Our Curriculum

Education With A Personal Fit

For our students, Great Circle is an alternative when their home schools cannot provide the training or resources needed, or when children have communications issues that need a specialized approach. Our goal is provide a space where students can blossom – through traditional classroom learning, but also by using nature as a teacher, and art and music as therapy, and by developing life and vocational skills or just slowing down when life starts to get too fast.

Our small classes, about 10 students, mean our staff can personally focus on each student. Our highly trained teachers and therapists collaborate to use a variety of evidence-based programs and behavior strategies to focus on short-term goals that lead to longer-term success and reignite a child’s passion for learning. By adapting our teaching to fit each student’s personality and needs, we get to know each child on a deeper, personal level. To understand what each student is going through, so we know the best way to teach him or her. To make him feel safe. To help her feel empowered.

Many of the staff are Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA), which enables us to give our students a more compassionate and understanding level of care. BCBA attainment is considered a gold standard in behavioral health, especially in caring for children with autism. You’ll never hear these uniquely qualified therapists talk about the thousands of hours of fieldwork they’ve logged or the mandatory board exams and ongoing continuing education. Teaching, caring for and growing students who need them most is what they do, whether your child is with us for a short time or through graduation.

In addition to traditional academic offerings, Great Circle uses a variety of evidence-based programs and behavior strategies1, including:

Cooperative Learning: We use a variety of learning activities in small teams.

Just-In-Time Teaching: Staff engages students by linking out-of-class and in-class activities.

Project Based Learning: We promote problem solving and critical thinking skill development by engaging students in learning through exploration of real-world issues.

Personalized Instruction: This allows students to work independently and at their own pace with built-in assessment and testing for comprehension.

We currently employ more than 15 evidence-based practices and programs for children with autism2, which may include:

Differential Reinforcement and Pivotal Response Training: Staff uses positive reinforcement to reduce challenging behaviors and increase pro-social behaviors.

Discrete Trial Training: This one-to-one instructional approach is used to teach skills in a planned, controlled and systematic manner.

Prompting: This helps increase task behaviors and teaches new skills.

Functional Behavior Assessment: This helps staff understand the motivation behind a student’s negative behavior.

Social Stories/Social Narratives: This intervention helps learners adjust to changes in routine or to teach specific social skills and behaviors.

Functional Communication: Staff coaches students to develop appropriate communicative behavior as a replacement for problem behaviors.

Social Skills Group: A highly structured set of lessons is taught in small groups to promote positive social interactions with peers.

  1. As evaluated by the National Standards Project and the National Professional Development Project
  2. As identified by the National Professional Development Center and the National Standards Project
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Tanner

age 17

“After countless meltdowns early in high school, I began attending Great Circle. My teachers actually cared. Depression was met with encouragement, anger was met with peace, and loneliness was met with companionship.”

Accreditations

The Joint Commission
Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS)
AdvancED

Sponsors of this Program

United Way of Greater St. Louis