The special education program provides a continuum of services to students' age's three to twenty two.
A specially designed preschool program for 3 - 5 year olds that includes half the class as typically developing peers and half as those identified with special needs. There are three half-day sessions that run four days a week. The morning session is specifically designed for three and early four year olds while the afternoon session is designed for four and five year olds. Each classroom is made up of a teacher and two assistants with the curriculum focusing on developmentally appropriate activities that are based on the work and play of the students. Speech therapists, occupational therapists and physical therapist round out the program by providing small group and class work for both typically developing peers and those identified with special needs.
Many of our grade levels have an inclusive setting for students who are identified with special needs and can work with the general curriculum. Our inclusive setting comprises of a team - taught approach with two teachers assigned to the grade level or classroom. This may be a combination of two regular education teachers or a regular education teacher and a special education; the latter found most often in the elementary setting. Classes are made up a heterogeneous group of students with a designated number of special needs students as well. Class sizes are kept to a minimum to allow for more individualization and modification of the curriculum when needed.
For those students who require more of a small group instruction setting, yet still working with the general curriculum at some level, Orange schools has several resource rooms. Students work with a teacher using a variety of methodologies in order to access the general curriculum at their own pace and level which may not be equal to their peers. Class size ranges from 6 - 12 students at anyone time at the elementary and middle schools and up to 16 students at the high school.
For those students who require more support and for an extended period of the day, there are a number of specially designed resource programs to fit the students needs. These programs can range from working with students on life skills and functional curricular issues to those who need more emotional and behavioral support. Each program is specially designed to meet the needs of the students. Services might include the use of social workers, mental health specialists, classroom assistants, multiple therapists, or psychologists. In addition several different methodologies may be incorporated into each classroom depending on the needs of the population. The general curriculum along with other programming options is included in these resource rooms.
Several years ago, Orange and several other local school districts formed a number of consortium programs to meet the needs of specific individual students. Beachwood works specifically with hearing-impaired students with a manual communication program. Mayfield schools provide the hearing-impaired program that focuses on oral language as well as a number of multi-handicapped programs. Guerney Elementary (Chagrin Falls) has a self-contained cross categorical program for grades K-4, Brady Middle School (Orange) provides the cross categorical program for grades 5-8, and Solon High School (Solon) provides the cross categorical program for grades 9-12.
Once students come to the high school level, there is an option of choosing some vocational programming if it meets the needs of the students. Orange schools work closely with the Mayfield Excel Tech program, CVEC (Cuyahoga Vocational Education Consortium), and the High School/High Tech program. Each of these vocational programs enhances the student's ability to continue with their education after high school or to enter the world of work and become functioning citizens within our community. A transition to work coordinator, along with the student's special education teacher, parents and a host of other professionals design the program to meet the maximum potential of every student. Student graduate from Orange High School as well as their vocational program and then go on to pursue further opportunities.
Orange has a number of speech language therapists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists that work with students across each building and dependant on the individual needs of the students. In addition each school has it's own psychologist that works with students as well as assesses the unique needs of the students who have been identified as having special needs. In addition Orange also works in conjunction with the Therapeutic Riding Center, Beechbrook, and variety of other programs to provide different types of therapies to those who have need.