Program Overview

Lionsgate Academy offers a comprehensive learning program for middle and high school students who have a wide range of learning needs. Our educational philosophy is highly student-centered. IEPs (Individualized Education Plans) and PLPs (Personalized Learning Plans) are developed for each student, as appropriate. Each plan outlines a student’s educational path to graduation and includes specific goals towards completing a high school degree, utilizing one of the four post-secondary options defined under the Pathways/Transition framework below.

A variety of instructional methods are used when presenting standards-based materials. Lionsgate’s individualized approach is based on a multidisciplinary team collaboration that includes functional academics, vocational skills, community-based instruction and social skills.  In addition, Lionsgate utilizes Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in its instructional delivery. UDL is a research-based approach successful in designing course instruction, materials, and content to benefit students of all learning styles.

Lionsgate’s Overall Approach to Meeting Student Needs

Students supported by IEPs are entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).  Lionsgate defines “appropriate” as both the acquisition of core academic content as defined by No Child Left Behind (NCLB) as well having access to learning skills that promote various post-school options.  To address the challenges and the expectations of NCLB and IDEA 2004, Lionsgate:

  • Ensures that content and performance standards are broad enough to meet individual and diverse needs of all students.
  • Extends its assessment system to include all students with disabilities who require accommodations to demonstrate the mastery of knowledge and skills.
  • Uses assessment results to improve students’ learning by changing instructional practice.
  • Actively engages students in their learning by requiring high rates of appropriate responses to the material presented.
  • Carefully matches instruction to each student’s abilities and skill levels.
  • Provides instructional cues and prompts to support learning at an appropriate level.
  • Provides detailed feedback that is directed explicitly to whatever task the student is expected to complete.

Through integrating the Minnesota Academic Standards, outcome-based transitions instruction and the UDL, the Pathways approach provides a multi-faceted framework which allows students to set goals towards completion of a high school degree while preparing for one of four post-secondary options:

  1. Academic Pathway towards College Enrollment
  2. Career and Technical Training
  3. Employment, and
  4. Supported Living

Social skills instruction is a hallmark of Lionsgate because it addresses a significant deficit in students on the autistic spectrum, one that is often more limiting than deficits in academic subjects. Unique to Lionsgate is an explicit and embedded instructional program in social skills which is taught daily in advisory lessons and indirectly as situations arise throughout the day. Social skills areas include, but are not limited to, understanding conversational, organizational and friendship skills, along with conflict resolution.

Lionsgate considers the larger community as an extended classroom for its students.  We recognize that placing teens in a school environment that is isolated from the real world will not effectively prepare them for life after school.  Thus we consider partnerships with the greater community as integral to their education and preparation for life after graduation.  These opportunities permit our students to learn real-life skills in an authentic environment.Middle school students are expected to complete a minimum of 16.25 credits in their required subject areas through teacher-facilitated projects, traditional coursework, computer-based courseware, or adapted subject matter. High school students complete a minimum (depending on their post-secondary goals) of 23 credits in their required subject areas.

  • Students are flexibly grouped according to their learning needs through ongoing assessments.
  • All students participate in traditional math courses and English Language Arts courses.
  • Social studies, science, and the arts may be taken as traditional courses or standards may be addressed through teacher-facilitated projects and seminars.
  • Students can also elect to participate in additional courses such as Spanish elective seminars, music seminars, arts electives, and transition skills seminars as determined through their IEPs or PLPs.
  • Both academic and non-academic goals are built into each student’s IEP or PLP.
  • By utilizing the NWEA/MAP, assistive technology, and formal and informal assessment data (including curriculum-based assessments of individual skills in literacy, mathematics, and other subject areas), Lionsgate teachers are able to develop PLPs and IEPs that ensure goal attainment for all students, regardless of their learning needs.

In addition, small class sizes, a low student/staff ratio, flexible grouping, differentiated instruction and tutoring enable the Lionsgate staff to ensure the academic success of each student.

Academic Credits, Course Structure, and Graduation Requirements

Community-Based Instruction (CBI) and Vocation

Social Skills Instruction

The Pathways/Transition Framework.


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