The Pinnacle Difference




At The Pinnacle School, social cognition and executive function skills are the foundation of our program. Together with a challenging hands-on, multisensory 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.

Executive Function

For all students, but particularly for students with learning and attention difficulties, executive functions strategies and focused effort helps them bridge the gaps between their skills and the academic demands they face. With effective strategy use, they perform more efficiently, experience academic success and develop a positive academic self-concept.

Development of EF skills is consistently integrated into classroom content and lessons through a monthly EF theme. Our psychologists and teachers introduce students to a new EF skill each month, and this skill set is reinforced in the classroom through modeling, lessons, and direct practice. 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.

Teachers assess baseline information about students’ learning profiles that help them to understand each student’s level of metacogntive awareness, effort and strategy use. Teachers then introduce specific instructional approaches, assess students’ progress, and modify instruction.

What are Executive Function Skills?

    * Planning, Prioritizing, Organization, & Time Management * Task Initiation * Shifting & Sustaining Attention * Perseverance & Persistence * Working Memory * Cognitive Flexibility * Self Regulation * Response Inhibition & Emotional Control * Metacognition

Consistent and effective use of strategies helps students understand their learning profiles and teaches them how to learn. It encourages independence and promotes motivation, effort and hard work.


Our team has a high level of expertise with educational disabilities and challenges. We have a wrap around approach with experienced teachers and related, specialized services.

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Our first step with our students is to foster trust and mutual respect. This is the foundation to effectively collaborate with our students, dig below the surface and address core problems.

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Social cognition and Core Values are key to our program because they are the foundation of effective communication and relationships

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For all students, but particularly for students with learning and attention difficulties, executive functions strategies and focused effort helps them bridge the gaps between their skills and the academic demands they face.

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With our specialized team, we analyze the moment, rooted in our deep understanding of the individual, and coach students through their challengeS.

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Social cognition is the foundation of effective communication and relationships. In order for students to interpret the social world around them, they must get the “whole picture” and understand the hidden messages behind both verbal and nonverbal actions and intentions.

According to Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking framework, social cognition is, “The process by which we interpret the thoughts, beliefs, intentions, emotions, knowledge and actions of another person along with the context of the situation to understand that person’s experience.” Our curriculum is designed to foster the development of social self-awareness, perspective-taking or Theory of Mind, self regulation, executive functioning, social-emotional understanding, and social skills.

Many of our students intellectually know the rules but they can’t apply it in the moment. We teach these skills in specific classes and most importantly, embed it throughout the day by coaching student in the moment. Our staff is skilled at teaching students to apply and practice social cognition, and eventually, ‘own’ those skills. Our social cognition curriculum is research oriented and integrates the work of Michelle Garcia Winner, Jeanette McAfee, Ellen McGinnis, and Jed E. Baker, among others. Students gain insight into social reciprocity—the give and take of communication—and learn ways to build and maintain friendships. 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.