East Hills Academy is a unique special education school designed to provide a local alternative for students with special needs. Operated by the Sweetwater Union High School District, East Hills Academy serves students in grades 7 through 12 with severe learning, emotional, social (autism) and/or cognitive disabilities, most of whom were formerly placed in private, non-public schools.
Originally conceived in November, 2006, East Hills Academy was designed and developed for the following reasons: allow students to remain in the area where they live rather than be bused to other parts of the county; develop a specialized program that could meet the needs of all students with disabilities within the district; and provide a least restrictive setting for students with access to mainstream programs and extra-curricular activities since the school is located on the campus of Olympian High School.
There are three programs in place: one for students categorized as mild/moderate, one for moderate and one for moderate/severe. The majority of the mild/moderate designated students are diploma-bound with classes located in the Robison Center Wing of the campus with students in grades seven through twelve. Students designated with moderate to severe disabilities range in age from 13 through 22 years with self-contained classes located in the Hawkins Center Wing of the campus. These students earn a Certificate of Completion once they exit the program and have transition plans in place.
Moderate students are taught in a self-contained classroom with individually developed programs. Related services such as assistive technology, speech therapy, occupational therapy and counseling are integrated into the students’ daily schedule according to their prescribed instructional program. Behavioral support and the development of social communication and daily living skills are also emphasized. Class sizes are small with a maximum of seven students in the moderate/severe classrooms and twelve students per classroom in the mild/moderate classrooms. The school provides students with fully credentialed and trained teachers and instructional support staff and a standards-based curriculum that is closely monitored by the principal.
East Hills Academy’s mission is that all students will demonstrate the highest academic, psychosocial, and career skills in order to return and succeed in a less restrictive setting while preparing to enter college and/or a workforce training program.