Special Education at CCA

At Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA), we offer a special education program to make sure students with unique needs are getting the best education possible. We personalize education based on academic needs, family schedules and outside activities.

Teacher and student coloring in coloring booksWith the true flexibility offered by an online special education program, CCA can customize your child’s education based on their needs, abilities and interests and, because we put family at the center, our students and their families have much better daily access to their teachers than they would at a traditional brick-and-mortar school.

What Makes Our Special Education Program Different?

The CCA special education program’s success is due to its uniqueness. Our online special education classes offer students with special needs the ability to customize strategies and interventions of services, allowing them to be fully integrated into the cyber school program from the safe, comfortable environment of the student’s home.

Special education-related services can be provided in the student’s home or community by expert and attentive providers who care about the students as learners and people. Through our online courses, you will witness the instruction provided to your child, allowing you to ask questions as they arise and navigate with your child through their educational and developmental progress.

Special education in our online school operates on your child’s individualized education program (IEP) documentation, which is based on the evaluation done on the student. The virtual program used for your child is unique to the IEP’s demands and may require just minimal strategic support or necessitate the use of many services in your home or community.

Our online school employs a dedicated staff of special education teachers and professionals. We serve special education students throughout Pennsylvania.

Benefits of Online Special Education Classes

At CCA, our special education programs and services gives us the ability to help more students with special needs than brick-and-mortar facilities. All CCA special education teachers are certified by Pennsylvania in special education. As a public school, we fulfill all regulations and requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

One of the many benefits of an online special education program is that students can learn from the comfort of their own homes. Some students need to sit away from others or can be easily distracted by other children in a classroom. Because our online special education classes are attended from where you and your child are most comfortable, you won’t worry about what’s going on in your child’s classroom every day. Plus, because all lessons are recorded, students who require different pacing can rewatch the lessons to fully grasp what is being taught.

Another benefit of online special education is that the student and his or her family control the
pacing of their online courses. Pacing is critical in a student’s education, and it is difficult to individualize in brick-and-mortar settings. As an online education provider, CCA gives families the ability to control the level of instruction. Students learn to self-advocate because they can choose the pacing specifically for each course. Receiving special education support in an online school setting allows students to customize the strategies and interventions that work best for them.

Additionally, with online special education classes, parents witness what their child is being taught. You do not have to worry about your child becoming upset and not understanding why. This is especially important for students with verbal and other communication challenges.

Individualized Education Programs at CCA

An IEP serves as the common point of communication among a parent, student, the student’s learning support teacher and all teachers involved in online special education. It clarifies the most effective ways in which the student learns.

The IEP includes information on student psychoeducational testing results, interests and learning preferences. Because CCA specializes in customizing each learner’s education, we use many sources of information to develop each student’s path to success. Among the many sources we consult are grades, proficiency and benchmarking tests, a student’s learning strengths and needs, interest profiles, career counseling, strategies that a student has acquired and actively used in the classroom, and, above all, family input.

IEPs are dynamic documents that evolve with the student as they grow and change as an individual. When a student with special needs enrolls at CCA, we review and adopt the IEP within 30 days. After 30 days, we convene an IEP meeting to apply the IEP to our cyber school setting.

A parent can request to have an evaluation performed by a certified school psychologist. This assessment will address any concerns voiced by the parent or teacher. These assessments can be completed conveniently in the student’s local community.

Receiving special education services in an online school is different than taking classes in a traditional school. CCA has found that IEPs often need to be revised to more effectively describe the specially designed instruction and related services that a learner needs in a cyber environment. The special education team ensures that teachers have access to the learner’s IEP and can implement the identified accommodations and adaptations.

Parents and guardians who serve as a student’s learning coach play a significant role in special education in an online school because they must support the student in the participation in and completion of schoolwork. Learning coaches receive substantial support and guidance from our special education and general education staff.

Special Education Services for Cyber School Students

When you enroll in online special education classes at CCA, we provide your family with information and support by connecting you to regional resources throughout Pennsylvania. CCA will contract with providers to handle the following services, among others, as necessary:

Speech therapy

Speech-language pathologists help students with all types of language, communication and reading issues. They can work one on one or in small groups, or co-teach with the classroom teacher. They are part of the special education team in public schools.

Occupational therapy

School-based occupational therapy is designed to enhance a student’s ability to fully access and be successful in the learning environment. Help could include improving fine motor skills so a child can complete written assignments or adapting learning materials so the student can successfully participate in class.

Physical therapy

Using their expertise in movement and function, physical therapists promote motor development and students’ participation in everyday routines and activities that are part of their program. The physical therapist designs and performs therapeutic interventions focusing on functional mobility and safe, efficient access and participation in educational activities and routines in natural learning environments.

Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

Behavior analysts in special education settings can use their skills to help students with autism, attention disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, speech impediments and a wide range of learning disabilities.

Special Education Assistive Technology

While many school districts are attempting to move to 1:1 laptop programs, CCA is already there. All students receive a laptop loaded with cutting-edge technology tailored to their individual learning needs that they can use at home. At CCA, the development of the student’s IEP may include a variety of assistive technologies to help students learn to their full potential through the online special education courses we offer.

These assistive tools are available as determined by a student’s IEP or 504 plan. The availability of specific tools can change as educational technology evolves and better products are available. Examples of such tools for special education students in our online school:

Read Live

The Read Live program specializes in web-based intervention and assessment. Students are provided with differentiated instruction to support their fluency, phonics, vocabulary and comprehension. Students are taught key vocabulary important to what they are reading, and predict what will happen next in the story. Your child will learn proper pronunciation, expression and phrasing by reading along with a story recording.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking

Students in our special education online courses are assisted with language-based learning differences with the Dragon NaturallySpeaking program. This program turns spoken words into printed words. Students with language-based learning differences often have difficulty turning their ideas into written words. Dragon makes the writing process easier and more efficient, as students speak and find their speech turned into words on their computer screen.

Learning Ally

As the world’s largest library of audio textbooks and literature, Learning Ally helps students improve reading comprehension, increase their vocabulary and improve their fluency by listening to an audiobook and following along with the text.

WYNN

The WYNN program highlights text as it is read, and this literacy software tool transforms printed text into understandable information. WYNN enhances your student’s success at overcoming reading and writing challenges, while improving reading and writing fluency, encoding and decoding, and comprehension.

Learn More About Our Special Education Program

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Interested in our online special education program? Contact a CCA parent to hear about their experience, or enroll today!