Spectrum



Partnering with 100+ districts across the country to serve almost 2,000 students

in grades K-12+ with autism, emotional disabilities, and intellectual disabilities


  • Expertise in delivering standards-based educational programs & behavioral health services
  • Accountable for learning outcomes & progress on IEP goals
  • Contain costs of special education & related services

About Spectrum Center Schools

Spectrum Center Schools is a division of Educational Services of America (ESA), the nation's leading provider of special and alternative education.

Spectrum partners with school districts to provide special education and related services for school-age students with autism, emotional/behavioral disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and other disabilities which require intensive academic, behavioral, communication, and therapeutic services. The partnership models vary slightly across Spectrum Center Schools according to the unique needs of the school district. However, the motivation behind our instructional and behavioral service delivery remains constant - help districts keep their students in district schools or programs by providing high quality educational services.

Spectrum teachers provide rigorous instruction on grade-level standards for those students whose IEPs indicate the need to participate in the same large-scale assessments as students without disabilities. Other students enrolled in our schools and programs have more intensive educational needs and require multiple ways to learn and demonstrate knowledge. For these students, Spectrum utilizes the proven and student-centered instructional method of direct instruction as well as various approaches that fall under the methodology of applied behavior analysis such as discrete trial training, pivotal response training, functional communication training, and teaching functional routines. Spectrum Center Schools are known for the quality of their research-based, data-driven programs and earned the highest rating given by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

District Partners

Spectrum operates approximately 25 centers and partners with more than 100 school districts. Most of our current centers are located throughout California. Our district partners differ across demographic variables such as size, location, and family income. However, one thing all of our partners had in common prior to partnering with Spectrum is that they desired different outcomes for their students who require intensive and highly specialized educational services. Spectrum worked closely with these partners over several months to determine if Spectrum could provide the change that our district partners were seeking. The following list includes challenges that many of our current district partners were experiencing prior to partnering with Spectrum Center.

  • Academic and behavioral outcomes for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and/or intellectual disabilities were falling short of stakeholder expectations despite significant time and resources being allocated to these students.
  • Challenges with designing and delivering an educational program with rigor and high expectations for students who were not responding favorably to behavioral and/or therapeutic services provided by the district school.
  • Staffing models were not robust enough to reduce the occurrences of disruptive, aggressive, and self-injurious behavior on their school campuses.
  • Difficulty maintaining qualified staff to support students who need highly specialized behavioral and therapeutic services.
  • Limited capacity of classroom teachers, instructional aids, and related services personnel to deliver an instructional program uniquely designed for students who often display problem behavior to avoid challenging work demands and/or obtain a preferred item, task, or activity.
  • Insufficient curricular and instructional resources to support students with minimal to no verbal communication skills and limited intellectual capacity.
  • Students with the most intense therapeutic or behavioral needs were experiencing long bus rides to receive special education and related services, which often triggered problematic behavioral episodes.
  • Costly out-of-district placements to provide services to a small group of students who require an intensive behavioral/therapeutic program.
  • Return rate of students in out-of-district placements was less than district's expectations.
  • District was continually responding to complaints, requests for mediation or due process, or pressure from parents and educational advocates regarding FAPE and/or placement for high needs students.
  • Some school administrators lacked the technical capacity and specific knowledge needed to be instructional leaders at a school designed for high needs students.

Spectrum Partnership Models

Spectrum offers a variety of partnership models and tailors services based on districts' specific needs. Spectrum operates fully functional schools either on a public school campus or in a location in the community that is agreeable to our district partners. Additionally, districts engage Spectrum for our Collaborative Classrooms model. This model allows Spectrum and district partners to design an educational solution that is less restrictive than a separate school but still intensive enough to meet the challenging educational and behavioral needs of students with disabilities. Students who receive services in one of Spectrum's Collaborative Classrooms get the individualized attention they require and still have access to school activities with their peers in the general school program. More information on the different types of partnership models are provided below the map in the adjacent column.

Collaborative Classrooms

Watch this 10 minute video to learn more about Spectrum's Collaborative Classrooms

©2012 | Spectrum Center | 16360 San Pablo Ave. | San Pablo, CA 94806-1242 | (510) 741-5440