Yesterday, I visited and toured the Switzer Learning Center, a Nonpublic School (NPS) (for more about NPS placements - read our previous blog post from April 2009) in Torrance, California. Switzer if a specialized school for students grades 3 through 12 with learning disabilities, emotional disabilities, attention deficit disorders and behavioral disorders. It is an extremely small school, with currently around 92 students total.
Overview of the Program:
Switzer incorporates a clinical treatment program and behavior management throughout the school program. All students at all grade levels are on a behavior program that is based on reinforcement for positive behaviors, meaning that the students earn points for appropriate behaviors in each period of the school day. Additionally, the school keeps data on both negative or inappropriate behaviors and positive or "involvement" behaviors for every student, and utilizes a computer program to track progress and compare the student to the overall population of the school. The clinical treatment component also includes DIS counseling services for all students on a weekly basis, and availability of the counselors in the moment on an as needed basis.
There is one elementary school classroom, with students ranging from third through sixth grade, and one middle school class, with students from sixth through eighth grade. The high school classrooms are separate from the lower grade levels. The high school program includes six periods per day with the students changing classes and teachers for each class, similar to a traditional high school schedule. High school students can also be dually enrolled, either in a public high school in their home district, at the Southern California Regional Occupational Center (SCROC) in Torrance.
Other Things to Note:
Switzer is a good option for students who have behavior difficulties related to their disability.
It provides modified and individualized instruction within grade level curriculum standards, and also utilizes a specialized reading program, SRA-reading, to provide specialized intervention.
The behavior system is very positive and seems to be implemented consistently.
Switzer offers a diploma-bound curriculum, but does not provide the necessary classes and credits for a student to go straight into a 4-year university.
For more information about Switzer, visit their site directly at www.switzercenter.org. We can also help you with specific information about Non Public School placements.