Why Orion for Your Child?

Why Orion?

This year marks Orion Academy’s 20th year.

Orion Academy began as an idea, one that grew out of years of watching our kids and families struggle with the limitations of what was available in public and private high schools.

In the fall of 2000 we opened with only 8 students and 5 teachers. This vision that is Orion did many things that were new at the time. We were, and are, experts in what we do. We created a program that had dogs on campus as part of developing pragmatic language. We developed a now trademarked project learning program called Personal Projects to address executive function deficits in ways never seen before. We required credentialed subject matter educators to offer rigorous academics to students in an Autism Spectrum appropriate manner. Thanks to our original generous benefactors, we were able to realize the vision of the program and open our doors.

Keep in mind, what we were doing was new and innovative and many people thought it wouldn’t work. Putting spectrum kids together in a school without access to modeling “normal” kids was seen in some circles as heresy. Yet, the idea that a community could be built, a community of like-minded individuals, who would come together and be a part of something specific for our population, was recognized and supported by many others. These people, our supporters and families, saw the potential in what we were doing and they believed in our vision and this new model for education.

So here we are 20 years later. We serve 60 students a year in grades 9-12 and have seen our graduates go to university and college, work training and professional jobs. Over the years the program has grown, and we continue to strive to be on the forefront of secondary education for spectrum students. Together with our partnering employers we have added Orion developed programing for career transitioning and training, the next frontier for spectrum individuals.

As a community we have so much to be proud of and thankful for. We hope you all will join us this year in celebrating the last 20 years, as we look forward to the next 20.

Warm regards to all,
Kathryn Stewart, PhD
Executive Director and Founder, Orion Academy

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