Vista Learning Center programs and approaches
Vista Learning Center programs integrate real-time, focused academic instruction with social thinking skills to help students thrive and meet the demands of everyday life. We’re able to do this through the technology available to all students, our teaching approaches and methods, and through our philosophy which guides our program.
- Teaching Approaches & Methods
Vista Learning Center programs provide small-group academic instruction. We work on improving self-esteem and strengthening social skills, including communication, cooperation, problem-solving, trust, leadership, and recreation. Our methods include competency-based grading, small-group instruction, and experiential education.
- Social Skills & Experiential Education
By using fun and engaging experiential activities, students observe models, practice new skills and receive feedback in natural settings and across the curriculum. Teachers process social skills “in the moment” during the flow of a team challenge or conflict. We have an onsite BCBA consultant that provides extensive expertise in positive behavioral support, further enhancing our students’ chances of success.
- Direct Systematic, Small-Group Instruction
We evaluate student needs and gaps and use a variety of curriculums and teaching tools to help them be successful.
- Competency-based Grading
Rather than using the traditional “A” through “F” grading system, the Vista Learning Center educators base progress on a range of skills based on Common Core and grade levels. This allows us to more accurately explain individual strengths and challenges to families in context and is in accordance with current best practices in special education.
Vista Learning Center’s philosophy
The foundation of Vista Learning Center programs is the belief that no two students learn or are developmentally alike. We must utilize a wide variety of best practices to identify the one that is most effective for each student. With this in mind, Vista Learning Center explores every opportunity to capitalize on each student’s abilities and interests.
This approach integrates rigorous academics with social thinking, not only how to solve a problem but teach students how to think through a problem. Opportunities for students to experience a sense of belonging to a larger community are embedded in Vista programming. Ultimately, students will also need to expand their learning beyond the walls of Vista Learning Center. Extending learning opportunities within the local community will provide experiences for students to generalize their social thinking learning while promoting living skills, independent skills, and working towards a diploma.
- Social thinking
Student misbehavior typically represents their response to a problem. Intervening adults must allocate time to identify what problem the student is trying to solve before the adult generates a response to the behavior. Lagging social thinking skills and ineffective coping mechanisms typically influences student behavior. A behavior response must include an opportunity for the students to learn and practice new solutions to the problem.
- Individual learning programs
Each student is an integral component in the planning and assessment of their learning program. The first step in gaining the cooperation of a student is to identify where they are successful and continue to build from where they are. This approach will build a student’s confidence and skills, which becomes a catalyst for continued learning. Blending of skills and confidence creates opportunities for a successful re-entry into the public school system.
- Community belonging
The core tenet of Vista Learning Center is a sense of community belonging. Combining academic knowledge with emerging social thinking skills is essential to navigating the ever-present demands of life, adding in the collaborative effort by parents, schools, and related service providers to help student experience the real meaning of community. This protective village contributes to developing a genuinely individualized education and life plan for each student.