Curriculum

Students attend Orchard Academy as they would high school, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Orchard Academy is located on the Orchard Village campus in Skokie. Although Orchard Academy houses classrooms, computer lab and simulation areas, much of the students’ time is spent participating in activities around the community. Skills are best absorbed by practicing them in the environment in which they will be applied: banking skills are best learned in a bank; grocery shopping in the grocery store.

Each student’s individualized transition program and weekly schedules will be based on the goals and objectives written into their most current Individualized Education Program (IEP). Student-centered planning strategies will be used to increase the involvement of the student and family in the process of developing the IEP. Each IEP will be a working document. Students, parents, teachers and administrators will evaluate the IEP on a regular basis to ensure that goals are being met and will make adjustments as needed.

Curriculum Focus Areas:

Employment Preparation

  • Career guidance, including skills-assessment and understanding the labor market
  • Occupation exploration, including modeled experiences, job-shadowing, on-the-job training and internships
  • Job search skills, including resume development, job listings and interview techniques
  • Job skill development, including acquiring competitive skills attractive to employers
  • Introduction to the workplace environment, including understanding standard rules and labor practices
  • Social skills development, including appropriate interactions with supervisors and co-workers

Independent Living Skills

  • Self-management and executive functioning, including scheduling, organization and decision-making
  • Financial literacy
  • Self-care, including hygiene and self-medication
  • Using information technology, adaptive resources and other technology skills
  • Understanding and accessing local community resources
  • Pedestrian and community safety; understanding and utilizing transportation
  • Nutrition, meal planning and preparation
  • Other activities of daily living

Social/Recreational Resources

  • Utilizing local community resources such as parks, health clubs and movie theatres
  • Accessing libraries and community education classes
  • Participating in cultural and social activities
  • Identifying home leisure activities and hobbies

Self-Advocacy Strategies

  • Communication and self-representation
  • Preparation for self-disclosure of disability and accommodation needs
  • Leadership skills
  • Self-directed IEP and plan to achieve goals
  • Self-regulation of progress towards transition and post-secondary goals
  • Understanding individual strengths, interests and learning styles
  • Problem solving skills and reasonable risk-taking
  • Self-advocacy in the workplace

Staff will work closely with students to make sure they are paving the path toward their desired life after school, including goals for both careers and living arrangements.