Sierra Academy of San Diego (CA)
6460 Boulder Lake Avenue
San Diego, CA 92119
Katy DiSano Lopez
The Sierra Academy of San Diego serves students in grades 1–12, also providing a Life Skills program for students up to age 22. Students who have been unsuccessful in traditional classrooms, who learn differently, or who have identified learning disabilities will find the Sierra Academy to be a place in which they can grow and achieve success. Our student populations face learning disabilities in a variety of areas, including speech/language, auditory processing, central auditory processing, sensory integration, social skills deficits, neurological issues, or other health impairments. Additionally, they often come to us with low self-esteem related to previous school failures.
Our school program includes:
Occupational Therapy & Sensory Integration
Small Class Sizes
Small-Group Instruction/Specialized Programming
Social Skills Training
Life Skills Training
Schoolwide Behavior Management Program
At the Sierra Academy, we want students to experience success in the classroom as quickly as possible. We start by helping the child master achievable academic skills and problems. Once the child reaches that level of attainment, they get more excited about learning. Gradually, we introduce more challenging material—never overwhelming the student, but always continuing their development. In this way, children are able to feel successful in the classroom—some for the first time. That academic success translates into a healthier self-esteem, which in turn gives the student the confidence to aim for higher levels of achievement. The student learns to trust and feels supported enough to risk taking on new learning challenges. In our experience, this approach helps reverse the negative image that many children have of themselves as students when they first arrive.
The Sierra Academy's Life Skills program is designed to prepare high school students to enter the community by using a hands-on, interactive approach to real-world learning. Students are exposed to basic life and vocational skills, many directly in line with their IEPs (Individualized Educational Programs). The students explore these skills through a theme-based program. Students are responsible for creating their own portfolio, which includes such items as a current résumé, sample job applications, mock interview questions, a library card, and a California ID card. The Life Skills program at the Sierra Academy utilizes “experience-based learning,” which stresses direct participation in order to increase motivation, acquisition, and retention of the skills being taught.
The Sierra Academy of San Diego works to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment for students who need an alternative setting to achieve their potential. We follow state and district requirements and have the capacity to create highly individualized curriculums for optimum student success for all our students.
The Sierra Academy of San Diego is fully accredited for grades K–12 by the Schools Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC, Accrediting Commission for Schools, 533 Airport Blvd., Suite 200, Burlingame, CA 94010; phone: 650-696-1060).