Our School Programs

The elementary program at Orchard Place School empphasizes behavioral, social, and academic skill development.  If a student has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), the IEP goals address the most critical areas unique to the student and guide the instruction.  The elementary program, in general, emphasizes how to learn (e.g. using basic skills to learn new information in content areas), academic skill development (emphasizing reading, written language, and math), conflict management (including anger control and problem solving), social skills development (including skills for the classroom and skills for peer relationships), and following school routines.  Students also receive instruction in art and physical education.

Orchard Place Middle School provides a structured, nurturing, safe environment that promotes academic learing and social growth.  Curriculum adjustments are made according to individual academic needs.  If a student has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), goals are addressed for a supportive therapeutic milieu.  The academic focus is on reading, writing, and math skills.  Des Moines Public Schools’ curriculum is used, with adaptations as needed.  Due to this emphasis on basic skills, selected district objectives in science and social studies are integrated into basic skills areas.  In addition, students receive instruction in art and physical education.  As a part of the milieu treatment team at Orchard Place, teachers integrate a social skills curriculum centering on self-esteem, anger management, peer/adult relations, and coping skills.  In addition to specific skills classes, social skills are integrated throughout daily instruction.  Materials and activities for these classes vary according to the needs of the classroom or the individual.  Classrooms stress a non-punitive approach when dealing with discipline.  Behavior incidents are viewed as opportunities to promote and instruct positive social and coping skills.

Orchard Place High School provides a safe and  structured learning environment.  Teachers focus on Des Moines Public School curriculum outcomes, including social skills development.  Academics include practical, real life activities in math, health, and safety.  Also included are English, consumer and computer skills, as well as other required courses in mathematics, science, and social studies.  Students continue to earn credits towards high school graduation while at Orchard Place.  They also learn about personal  responsibility and the use of coping skills such as journaling, taking distance, talking with staff,  and physical exercise.