How and What We Teach
We realize that our students come from diverse backgrounds and have unique learning styles or interests. We work diligently to create meaningful, relevant, and engaging activities for our students so that they get the maximum benefit from their education while enrolled at The LEAD Center.
Our curriculum is driven by the Virginia Department of Education’s SOLs and ASOLs as well as the students’ IEP goals. Students receive grade level and ability level work as outlined by their transcripts and IEPs. They participate in a rigorous curriculum and are given needed and documented accommodations to access that curriculum.
The teaching staff at The LEAD Center, Ltd. are trained to utilize a variety of curriculum materials to support learning in the classroom. Teachers are encouraged to use state approved text books and supporting materials, apps on the classroom iPads, on-line resources, hand-on materials, and multi-sensory strategies in the classroom.
We realize that students who require educational services at the Therapeutic Day school level generally do not learn well in large groups. We have staffed our programs and designed our school building around small group instruction. Students participate in learning centers throughout the school day where they receive instruction in groups of 4-6 students. In our elementary level programs we strive for learning groups that are no larger than 3-4 students.
Inside of our learning centers students will be exposed to a multisensory curriculum. We want students to fully engage and fully experience their curriculum. Research has shown that when teachers are able to engage all five senses there is a significant increase in understanding and comprehension. By engaging all five senses we are capturing the students’ attention in their dominant learning style.
Orton-Gillingham Reading Program
At LEAD we understand the statistics behind student reading ability and future outcomes. We also take reading very seriously at LEAD because we know that the ability to read creates infinite possibilities for each individual. In 2013, we adopted Orton-Gillingham as the primary phonics and writing instruction in our programs. Our students receive pre- and post- assessments to determine their level of need.
The LEAD Center currently uses the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education’s (IMSE) method for teaching reading. This program is derived from the foundation of Orton-Gillingham concepts. All LEAD staff receive training from administration that adequately describes the way to teach children how to read using the strategies from IMSE.
More information can be found at their website.
An excerpt from their website:
“Often Orton-Gillingham is interpreted as a methodology only meant for reading remediation; however, the multi-sensory component impacts all children. The uniqueness of this type of instruction is that it allows the educator to capitalize on an individual student’s dominant learning modality while delivering instruction that will strengthen the remaining learning pathways.”
Students in grades K through 5 receive the PALS assessment in the fall and spring. This phonics assessment is used to help determine the areas of strength and weakness for each student and is used to guide instruction in the classroom.
This assessment can also be given to older students who are demonstrating significant deficits in reading.
Evidence Based Teaching Strategies Used at LEAD
- Peer tutoring
- Cooperative Learning/Learning centers
- Reciprocal teaching for reading comprehension
- Multisensory Reading/teaching methods – Orton-Gillingham
- Direct Instruction
In our multiple disabilities program we also use the following:
- Forward chaining
- System of least to most and most to least prompts
- Verbal, modeling, gestural, partial physical, physical, and combinations of all.
- Prompt fading
- Constant and progressive time delays
- Aided Language Modeling (ALM)
- Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
Our strength is in our personnel. They are the biggest part of the success of The LEAD Center. Each one brings passion, commitment to excellence, and life experiences that enhance the student experience at LEAD.
The professional staff at The LEAD Center, Ltd. consists of collegiate and masters level teachers with appropriate endorsements as required by the VA Department of Education. Support staff with college background and considerable experience are assigned to each class and assist with instruction and the implementation of behavioral programs.
Current Staffing Ratios
Lower Elementary – Average staff to student ratio: 1:1 – 1:2
Upper Elementary– Average staff to student ratio: 1:3
Middle School– Average staff to student ratio: 1:4
High School– Average staff to student ratio: 1:4
Intellectual Dis. – Average staff to student ratio: 1:3
Multiple Dis. – Average staff to student ratio: 1:1 – 1:2
All staff are trained to contribute to the program academically and behaviorally. The teacher of record in each program will allocate staff based on the lesson plan and student specific needs. We also have behavioral support and academic support personnel that participate in the classrooms on a daily basis. The three directors also play an active role in the classroom to support students and staff academically and behaviorally.
Enrollments, transitions, and discharges often occur, but the ratios mentioned above are maintained through staff reassignment and hiring new team members.