The Phillips Academy offers a consistently positive environment, highly individualized and personalized educational program and a dedicated, well-trained staff, all of which make it possible for our students to achieve progress. By blending data-based therapeutic interventions with sincere care and concern for each individual child, The Phillips Academy has created a unique nurturing community where all children can learn and grow. When surveyed, 94% of our students stated that they felt safe at school and 82% stated that they felt sure that staff cared about them.
Class Size and Staffing: The Academy offers both Middle and High School Programs. There are two middle school classrooms and four high school classrooms for a student body of approximately 65-70 students. Homeroom class sizes range from 8 to 13 and are staffed with a credentialed special education teacher and one to two teaching assistants. Instructional groups may be as small as 2-3 students and do not exceed 12 students.
Curriculum: The curriculum employed at the The Phillips Academy, for the most part, is aligned with that of the Alameda Unified School District for the core subjects of English, Math, Science and Social Studies. In this way, students maintain access to the general education curriculum and state standards. Given the special needs of our student body and their specific IEP goals in reading and math, specialized instructional strategies and curriculum are also employed to build those skills.
Instructional Strategies: Teachers at the Phillips Academy employ the Understanding by Design model of unit and lesson planning to ensure that students see the relevance of what they are learning and are able to apply their knowledge to real world problems. Students are engaged in their learning through the use of cooperative learning tasks, technology, project-based learning and brain-based teaching strategies. Instruction is differentiated to provide the right level of challenge for each student. Students not only receive information using a variety of modalities, but are also given the opportunity to express their knowledge in a variety of ways.
Specialized Services: Students may receive speech and language services to address needs in pragmatic language and social skills, as well as other language based challenges. Occupational therapists provide services to assist students with sensory processing and sensory-integration needs. Assistive technology services such as Bookshare, and word prediction and voice recognition software are also available for students who need these supports to access the educational material and express their knowledge. In addition to individual and group services, specialists also provide consultation to classroom teachers.
Therapeutic Program: Mental health services are provided to students as indicated on their IEP. Our therapists work closely with the classroom staff to provide an integrated service and to promote the generalization of skills learned in the therapy sessions to the natural environment. In addition, our support staff, which include our Dean of Student Affairs and our Head of Student Support Services, provide much guidance and in the moment prompting and support for students. With this support, students can engage in daily practice of self-regulation and coping skills, and can maximize their opportunities to access their education.
Transition: If a student is ready to transition to the public schools, the IEP team meets to identify potential public school classrooms, which The Phillips Academy staff and parent/s visit. Students are often able to return to comprehensive high schools after 2-3 years in the program. For other students, the safety and support provided by TPA's program is indicated, and the completion of their education and the attainment of a diploma or certificate of completion at TPA is deemed the most appropriate option by the IEP team.