Non-Public School Educational Program
Nelly Chavez, M.A. – Director of Special Education
Carousel is certified by the California State Department of Education, and meets or exceeds all state program requirements. Carousel is open year-round, offering an After-School Socialization Program during the summer, winter, and spring breaks. Saturday Camp is also available.
Designated Instructional Services (DIS)
Carousel offers Speech & Language Therapy, Occupational and Physical Therapy, Specially-Designed Physical Education, Behavior Intervention, and Counseling. Our therapy services provide personalized programs tailored to meet each individual child’s needs.
Carousel School offers a comprehensive educational program and provides services for children and their families challenged by a wide range of learning, developmental, and emotional disabilities. The students range from preschool through high school. An innovative and integrated curriculum and high staff-to-student ratio supports students so they can achieve success. Based on each student’s IEP (Individualized Education Program), an individual instructional plan is designed to maximize his or her learning. Case management is an integral part of our service and helps to facilitate coordination with other professionals who are working the child and family. Our teachers recognize and appreciate the individual needs of each student, and encourage them to develop their interests and talents. Through small group interaction and individual attention, each student’s day is filled with learning opportunities that are interactive and stimulating. Children’s self-esteem flourishes and creativity blossoms when they feel that intellectual and emotional experiences are valuable.
Curriculum and Instruction
Our transdisciplinary curriculum is enhanced by our special facilities and diverse teaching methods to ensure continuity in all subject areas. Along with a student’s IEP, Carousel’s teachers utilize the California Content Standards and the Curriculum Guide for Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities as tools to develop the curriculum and lessons each year. Teachers also make modifications and adaptations to lessons and their teaching to accommodate each student’s needs. The use of manipulatives and hands-on experiences are integrated into lessons whenever possible to make learning more exciting and interactive.
Some of our state-approved curricula include:
School-Wide Social Skills
At Carousel, we acknowledge that a vital component to a child’s daily routine is the socialization with his or her peers and adults at school, home, and in the community. Children with various diagnoses, including, but not limited to, Pervasive Developmental Disorders (e.g., Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome) and Attention Disorders (e.g., Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) often demonstrate poor social skills. Many of our students need to learn the fundamental skills necessary to appropriately interact with others. Carousel staff facilitates the development of social skills through daily and weekly activities. Our teachers and classroom staff encourage students to interact with peers through class-wide activities. In order to prepare our students for the community, each class participates in field trips to local events that allow them to practice social interactions outside of school. Our specially designed Physical Education class also facilitates social skills through specific group games and activities that allow students to have fun while learning how to appropriately interact with their peers.
Community Based Instruction/Independent Living Skills
Carousel middle school and high school students participate in weekly Community Based Instruction (CBI) trips, which target the development of functional skills in natural, non-school based environments, such as the post office, grocery store, bakery, and police and fire stations. Prior to going out into the community, teachers and staff prepare the students for what they will do and how they should act. Skills learned in the classroom are generalized and taught in the community. These skills, practiced over time, will give our students the confidence to participate in community events and socialize in new and unfamiliar environments.
The focus of CBI is to assist students with moderate to severe disabilities to acquire the essential independent living skills necessary to successfully transition into the adult world. CBI is an instructional strategy that helps students develop skills in self-advocacy, safety in the community, taking initiative, and appropriate work and social behaviors. CBI provides opportunities for students to plan for transportation needs, gain advanced mobility skills, access local community resources, and obtain work-based learning experiences.
CBI adheres to legislative mandates for individuals with disabilities.
Benefits of CBI:
Other independent living skills that all students participate in throughout the year include:
Specially-Designed Physical Education
“Coach” John Bibb – Physical Education Coordinator
Carousel’s Specially-Designed Physical Education program incorporates daily age-appropriate games, activities, and sports for our students. Our on-site coach provides individual and group activities throughout the day that are designed to improve the students’ hand/eye coordination, large and small muscle group development, motor skills, and socializations. To strengthen the students’ skills in interacting appropriately with peers, our P.E. class provides the students with opportunities to learn social skills, such as playing together, taking turns, and participating in new games. Our specially-designed class works with the students’ individual capabilities and allows them to feel successful outside of the classroom. Our students strengthen their self-confidence as they continue to participate in new activities. Carousel staff has helped to introduce special events to our program such as our school-wide Carousel Olympics, Carousel Car Wash, and even participating in outside community events, such as local high school football games.
Fine Arts Program
Maggie Meza – Program Director
All Carousel School classes participate in their own individualized weekly Fine Arts and Dance classes. These classes offer our students a variety of opportunities to express themselves through movement and design. Using art and dance, this program transforms the classroom environment into a positive and reinforcing sensory experience. Our students are exposed to different rhythms, textures, tools, and imagery to help them expand their vision. As a part of the creative process, our children have the opportunity to express themselves without feeling self-conscious.