STEP Program (Special Training and Education Program)
Faith Christian School has had a vision for many years to provide Christian education for children with special needs. It is ultimately our desire–and we believe God’s desire–to reach out and serve all the children that we can, including those with learning challenges. Our STEP teachers and aides love children and feel called by the Lord to serve Him in this area. It is their desire to help each student reach his or her potential while minimizing the amount of time a child is in the STEP room.
We are not able to service every child with special needs due to limitations on our finances, expertise, size, facilities, etc. Admission will be based on the extent to which our resources can help your child succeed. Your communication to us about your child’s needs and submission of records and testing information will help us better determine our ability to accommodate his/her challenges. In an effort to make the most informed decision regarding our ability to serve a student, testing may be required prior to admission into the STEP program. In general, significant struggles of a behavioral nature are more difficult for our program to accommodate. In addition, non-academic services and therapies (such as speech and occupational therapy) are not provided by Faith Christian School and must be arranged by the parent with another organization.
As a private school, Faith does not receive government funding for special needs programs. Therefore, Faith Christian School is not legally bound to follow existing educational plans; however, the goals and recommendations contained in IEPs and other education plans will be considered in the development of a Personalized Learning and Accommodation Notice (PLAN).
In our desire to do all things to the glory of God, the STEP staff will seek to:
- Obtain and review all pertinent previous data regarding your child’s educational history, evaluations and services provided in order to create the most appropriate PLAN for your child. This plan may include student goals, accommodations, recommendations, and other information that will communicate the methods by which progress will be made.
- Perform academic achievement assessments;
- Request further evaluation (Information about suggested testing options can be provided);
- Provide academic and other necessary interventions and supports for your child in the STEP classroom and in the general education classroom;
- Advocate for your child with his/her teachers;
- Communicate with you regularly regarding progress;
- Pray with and for your child.
The program structure will depend on the students and their needs. It is also dependent on the number of students enrolled as full-time or part-time. We tailor our program to the individual students who enroll. It is a team effort. We get input from parents, teachers, and previous testing, and use assessment tools to help us design an appropriate curriculum. Schedules are coordinated with the elementary and secondary faculty to ensure the amount of classroom time that is appropriate. The amount of time spent in the STEP room will vary for each student and will be determined by the STEP teacher. One student might need assistance in only one particular subject area, while the STEP room may be the primary source of another child’s instruction. We want them to have the individual attention they need, but also offer as much interaction with peers as possible in the general education classroom.
Upon evaluation of your child’s needs, the following placement recommendations will be made:
Level 0 – No services needed.
Level 1 – Minimal involvement with STEP classroom and staff. Usually for one specific subject or need. Time will be granted in the STEP room only as there is space available and as resources allow. Students with a Level 2 or Level 3 status will be given priority in scheduling, and time may be reduced for a Level 1 student in order to accommodate students with moderate and significant status.
No additional tuition charged.
Level 2 – Moderate involvement with STEP classroom and staff. Would usually include daily interaction. Majority of the learning would be in the general ed classroom. Parent would expect regular communication from STEP staff on student progress.
Moderate: $1,000 additional tuition per year
Level 3 – Significant involvement with STEP classroom and staff. STEP staff oversees much of the learning of the student, though inclusion in the graded classroom is sought as much as possible. Parent would expect primary communication from the STEP staff.
Significant: $2,500 additional tuition per year
Level 4 – Aide Necessary. Faith Christian School would seek to hire an aide based on the student’s level of need. The STEP aide must apply for the position and undergo an interview. If hired, the aide would be an employee of Faith Christian School.
The aide’s compensation is the responsibility of the parent and would be paid directly to Faith Christian School. A financial agreement must be signed and returned before the aide will be hired.
If a parent is unwilling or unable to agree to the level of services recommended by STEP team, the school may recommend that a different school may be more suitable for your child’s needs.
We look forward to what God has in store for us now as we endeavor to meet the needs of even more families in the East Valley. We would count it a privilege to partner with you in providing a Christian education for your child if the Lord leads you in our direction. May the Lord guide you in your decision-making regarding this important part of your child’s life.
Empowerment Scholarship Accounts
A new law has just been passed for students with disabilities to receive private school scholarship funds. If your child is an Arizona resident, AND is identified as having a disability, AND 1) attended a public school full-time for the first 100 days during the prior school year 2) OR received a scholarship from a Student Tuition Organization, they may be eligible for funds.