Functional Skills & Academics Program
Functional Skills and Academics Program (FSA) classrooms are designed for students who need a high level of environmental structure and support, including those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down’s Syndrome, traumatic brain injury, seizure disorders, Cerebral Palsy, intellectual disability, various other chromosomal and genetic disorders, and students who are considered medically fragile. This is the highest level of classroom support that the Northshore School District provides. The average class size is 8-10 students with 1 special education teacher and two paraeducators, making approximately a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio of teacher to student. The students in these classrooms are placed in the Least Restrictive Environment available to meet their specific needs.
Students in these classrooms work to improve skills in many areas including academics, social and communication skills, fine and gross motor skills, adaptive/self-help skills, and self-management in the areas of behavior/sensory regulation.
The staff at Cottage Lake supports the implementation of inclusion. Classes offer inclusion in a number of different ways, including reverse inclusion, mainstreaming, small group inclusion, peer tutoring, social skills groups, etc. (to meet requirements of Least Restrictive Environment). In addition, inclusion with their general education peers occurs regularly at recess, lunch and other school events (PE, Music, Library, assemblies, field trips, field days, etc.). The amount of inclusion opportunities is based on each individual student and their unique needs.
FSA classes may run three Intervention Groups: Math, Reading and Social Skills. In math, groups are broken up by pre-math skills, 1:1 correspondence/number patterns and addition. Reading are broken up by phonics/letter identity and sight-reading/comprehension. Social Skills are broken up by sensory social time (requesting to have access for sensory activities) and turn taking/games. During all intervention groups, FSA incorporates 5th- and 6th-grade peer tutors to help facilitate this learning. Students in the Cottage Lake kindergarten FSA program attend school five days a week for a half-day. Extended Day kindergarten FSA students attend school four days a week, full day. All other students attend school five days a week, full day.