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The HOPE School

At Jacob's Ladder
SAIS-SACS Accredited
SB10 Approved
Therapeutic Day School

The HOPE School offers a unique educational model intended to serve students who have a complex set of social-emotional, neuro-biological, behavioral and academic challenges. Our HOPE Schoolers are typically bright with deeply endearing qualities; yet they struggle mightily in most educational and social settings.

Our team of Licensed Mental Health Providers, Licensed Specialists in Occupational Therapy, Music Therapy, Animal Assisted Therapy and dedicated teachers serve the individual needs of each child while creating a supportive, nurturing, joyful environment tolearn, grow, and build lasting relationships.

Our team utilizes the latest and most innovative in neuro-enhancement techniques including QEEG analysis, neurofeedback, Neurofieldand intensive listening therapies.

Our kids, who have typically been previously diagnosed with Oppositional Defiance, Conduct issues, severe mood disorders, andAutism Spectrum Disorder with accompanying emotional regulation deficits are NOT viewed through the typical lens. They are understood as the great kids that they are existing currently within a complex interplay of imbalanced neurobiology and learned behavior.

We have designed a multidimensional program that addresses these underlying complexities and in doing so, we have witnessed our kids experience great growth and change.

HOPE resides here-

Come SEE and FEEL.

Core Values


Embracing the possibilities within ourselves and others; trusting in brighter future.


Having integrity in action, character, and speech; committing to what is real and genuine.


Making the choice to value and honor others with our actions; persevering in patience and kindness, regardless of circumstances

The HOPE School

Program Mission

The HOPE program endeavors to strengthen identity, inspire independent functioning and foster group cooperation.

Foundations of HOPE

Strength Based Approach – The Jacob's Ladder methodology focuses on students' strengths rather than their challenges. HOPE students work identify and develop these strengths to apply to everyday problems. Students are encouraged to explore their different assets and "try on" new ways of being.

Developing Internal Motivation – Change through choice is most likely to be lasting. Knowing this, HOPE instructors work to nurture students' internal motivation to make good choices. Students are given natural and logical consequences for their actions and given the freedom to make mistakes. Teachers work to establish a healthy, positive class culture so that students know their efforts are valued

Use of Intentional Play – Students use imaginative role-playing to develop and practice real-life skills in a safe, consequence free setting.


Programming Components

Neurodevelopmental – The Jacob's Ladder Continuum is used as a formal assessment during initial evaluations and annual re-evaluations. The Continuum evaluates a student's neurological functioning by assessing six areas: tactility, auditory, visual, manual, language, and mobility. Individualized programs are designed to fill in the "gaps" of development to improve the way students receive, process, store and utilize information. By giving organized input at the most basic foundational level, we are able to build a base that is critical for higher level learning to occur.

Social-Emotional/Behavioral – The Achenbach Checklist is used as formal assessment to develop a skills based behavior plan unique to each child. Specific strategies are outlined to meet each goal and progress is tracked daily by staff. Teachers "pre-teach" appropriate ways to act in everyday situations to set students up for success. Each week the HOPE treatment team, composed the HOPE teachers and members of the Clinical Team, meets to discuss each child's progress and adjust their goals accordingly. To supplement individual social-emotional interventions, students participate in group Psycho-Educational and Self-Regulation Intervention lessons.

Psycho-Educational Curriculum – These experiential lessons are based on student’s individual treatment goals as well as concepts from Habitudes. Students are encouraged to incorporate their personal experiences into class exercises whenever possible to increase the applicability of the information being taught. Lesson topics include effective communication, decision making, conflict resolution, goal setting, and family dynamics.

Self-Regulation Interventions (SRI) – SRI is the teaching, shaping and implementation of emotional self-soothing techniques that can be used across multiple environments during moments of emotional dysregulation. Self-Regulatory Interventions include tools pulled from Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Academic - The overarching academic goal is for each child to show a full year of progress for each year of attendance. Academics are taught using a blend of individual and group instruction. Formal assessment tools, such as the Woodcock /Johnson and Wide Range of Achievement Test are used for initial evaluation as well as annual re-evaluation. Academic achievement is informally assessed daily and instruction is modified accordingly. Individual instruction is supplemented with material from IXL, a comprehensive online academic resource used in many public and private schools. IXL is a Common Core approved curriculum.

Individualized Curriculum – Each student's academic program is unique to their needs and activities are adapted to meet their specific learning styles. Programs are updated frequently to ensure that students remain at their challenge point. Homework is assigned weekly, allowing for child and their family to work at the child’s pace and family schedule.

Group Lessons – Students participate in adapted group instruction that simulates more traditional educational settings. This allows students to generalize academic skills across environments and prepare them for possible transitions to more traditional settings. Teachers design lessons around integrated thematic units to reinforce knowledge across subject areas. Whenever possible, group lessons incorporate experiential learning components to provide context for the concepts taught.

Vocational – When indicated, students participate in the learning the skills needed to acquire and maintain employment. Vocational instruction can include job placement and shadowing.

Occupational – HOPE receives monthly classroom consults with an Occupational Therapist to cater the classroom environment, instructional methods and behavioral strategies to meet the motor and sensory needs of individual students.


Family Components

Parent Communication – Weekly notes are sent home on Fridays containing a progress report on the students' individualized social-emotional, neurodevelopmental, and academic goals. Each goal has a parent reinforcement component, so that students learn to generalize learned skills across environments and parents gain a deeper understanding of their child's goal set. The Director of HOPE meets personally with families quarterly to review progress and set goals for the future.

Family Expeditions/Camps/Retreats – Students and their families have the opportunity to participate in off site, overnight experiences with a focus on family play and interaction. Retreats provide respite, structured family support groups, experiential leaning opportunities, and therapeutic activities for children, parents, and the family as a whole.

Additional Support – Parents are offered additional support measures on an as needed basis, including parent support groups, parent education, Individual and family counseling, and in-home training and support.


Experiential Services

Music Therapy – The George Center for Music Therapy facilitates a weekly group session for HOPE that addresses individual and group goals.

Art – Our onsite Art teacher designs and facilitates a class art project once a week, incorporating themes from academic and SRI lessons into class projects. Jacob’s Ladder uses art as a vehicle to connect with the local community by creating pictures to display in local restaurants and pieces to contribute to Hide and Seek Art, a community-wide art festival hosted by Jacob’s Ladder.

Animal Facilitated Therapy – Students have the opportunity to participate in structured interactions with the resident JL farm animals and visiting horses. Each animal interaction incorporates students’ therapeutic goals, allowing children to practice positive social interactions and emotional regulation skills that can be generalized to peers and adults.

Weekend Adventures – Students and families have an opportunity to attend Weekend Adventures to participate in activities including bowling, rock climbing, team sports, etc, that incorporate a wide variety of activities that promote group cooperation and personal growth. These outings are designed to be both fun and challenging, allowing students to learn new skills and build confidence. Therapeutic goals and academics concepts are incorporated into these adventures, challenging students to generalize skills across environments.