Following the admissions process, we meet with each new student and their family to evaluate the student’s needs and review their Individual Education Program (IEP) to determine the best placement for each student. 

Our students are grouped according to age, social skills, behaviors, and ability, ensuring that they are working alongside peers in a supportive environment. We assess each student and determine the appropriate classroom for them. Most students also have a behavioral plan, helping maintain a calm and safe environment for learning life skills, gaining independence, or just playing. We meet our students at their level, ensuring that they are comfortable and can communicate appropriately so that learning comes more easily and effectively.   

We prepare students for their futures, understanding that our students need more than what a traditional school can provide. We ensure that everything we do is educational, functional and practical, preparing our students with the tools they will need to excel beyond the classroom.

School and Community-Based Job Site Opportunities

We partner with several local businesses to provide community-based job site opportunities for our students. Each week, you can find our students at local businesses learning valuable ‘real world’ job skills, such as how to greet customers or bus tables. Preparing for independence continues at school, where we provide opportunities for jobs with transferable skills, including positions at the school store. Each job provides multiple opportunities for learning life skills and problem solving, and we individualize these positions for the students based on their goals and needs. For example, a student that needs to work on social skills may greet customers at the school store, while a student working on their math skills may focus on stocking the shelves or working the cash register. Additionally, these jobs and internships foster confidence, language skills, and self-esteem, while also preparing our students for life after school.    

Healthy Choices and Fitness

We care about the whole person and we want our students to be healthy. As part of our program, our students learn to make healthy choices, both in terms of what they eat and how they live. We have a kitchen on-site where students learn to prepare meals, and other days, they venture into the community, learning to shop for healthy options or pick appropriate choices off a restaurant menu. At the same time they are able to simultaneously hone their communications, social, and coping skills. Staying active is a focus as well. We have a multi-purpose room where our students can be found shooting hoops, running on the treadmill, or playing games with friends. Our playground accommodates everyone, and we head outdoors whenever the weather permits. 

Active Learning and Events

We create a welcoming atmosphere at Sheppard Pratt School in Lanham, incorporating fun activities, sensory breaks, and functional learning throughout the day. Our curriculum is hands-on and practical, and often involves crafts, manipulatives, and technology. Every classroom is equipped with an interactive whiteboard, allowing our teachers and aides to access supplemental learning materials, videos, and the internet. Many of our students also use personal devices to help them communicate with each other and staff. To help encourage social skills, we host events throughout the year, including a Fashion Show, Door Decorating Contests, and Fun Day. We also offer students an opportunity to interact with therapy dogs through our Pet Therapy program. These activities are enjoyed by both students and staff, and we encourage families to participate as well. Families participate in the Boxtops for Education to raise additional funds for special student activities or recreational field trips. In addition, we host Parent Nights throughout the year where we share resources and tools, as we know that extra support is always welcome.