Our Education Model

Since 1980, Serendipity has been an accredited, nonprofit private school. We are registered with the Oregon and Washington State Departments of Education and approved as an alternative placement for students with disabilities. The following describes various features of Serendipity’s educational program.

Organization of the School

  • Serendipity is divided into a Lower School program, serving students K through 8, and an Upper School program serving high school students. There are some 8th graders better served developmentally in Upper School, and these decisions are made on an individual basis.
  • When enrollment is at or near capacity, Serendipity includes 12 self-contained classrooms. Placement in classrooms is based on developmental needs rather than grade levels. Placements can change during the year as classroom constellations change, as Serendipity typically admits newly referred students through June 1st.
  • When enrollment is at or near capacity, class sizes average 8 or 9 students. Upper School classrooms typically have a minimum of three staff, including the Teacher, Program Assistant, and one Instructional Assistant. Lower School classrooms typically have a minimum of four staff, including the Teacher, Program Assistant, and two Instructional Assistants. The Communication Classroom uses a completely individualized model, in which each student works with an Instructional Assistant. Additional staff members are assigned to rooms to meet the needs of students whose IEP’s call for the support of continuous improvement from an Instructional Assistant.


  • All curriculum is aligned to Common Core and Oregon state Standards and is carefully chosen to meet best practice guidelines in accordance with ODE’s Adopted Instructional Materials.
  • Curriculum is targeted to build skills and independence in Reading, Writing, Math, Science (Physical, Earth & Space, and Life), Social Studies (U.S History, World History, Street Law, and Government), Health, Transition Skills and Therapeutic Recreation. Elective classes are also offered to build vocational skills in areas such as food preparation and gardening.
  • Standard diplomas can be earned, though modified & extended diplomas are more frequently awarded. Occasionally, an alternative certificate is determined to be appropriate. All decisions are made collaboratively with guardians and school districts through the IEP team process.
  • Classrooms also employ a variety of evidence-based Social Emotional Learning curricula to target emotion regulation skills, social skills, health skills, functional life skills, problem solving skills, functional classroom skills, and communication skills.


  • Instructional practices are evidence-based and trauma-informed. This ensures that students learn effectively, through activities that are engaging and developmentally appropriate.
  • Specially designed instruction is delivered in accordance with each student’s unique IEP and documented daily to ensure continuous progress. This process targets both academic skills, and social-emotional skills and behavioral health.
  • Blended learning combines traditional instruction with educational technology, equipping students with future-ready skills and providing learning opportunities that are tailored to each student.
  • Our MTSS (Multi-tiered System of Supports) model emphasizes the continuous teaching and reinforcement of academic and behavioral expectations. This provides each student with support in developing skills and meeting high standards.
  • Predictable instructional extend to the structure and schedule of each classroom. These include the posting of a visual schedule and pictorial representations of behavioral expectations to be safe, respectful, and responsible in every location and activity within the school.

Assessment for Learning

  • Developmentally appropriate, individualized, and continuous academic assessment using a school-wide, curriculum-based assessment program. This allows us to target our instruction on student’s specific skills deficit areas and monitor their progress.
  • A school-wide performance tracking software system allows daily monitoring of behavioral progress on IEP goals and Behavior Support Plan goals, as well as documenting other incidents.

Classroom Environment & Culture

  • All classrooms facilitate a morning circle each morning and a closing circle at the end of the day. The morning circle consists of a check-in, establishing structure and routine for the day, and community building. The closing circle reflects on the day and celebrates successes big and small.
  • Implementation of MTSS and CHAMPS models promote a positive school environment and help us modify the environment and context of our school to promote student learning in all areas, including the transportation protocols, garden & farm, dining room, hallways, and classrooms.
  • Special celebrations including dances, field day, harvest festival, family events, the Talent Show, and Graduation and Awards ceremonies bring joy and connection to our school culture.