s 12 years of working with students with Asperger’s Syndrome, allows the opportunity for advanced study and exploration of topics that expand breadth of learning while developing executive function skills that will allow them to plan, organize, and successfully complete a long-term project.
High School Graduation Requirements (click on link for pdf list) : TGS’ graduation requirements are, in essence, “what you need in order to move on to your next stage in life.” The list linked above is a good list for most college bound students who begin their education at TGS at the beginning of HS or before. Our focus on the students’ specific needs may require flexibility here as in other areas. If you are headed for Stanford, we will enable your preparation for Stanford. It is this nimbleness that makes TGS the right place for our many bright, capable, challenged students.
Integrated social skills support
At TGS, students learn in a close-knit community with planned and spontaneous opportunities to relax, play, and interact with each other. Appropriate social-communication, social-emotional teaching, and life skills are woven throughout each student’s program as needed. Our school-wide social skills program focuses on the core challenges of Asperger’s Syndrome, and builds students’ interpersonal, technology, and workplace skills so they can lead fully independent, socially engaged adult lives.
Real-world learning experiences
Real-world learning is at the heart of the TGS program. As Temple Grandin herself learned, people with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome or social anxiety must be extremely talented in their vocations to make up for the challenges they experience with social skills. TGS uses it’s Real World 101 class to address head-on the issues and complexities of navigating our world and culture from the perspective of both the world, and our students. The 4 + 1 scheduling at TGS provides a full day for students to interface with the community (see our Plus One Program). In addition to developing and practicing their talents, students gain valuable interpersonal skills as they are supported in planning and implementing their out-of-classroom experiences.
Personalized learning to support individual passions
TGS staff help students plan a challenging course of study that will stretch their thinking, and provide the academic and social supports they need to reach their goals. We help students identify their goals, and plan their educational experience with the end goal in mind. Because TGS teachers know and respect students’ passions, they can use these to build students’ motivation for academic work. With patience, creativity, and collaboration, almost any passion can fuel student learning!
Strength-based approach to special education support
At TGS, we respect the strengths of our students and their families. We recognize that each student is unique, and invite parents to take an active role as we work together to create an educational plan that accurately addresses their child’s strengths and support needs. Our support services include training in self-awareness to help students understand their unique expression of strengths and challenges as it relates to Asperger’s Syndrome or another diagnosis. Through self-understanding, students learn to advocate for themselves and are able to set realistic goals for their future schooling and work experiences.
Sensory Processing and Self Regulation Support
Acknowledging that students with Asperger’s syndrome and other neuro-cognitive differences often experience challenges with sensory processing and self-regulation, TGS works with parents and students to provide support and programming to address this need. Daily experiences are used as learning opportunities for students who, as they increase their self-awareness and acquire strategies that work for them, are prepared for future success.