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The Transition Program is designed for students that have graduated from high school and decided to defer the receipt of their standard diploma. The purpose of the program is to prepare students for an Independent or Supported living with  different skills like:

  • Independent Daily Living skills
  • Vocational Skills
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Community Services

Our goal with the participants of the Transition Program is to help them become as independent as possible. This program focuses on daily activities such as:

  • Preparing simple meals
  • Laundry
  • Sorting Utensils, towels and clothing
  • Cleaning around the house
  • Safety Procedures in and out the house
  • Ground Maintenance
  • Recycling
  • Shredding

Each student is provided with an individualized educational program to meet their unique needs. Family members play an integral part in the design of the student’s educational experience. Major curriculum domains are: communication, independent functioning, academics and social emotional development.

We exclusively offer modified standards based instruction for students in the K-12 grades. The Florida state standards are called Access Points that mirror the Florida State standards at a reduced level of complexity. Instructional programs used are research based on students with significant cognitive disabilities such as Picture Exchange Communication System, Early Learning Science, PCI reading program, Me-Ville to We-Ville reading program, Touch Math, Able-Net Math and Handwriting without Tears.

KMSA has established Leaders at Work Academy for students who have exited the high school program. This academy is a transition program that’s purpose is to prepare students and their families for their after school life.

There are two paths within the transition program. Path one focuses on the development of life skills, employ-ability skills, transition portfolio development, maximizing the levels of independent functioning skills, and functional communication skills by providing authentic campus based experiences / enterprises such as:

  1. Bistro sandwich and coffee shop
  2. Laundry Services
  3. Clerical Services
  4. Housekeeping
  5. Grounds Maintenance
  6. Greeting Card Production
  7. Take Flight Catering
  8. Volunteering at local food drives

The second path of the adult program emphasizes the mastery of self-help, daily living and communication skills.  This maximizes each student’s ability to be an active participant in their home and community life with minimal supports.

All students in the Leaders at Work program are exposed to a wide variety of leisure activities. Students are encouraged to choose the leisure activities they prefer to further develop independence in engagement of the activity.

In both paths, families are connected with agencies that provide services for adults with disabilities. Our goal is that each student who exits our transition program will be connected to adult post school programs.

Occupational and physical therapy services are based on current best practices recognized by the American Occupational Therapy Association and the American Physical Therapy Association.  Additionally, these essential practices are guided by Federal Law and requirements of IDEA (Individual with Disabilities Education Act – U.S. Dept of Education 2010).

*Occupational and Physical Therapists:

  • Assist the student in benefitting from the educational program
  • Provide services in the least restrictive environment
  • Work on behalf of the student with the teacher and others who are involved with the student
  • Work a continuum of settings including classroom PE, cafeteria, busing and other school settings
  • Work from a strengths-based rather than a deficit perspective
  • Work with the student rather than doing “to” the student
  • Ensure all efforts are directed toward enabling the student to participate in the school environment, curriculum and social aspects of being a student at school.


*Adapted from Best Practices for Occupational Therapy in Schools, American Occupational Therapy Association Press 2013

The Positive Behavior Assistance team designs interventions for students that include instructional programming, medical / health assessment, behavioral programming that addresses the students’ social and emotional needs. This team consists of teachers and administrative staff. The emphasis for managing student behavior at KMSA is to change the environment, making the problem behavior irrelevant and to manipulate the consequences to ensure appropriate behaviors are consistently and powerfully reinforced rather than the problem behavior. The Positive Behavior Assistance team members are certified in Professional Crisis Management.

KMSA staff believes that relationship building founded in trust and respect is the cornerstone of our social/ emotional curriculum and all other programs and interventions are secondary.

The words “a special design” is a simple and perfect explanation of our PE classes. We take traditional activities and adjust or “adapt” them to meet our students’ developmental and physical abilities.

For example, volleyball can be played with a lower net or by allowing one bounce. Softball can be played with a soft Incediball, with a batting tee, or even with a plastic whiffleball and a jumbo bat. Cycling can be on a two wheeler or an adult tricycle. In additional, students with severe physical disabilities experience activities designed for relaxation, increase range of motion and facilitate healthy body alignment activities.

The most important activities that are taught are ones that can be enjoyed and participated in outside of school and for years to come. For example: cycling, hiking, swinging, playing ball, dancing, etc.


Communication skill development is addressed with all KMSA students throughout their school day during instructional times as well as leisure times. We promote communication amongst peers as well as with our teaching staff.  KMSA typically has 2 Speech-Language Pathologists or Speech-Language Pathology Assistants who work in conjunction with our teaching staff to promote learning in the areas of understanding and expression of communication with our students.

Visual supports are an important part of our program as these materials can greatly help students to increase their focus on learning.  Some of these supports include use of: first/then boards,”working for” cards, choice boards, visual schedules, “wait” cards, visual timers, social stories, rating scales, contingency maps, etc.

A wide variety of alternative and augmentative assistive technology is used with our students to aid them in learning to  communicate. Communication technology can include equipment from single message devices up to and including devices which can be used for conversational speech. We place a strong emphasis on helping our students learn to communicate in whatever manner is best for them and helps them to develop communication up to their own optimal level of communication.  This focus may include working on speaking, use of pictures or object choices, the Picture Exchange Communication System – (PECS), use of core and fringe vocabulary boards  as well as the use of a large variety of low tech and high tech voice output communication devices.  Our focus is on teaching  communication independence to whatever extent is possible.  We look at each individual student and work with our teaching staff to find and develop each student’s best way to improve and develop their receptive and expressive communication skills over time.


Here at Karen M. Siegel Academy, we believe that technology is the future.  All of our students love using technology to learn.  We employ the use of instructional technology to support academics.  Most classrooms are outfitted with interactive white boards that keep students engaged and actively participating in lesson activities.  All KMSA teachers have a tablet that is used for instruction and data collection.

Many of our students also use assistive technology to communicate.  Assistive technology can be further broken down into alternative augmentative communication devices which ranges from a student communicating by pointing at a picture to a student using a tablet with communication software.  We strive to understand what type of AAC a student will use best.  For more information about assistive technology, refer to the Florida Department of Education Technical Assistance Paper.

In addition to our assistive and instructional technology, our school airs a weekly news show.  First In Flight News promotes student driven content as well as information that is academically enriching.  The focus of the production crew is on developing writing skills, presentation skills, and the practical application of technology. The news show also presents great information for staff members to keep up-to-date on such as upcoming events.  The news show contains elements that are aired consistently such as:

  • The Pledge of Allegiance
  • School Mission Statement
  • Lunch Menu
  • Weather Report
  • Word of the Week
  • Upcoming Events
  • What’s Going On in Sports
  • Entertainment News
  • This Week In History

We also have featured content which may include but is not limited to:

  • Event Highlights
  • Commercials
  • Health and Safety Tips
  • New Staff Introductions
  • Current Events
  • This Day In History
  • Communication Student of the Month
  • Award Showcase
  • Skill Demonstration
  • Much more