Academic Learning Cores

The Learning Experience —
From Preschool to Adulthood

From the first day a student enters one of our classrooms, we begin to carefully create a personal learning experience, assessing needs and developing specific goals and objectives. Our students’ educational experience is centered around five core programs. Different levels and programs allow for age- and skill-appropriate instruction and encourage
successful transitions from one level to the next as students grow and learn. Age- and skill-appropriate community outings occur throughout all of our academic learning cores.


Early Learning Program Core

This program is designed to focus on developing the social, communication, and daily living skills of young students, ages 3-12, diagnosed with autism and other developmental disabilities.

We are committed to meeting the educational needs of our youngest students who require a structured learning environment and small classrooms. Housed in its own building, the program allows us to foster a culture specifically based on the needs of young students in a nurturing environment, providing opportunities for both structured learning in the classroom and experiential learning through play and social interaction.

Other Early Learning Program highlights:

  • Our program emphasizes skill-building with a focus on increasing language and communication, within a comprehensive and flexible academic program.
  • We offer a range of classroom options to appropriately manage associated challenging behaviors. Our approach focuses on reinforcement-based strategies to manage problematic behavior, while teaching alternative appropriate behaviors. We take great care to develop strategies that are guided by a developmental framework.
  • Our focus on serving very young children reflects current best outcomes research indicating that intensive intervention and education based on ABA provides the best chance for reducing the need for long-term services. In some cases, this may facilitate successful transition back to district. 
  • Our new program design has also strengthened continuity of care across our school and residential settings for students who require these additional supports. Our clinical team now provides oversight in both settings.


Secondary Core

In this core, we serve  students from ages 12 to 22. We work with students in small groups or 1:1, combining the best practices from the fields of ABA and special education. Here, we emphasize all areas of a student's development, including communication, social skills, self-care skills, play skills, and vocational skills. We work on transition skills with some of our older students, and focus on teaching independent living skills. Our school and residential teams work closely together to develop appropriate goals and ensure that skills are being carried over settings.


Intensive Behavior Core

This core meets the needs of students ages 8-22 with significantly challenging behaviors. We focus on assessing and treating students who engage in challenging behavior that interferes with educational instruction. This core typically has a 1:1 staff to student ratio, spacious classrooms, and intensive clinical and educational oversight. Teachers use the evidence-based principles of ABA to decrease challenging behaviors and help students replace those behaviors with appropriate behaviors.

Oftentimes, we are able to fade 1:1 instruction, contingent on our students’ behavioral progress. We foster independent and functional communication skills, provide structure, and help students develop daily living skills that will prepare them for less restrictive settings and more enriching experiences.


Pre-Transitional Core

This is home to many of our students who are either preparing to transition into an adult services setting and may need more life skills training, or who may be able to eventually work in the community. These classrooms are specifically designed to begin training students in the foundational, pre-vocational skills students will need to secure employment or to live more independently. Two vocational training rooms are fully equipped with a variety of items and activities designed to teach job skills. Our smaller classrooms encourage increased opportunities for peer interaction.

Employment Center Core

Students ages 15-22 in this core attend The Todd Fournier Center for Employment Training and Community Inclusion. In this school-within-a-school, housed in a separate building, students learn functional academics and communication skills as well as domestic, self-care, leisure, and independent living skills.

These students participate in a variety of job training opportunities in the classroom and in our on-campus simulated suites – a school store, a hotel/apartment room, and a fully functioning cafe. Once trained, students are able to work for local organizations and businesses including Meals on Wheels, Papa Ginos, Arbella Insurance, Braintree Public Library, VERC Convenience stores, and Joe's American Grill.