School Improvement Plan

School Improvement Plan 2019-2020


Solterra Academy is a safe, consistent, and structured learning environment which provides emotional support and stable routines for students while meeting their individual academic, behavioral, and social needs.  We believe that students of all ages can reach their potential given a positive school climate based on respect, responsibility, kindness, and safety.  Solterra Academy promotes a culture where:

  • Students feel welcome and valued

  • Staff and students respect each other

  • Differences and individuality are celebrated

  • Creative and flexible programming are used to both support and challenge students

  • The necessary skills are taught to become life-long learners and caring citizens


The mission of Solterra Academy is to foster students’ independence in social, emotional, behavioral, and academic functioning.  Our highly trained, compassionate staff create a safe, therapeutic environment in which all students can effectively learn.  The use of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and our developmentally appropriate programming through differentiated instruction prepares students to successfully transition back to their home school district, the community, or the next more appropriate setting.

Challenges of our Educational Practice

The students of Solterra Academy present with many academic and behavioral needs.  Most students demonstrate challenges in reading, written language, and/or mathematics.  This necessitates creative programming with differentiated and individualized instruction, as well as constant monitoring of progress.  In addition to curriculum-based assessments, progress monitoring is accomplished three times throughout the school year with the Star 360 online assessment program which is designed for this purpose.

While Mathematics has always been a challenging subject for most of our students due to the need for sustained concentration, sequencing skills, and the spiraling of skills that build upon each other for calculations, our school-wide goal surrounding Mathematics’ instruction for the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years resulted in an increase in teachers’ math instructional skills and resources as well as students’ performance in math.  Therefore, last year, we shifted the focus of our school-wide goal to Writing.  We will continue this goal for the 2019-2020 school year.  Our students are often resistant to writing, so professional development surrounding the instruction of writing for our staff will be key in ensuring our student’s engagement with this task.  In addition, our students further struggle with higher order thinking skills such as sequencing, summarizing, and synthesizing, particularly those students with lower cognitive functioning.  Staff strive to help them make connections and apply solution-oriented strategies within all subject areas.

Despite their challenging behaviors and wide range of skill levels, our students make academic progress through effective, differentiated instruction that is driven by both the Common Core State Standards and the students’ IEPs as well as our positive school climate.  Solterra Academy’s culture strives to remain positive and supportive, fostering respect, responsibility, kindness, and safety, through Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports as well as a compassionate staff showing patience and understanding each and every day.

The impact of these challenges on our educational practice has resulted in the following school improvement goals for the 2019-2020 school year:

Instructional Focuses


  • Students will improve their writing skills as follows:

  • 70% of students in our TDP classrooms will increase their writing skills by 20% over baseline as evidenced by criterion-referenced, curriculum assessment.

  • 70% of students in our TDP-AA classrooms will increase their writing skills by 10% over baseline as evidenced by criterion-referenced, curriculum assessments.

  • 80% of students in our TDP-AUT classroom will learn at least 3 new writing skills at 80% mastery as evidenced by a criterion-referenced skills checklist.

Higher-Order Thinking: Sequencing

  • 70% of students in our TDP-AA classrooms will increase their sequencing skills by 10% over baseline as evidenced by curriculum-based assessments, pre/post criterion-referenced tools, and rubrics.

  • 70% of students in our TDP classrooms will increase their sequencing skills by 15% over baseline as evidenced by curriculum-based assessments, pre/post criterion-referenced tools, and rubrics.

This goal may include any or all of the following: sequencing, summarizing or synthesizing, and/or determining causalities in all areas including short stories, novels, mathematics, content areas, vocational tasks, and social interactions.

School Climate

Increase Students’ Coping Strategies

  • Students will more readily utilize coping strategies and display a decrease in unsafe behavior as evidenced by the following: Restraints and Seclusions amongst all students enrolled before October 1st will decrease by 10% from August 2019 to May 2020.

Stakeholder Feedback

Focus:  Parent Satisfaction

  • By May of 2020, 80% of responding parents/guardians will endorse Agree or Strongly Agree to the following survey questions:

  • I am satisfied with my child’s program at Solterra Academy.

  • I would recommend this program to others.

Professional Development

  • The SEED process will be implemented this year with all certified staff and submission to SDE will occur by September 15, 2020.

  • Professional Development Presentations on the following:

    • Behavioral Interventions and Responses at Solterra Academy – September 26, 2019

    • Facilitating sequencing and synthesizing skills – date TBD

    • Understanding LGBTQIA Students-  date TBD

    • Engaging the Reluctant Writer – March 2020

    • The Culturally Diverse Work Setting – dates TBD

  • On-going staff training will occur as related to Therapeutic Crisis Intervention, data collection, reporting, IEP writing, and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).

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