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reach your true potential

The Pinnacle School enables students with language-based social and academic deficits to thrive through small class sizes, differentiated instruction, active problem-solving and relationship building.

 

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Academics
Social Cognition
Executive Functions
College & Career Counseling

related specialized services

 

The Pinnacle Program

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At The Pinnacle School, social cognition and executive function skills are the foundation of our program. Together with a challenging hands-on, multi-sensory curriculum, we meet students where they are and carefully raise the bar to ensure they are met with success while simultaneously teaching them how to overcome challenges.  

We focus on rebuilding self-esteem, resilience, and an enthusiasm for learning by identifying students’ strengths, creating opportunities for small successes, and building on those daily. Students begin to see their own potential and gain confidence.

We include our students as insightful members of their team. By doing so, they learn the important role they have in their own problem-solving, and we teach them the strategies to make meaningful strides forward. This individualized and scaffolded approach enables our students to reach their true potential, and flourish.

Pinnacle’s program is comprised of a number of different facets that come together to help support the “whole student”. Core Academics, Emotional Regulation Training, Executive Functions, Social Cognition, Related Services, Enrichment Opportunities, and College and Career Preparation are all equally important aspects of our program. Depending on the needs of the individual student, emphasis or added support may be directed towards one or more areas of the program.

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core academics

Pinnacle’s academic program is designed to support student’s diverse intellectual, social, and emotional needs through small class sizes, modified curriculum, and differentiated instruction. Research based strategies and instruction drive our educational approach and enhance our ability to individualize each student's education plan, meet them where they are,
and slowly raise the bar.

Pinnacle’s academic program includes:

  • English Language Arts
  • Math
  • History
  • Science
  • Physical Education
  • Music
  • Visual Arts
  • Electives *depending on student interests*
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social cognition

Pinnacle’s Social Cognition Program focuses on helping students interpret the social world around them. Our goal is to help students get the “whole picture” and understand the hidden messages behind both verbal and nonverbal actions and intentions. Students gain insight into social reciprocity—the give and take of communication—and learn ways to build and maintain friendships. Our curriculum integrates the work of Michelle Garcia Winner, Jeanette McAfee, Ellen McGinnis, and Jed E. Baker, among others. Our program promotes positive, effective social interactions through both direct and indirect instruction. We also provide our students with ample opportunities to utilize these skills in natural social settings.

Key components of our program include:

  • Friendship Building
  • Respecting Others
  • Expected vs. Unexpected Behavior
  • Social Problem Solving
  • Interpersonal Negotiations
  • Reading the Room
  • Reading Between the Lines
  • Perspective Taking — Theory of Mind
  • Interpreting Abstract Language (Idioms, Sarcasm, Humor, etc.)
 

Executive Functions

At Pinnacle, our students' programs include both individual and group Executive Functions (EF) counseling designed to unlock their potential. The goal of these sessions is to provide students with the skills they need to be successful both in and out of the classroom. Our psychologists and special education teachers work closely with students to identify areas of personal strength and weakness and to provide them with the tools necessary to remediate and compensate for areas of weakness. Our EF program utilizes a variety of resources to help students develop their EF skills, including work by Peg Dawson, Richard Guare, Lynn Meltzer, and ResearchILD’s SMARTS Executive Function curriculum.

Targeted areas include:

  • Planning, Prioritizing, Organization, & Time Management

  • Task Initiation
  • Shifting & Sustaining Attention
  • Perseverance & Persistence
  • Working Memory
  • Cognitive Flexibility
  • Self Regulation
  • Response Inhibition & Emotional Control
  • Metacognition
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Emotional Regulation

Function-based approach to emotional regulation

Our behavioral staff is skilled at determining why a student might be engaging in a specific behavior in a given situation.  Once this is determined they are able to facilitate the development of lagging skills thus enabling that student to replace their impulsive response with something more socially appropriate given the situation.  

At Pinnacle, our primary goal is to ensure that our students feel safe, secure, and comfortable so they can build strong relationships with the staff, other students, and members of the community. Staff work to develop a strong rapport with students in order to identify their interests and motivators. Our emphasis is on designing a learning environment in which interfering behaviors are proactively managed. Students are given opportunities to work on merging skills in a facilitated, controlled environment, allowing them to be better prepared for real-world situations.

The Emotional Regulation Program:

  • Makes students active participants in the creation of an individualized plan
  • Teaches appropriate ways to communicate needs
  • Implements structured breaks throughout the day
  • Provides tools to combat anxiety
  • Develops abilities to be flexible and cope with unexpected changes
  • Enables active communication between home and school to create continuity and consistency
 
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Speech & Language

At Pinnacle, we believe that language is a foundational building block for academic and personal success. The ability to communicate well includes being able to listen, speak, read, and write. These fundamental abilities run through the core of the human experience. The Pinnacle Speech and Language Program focuses on these four areas by integrating language development into all forms of learning, across all settings.

All programs are individualized. Depending on each student’s needs, services are provided in individual sessions, small structured groups, or integrated into classes.

Areas of focus include:

  • Following Multi-Step Directions
  • Paying Attention to Auditory Information in Order to Retain, Organize, Conceptualize & Synthesize
  • Recounting or Describing Events
  • Using Context Clues to Understand Meaning
  • Developing & Expanding Receptive & Expressive Vocabulary
  • Expressing Oneself in a Clear & Concise Manner
  • Grasping the Main Idea of a Conversation or Story
  • Distinguishing Relevant from Irrelevant Details
  • Making Inferences & Predictions
  • Understanding Abstract & Figurative Language, Innuendos & Humor
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Occupational Therapy

Pinnacle's campus features a state-of-the-art Occupational Therapy (OT) gymnasium space equipped with suspended equipment and interactive tools, providing our students with an optimal OT experience to support their growth and development. In collaboration with teachers and specialists, our OT team also establishes sensory supports and strategies to enhance self-regulation and meet the demands of the classroom environment.

The focus of OT at Pinnacle is to address students’ individual sensory and motor needs in order to improve their overall performance in the school setting—and beyond. Our program focuses on sensory integration theory and praxis development in order to remediate critical foundational skills.

These skills include:

  • Vision & Auditory Skills
  • Postural Control & Motor Coordination
  • Gross & Fine Motor Development
  • Planning & Sequencing Abilities
  • Vestibular & Somatosensory Processing

Skill improvements allow students to achieve greater success with:

  • Problem Solving
  • Executive Functions
  • Reaching a Higher Level of Cognitive Functioning
  • Adapting & Performing in an Ever-Changing School Environment
 
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Enrichment Opportunities

Pinnacle offers a range of enrichment opportunities through elective courses, field trips, and after school programs. Faculty, with diverse interests and abilities create a plethora of learning opportunities that are developed with student interests in mind. This enables students to leverage their strengths, become more engaged, and incorporate  skills they need to become successful members of their community.

Some of the enrichment opportunities available include:

  • Visual and Creative Arts
  • Culinary Arts
  • Music
  • Improv
  • Physical Education
  • Foreign Languages
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College & Career Counseling

College and Career Counseling is offered throughout a student’s high school career at Pinnacle. Students work individually with our counselor to accurately identify their interests, learning styles and abilities and how these relate to college majors, career fields and transition programs. Our comprehensive Career and College Counseling Program ensures the development of the best possible future plan for our students after graduation.

The College Counseling process focuses on the following:

  • Identification of Social, Academic and Emotional Strengths
  • Individualized Creation of a Post Secondary Pathway
  • Exploration of Personal and Academic Interests
  • Individual and Small Group Counseling
  • Life Skills Assessments
  • Standardized Testing Preparation and Planning
  • College Application Assistance
  • Course Selection and Academic Planning for High School and Beyond
  • Executive Functions, Time Management, Organization, Study Skills

Throughout their high school career, students are assessed using formal and informal career and vocational testing for the purpose of post secondary exploration. One formal assessment used is the MBTI®, the world’s most widely used personality assessment, which helps students to better understand themselves and their personal learning style.

 
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After School Program

Pinnacle’s After School Program provides students with both practical and fun enrichment activities to help "round out" their school day. Students can opt for individualized homework support with a member of our teaching staff and/or participate in a small-group activity that fosters creativity and cooperation with peers from various backgrounds.

Our program runs for the duration of each school semester (excluding holidays and school breaks). Students may register for one or more days per week. We work to group students to capitalize on shared interests and optimize social experiences.

Homework Help

Our teachers and behavior specialists work with students to organize their assignments and help them manage their homework and school projects. Students develop and utilize executive functions skills, learning how to stay on task and sustain attention to complete their school work. They also learn techniques to manage their time more effectively, building valuable study skills in the process. Students work with one of our staff members in ratios that range from 1:1 to 1:3.

Enrichment Activities

Students develop new interests by working collaboratively on stimulating, age-appropriate activities. Pinnacle provides a wide variety of creative programming, such as improvisation, culinary arts, creative arts, physical activities, and socially engaging games. Class offerings may change each semester according to the needs and interests of the participating students.

Days and Times:
Monday through Thursday
2:35pm to 3:20pm

Learn more about our after school program:

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