Why Orion Academy?

Why Orion for your Child?

Our students like concrete facts, and we can provide those stats:

  • 97% of graduates are accepted into college programs
  • 1:8 teacher to student ratio in most classes
  • Standardized test scores above national average
  • Over a decade of specialized experience
  • Program designed by a noted expert in the field
  • Certified Teachers who understand your student’s needs
  • WASC accreditation
  • UC approved courses

But these concrete facts should not be the reason you choose a school, they should be your base expectation.  So much of the reason to choose Orion is not easily quantified into the black and white facts our students so appreciate.  The reasons to send your child to Orion are as much in the level of support that occurs behind the scene for your child as they are in the impressive statistics and lists of accomplishments.

The Orion faculty and staff work collaboratively to ensure a student’s academic, social, and future success is fully supported. The entire Orion team meets weekly to utilize information gathered by our caring, experienced teachers and clinical staff to create actions for success that incorporate both the student’s areas of need and strengths.  These plans are fully supported and monitored by faculty and clinicians with progress reported out to parents every six weeks.  At the end of each term, parents and your child receive an academic report detailing the progress.

At the same time, your child has an assigned psychologist on staff that is tracking social and pragmatic growth and helping students manage the challenges of school.  The clinical team meets twice a week with Dr. Stewart to discuss each student’s growth toward his or her social and individual transition goals.  Successes and progress are reported out to students and parents in Term Reports.  This, combined with the Academic report, provides an insight into the many hours Orion’s attentive team puts into your child’s success.

While attending Orion’s landmark program, your child participates in typical high school experiences like Student Council, Debate club, School Dances, Cross country Team, Field Trips, and Spirit rallies, in a supportive, safe, user-friendly environment.  Too often these experiences are thought of as only extra-curricular.  At Orion they are part of the program, carefully planned to both challenge and support the student.  These experiences allow your child to have positive feelings associated with school while also creating positive social interactions and broader social experiences.

Students at Orion follow the same high school graduation expectations set out by the State of California; with a curriculum that is not only WASC and UC approved, it is geared to your individual student’s needs.  Orion’s teaching faculty all have expertise in their content area and are individually trained in methodologies for students with the executive function disabilities often seen in ASD, NLD, and ADHD students.  Methodologies that include the use of technology as an organizational tool, the Orion developed Writing by EAR program, our benchmark individualized learning program Personal Projects and many other Orion innovations.  Expertise and innovative methodologies allow each teacher to work for your child’s success in their class, by not only teaching content, but also teaching organization, study skills, and the social skills necessary for academic success.

A carefully constructed scaffolding that supports student success is certainly the reason your child should attend Orion. To be honest though, this is not what our graduates talk about after they head off to college.  They talk of the friendships they never knew they could have, of a community in which they continue to be a part, of the skills they now apply in college, and the belief in themselves and their potential. For them the reason to attend is independence and a positive school experience.

For you, the fact that for over 12 years Orion Academy staff has utilized the techniques and practices suggested by its founder Dr. Kathryn Stewart in her book Helping a Child with Nonverbal Learning Disorder or Asperger’s Disorder to create a college preparatory academic program that allows parents of students with ASD and NLD to, perhaps for the first time in their lives, let go of the apron strings and trust in expertise. Orion expertise.

More information about applying to Orion Academy