Rise has six classrooms for 8-12 children, with 60 children attending daily. Rise enrolls about 70% students with Down syndrome and other developmental differences and 30% traditional-learners, a blend which allows special needs youngsters to “model” after typically-developing peers. Children are assigned to classrooms based on their chronological age (ages 6 months-6 years) and educational needs. Each classroom employs a teacher who has a Masters degree, or is working towards one, and two instructional teacher assistants. The adult to child ratio is approximately one adult for every three-four children. A child who begins as an infant will receive 6,000 hours of instruction, intervention and therapy at Rise by the time he or she “graduates” at age six, and will be ready to succeed in mainstream kindergarten and life. The traditional learners benefit greatly with enhanced academic skills and a deep understanding and compassion for people with differences.
As with other aspects of the School, Rise’s calendar and hours are based on the Rise Program in Alabama. The year-round schedule also is aligned as closely as possible with the schedule of our local school systems. The projected days of operation for each year are supplied in advance to allow parents time to plan alternative child-care options. There are planned breaks which include one week in the Spring, two weeks in June, three weeks in August, one week at Thanksgiving and three weeks in December/January. The classes operate from 8:00 AM until 2:30 P.M., Monday through Friday. The YMCA provides an after-care program for Rise Children from 2:30-5:30.
During the typical school day, each child follows a schedule that includes individual activities, group activities, gross motor play indoors or outdoors, therapeutic services as indicated, lunch and rest. Each child’s schedule is individualized so that the day can include as many learning opportunities as possible. The instructional theme of the week for each class is posted at their classroom door.
Rise offers occupational, physical, speech and music therapies using a collaborative/consultation service delivery model. Therapies are provided in the classroom and are integrated into the daily routine to promote carryover of skills throughout the day. Therapists confer with parents and the teacher to discuss recommendations and make referrals for additional therapy services as appropriate.
The School is licensed by the Child Care Licensing Division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Rise receives annual unannounced site visits. The most recent compliance report is posted on the Rise Bulletin Board. Rise School is also accredited by the National Association of Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
The Ashford Rise School functions as an instructional program of local colleges and universities including The University of Texas at Dallas and Texas Woman’s University. Students may participate in a variety of ways, usually working directly with the children in some capacity. Students are closely supervised by the Rise staff. If students are performing any tests or procedures that may be considered experimental or are being completed for the purpose of a thesis or dissertation, parental permission must be received.