Educational Excellence

Parents/guardians are strongly encouraged to establish a homework/study period nightly for their child. While assistance and structure are necessary, independence in completing homework should be fostered. The school’s expectation is that each student completes his/her own assignments.

The Classroom

All classrooms within Britten School are self-contained and staffed with a student: faculty ratio of at least 5:1, in accordance with ISBE Regulations. The school provides a structured learning environment with high academic standards. Curriculum is based on state learning standards for each grade level and on the individual needs of each student. Materials are chosen and designed to ensure successful learning experiences. Each classroom reflects a fully integrated model of the academic and therapeutic components of the program. Students can be referred for a long-term or a short-term (diagnostic) 45 or 90 day placement.

For a long-term placement, the student’s IEP, Functional Analysis/Behavior Management Plan and Behavioral Assessment System for Children (BASC) guide each student’s progress through Britten School. It is the responsibility of Britten School to develop a plan pertinent to the child’s needs. After approximately 30 days of evaluation, observation, and planning after enrollment, the student’s new IEP and Functional Analysis/Behavior Management Plan are presented at an intake meeting with parents/guardians and the home school district. Britten School’s IEPs include goals designed for each individual student. They are written in benchmark form, allowing the faculty to plot each step of progress in small, measurable units, along with any interventions established to support the student. In order for the student to meet with a successful educational experience, a Functional Analysis/Behavior Management Plan is written to outline and target specific behaviors that the faculty will support the student in improving (i.e. social communication) or extinguishing (i.e. tantruming).

For a short-term (diagnostic) 45 or 90 day placement, Britten School offers pertinent assessments to help evaluate academic, behavioral and emotional functioning. A thorough summary of findings is presented at the 45 or 90 day staffing at which point further placement is discussed.


The ability to complete homework independently and consistently is an essential part of being a student. Students in grades kindergarten through third grade can expect 15 to 20 minutes of homework four nights a week. Students in fourth and fifth grade can expect to have 30 to 45 minutes of homework four nights a week with the addition of a long-term project modified for the lower grades. Students in sixth through eighth grade can expect to have 45 to 60 minutes each day of homework with the addition of a long-term project. High School students (grades 9 – 12) can expect to have 60 to 90 minutes of homework each day with the addition of a long-term project. Depending on the student’s age, either the student or teacher will write specific assignments in the home/school log. The teachers always write in pen and the students always write in pencil. Students are expected to have all necessary materials and return the next day with completed assignments. Homework is designed to reinforce new classroom concepts taught and to provide practice time for these skills. It should be noted that incomplete class work and homework are two different items.

Homework is individualized and is determined by the student’s ability. Completion of homework assignments takes place outside of scheduled school hours.

Parents/guardians are strongly encouraged to establish a homework/study period nightly for their child. While assistance and structure are necessary, independence in completing homework should be fostered. The school’s expectation is that each student completes his/her own assignments.

Academic Support Program

Each day, students who struggle to complete their homework are given an opportunity to complete the work during the school hours. The academic support program is in place to help these students achieve the minimum expectations by providing two additional 30-minute work periods in the school day. Students on academic support are expected to work on unfinished homework, incomplete classroom assignments, and/or test preparation. Teaching support is available to the students during the work periods.

Physical Education

Physical education classes are provided daily to each student in the program under the supervision of the Physical Education Teacher. Classes take place either in the school gymnasium or outdoors at a local park/sports field. Students are expected to dress for gym daily in our standard gym uniform and practice good personal hygiene and grooming skills. Changing rooms are provided for the students and are monitored by same-gender faculty, allowing for an element of privacy.

The physical education curriculum is designed to promote individual physical fitness, teamwork, and knowledge of game rules, recreational variety, and positive self-esteem. Curriculum changes regularly to allow students to have the experience of a number of physical activities. Emphasis is placed on physical conditioning and toning at the beginning of each P.E. class. Direct instruction takes place in developing basic athletic skills and promoting healthy physical exercise. Letter grades are given for physical education classes from the intermediate grades through high school. Pass/Fail grades are used for the primary grades.

The overall comprehensive P.E. program includes:

  • Daily physical fitness activities
  • Team building skills
  • Instruction in many different individual and team sports
  • Acquisition of sound fundamental movement skills
  • Extensive Physical Education tools and apparatus
  • Field trips throughout the year to accentuate the program’s goals

Primary and Intermediate P.E. program includes:

  • Strong emphasis on body movement, skill acquisition, and motor movement development
  • Introduction to key physical fitness components and well-being skills
  • Introduction to games and rules acquisition

Middle School P.E. program includes:

  • Introduction to team and individual sports
  • Increased awareness of physical fitness skills, terms, and knowledge base
  • Emphasis on cooperative and team building skills

Junior High and High School P.E. program includes:

  • Strong emphasis on individual and team sports for lifetime enjoyment
  • Daily physical fitness routines that emphasize fitness and the development of lifelong healthy habits
  • Accentuation on decision-making skills, leadership, team and individual sports and cooperative strategies

Grade Reports

Student progress is reported in two different forms throughout the school year. Half way through each grading period, parents/guardians and students receive an academic progress report, indicating the student’s current standing both academically and behaviorally. Grades of achievement are indicated. This report reminds students to either continue their positive growth or to put forth more effort.

At the end of each grading period, the parent/guardian and student receive a comprehensive report. The report contains grades for the period in all subjects, a complete narrative summarizing achievement in the areas of academics, emotional and behavioral functioning, group therapy (pass/fail), IEP status of all goals, and behavioral analysis. Additionally, students Intermediate through High School receive a detailed computer based data report on grade formulation. Parents/guardians are required to attend a parent/guardian teacher conference to receive their child’s first quarter report card. Junior High and High School students are expected to attend the parent/guardian teacher conference to review their grade report.  For the remainder of the year, report cards are mailed. The school requests that parents review the report card with their child and then sign and return the letter attached to the grade report. Additional parent/guardian-teacher conferences can be scheduled.

Britten School provides a copy of the student’s cumulative grade report each grading period to the student’s home school district. In the case of high school students, official transcripts are available upon request.

The most traditionally recognized measure of academic progress is the grade. The Britten School grading scale is as follows:

Grade Percentage Achievement
A 90-100% Outstanding
B 80-89% Very Good
C 70-79% Satisfaction
D 60-69% Needs Improvement
F 0-59% Unsatisfactory


Students’ quarterly grades are weighted as follows:

  • Test 15%
  • Homework 30%
  • Participation 30%
  • Class work 25%
  • Final Exams are 20% of the final semester grades for junior high and high school students.

Honor Roll

Honor Roll candidates are determined in accordance with the above grading scale. Honor Roll is a two-level designation. A student may earn Gold Honor Roll for an A average (100-93), or a student may earn Silver Honor Roll for a B average (92-85). In the calculation of grade averages, all letter grades are taken into account, including grades for physical education. Honor Roll is announced at the end of each grading period and the summer session, giving students five opportunities each school year to achieve Honor Roll status. Please note that in determining the semester grades for the junior high and high school division, the first grading-period grade is averaged with the second-grading period grade as well as the final-exam grade, which is weighted as 20% of the final grade.

Standards for Grade Achievement

The school prides itself on high standards in academics, growth and learning. It is essential for students to be on time for class and in attendance in program on a consistent basis. Timeliness and reliable attendance are assets that are transferable to all future school and life endeavors. Absences, no matter the reason, preclude students from direct teacher instruction. The occasional absence for illness is expected; however, extended or frequent absences present significant difficulties in awarding either grades or high school credit. If parents are having struggles getting their child to attend school, Britten School faculty is willing to provide additional support and services.

Students who are not in attendance will be expected to make up any class work and homework they have missed during their absence. All students will receive a list of missed work from their classroom team upon their return to school. The students will then have two school days in which to complete all listed assignments. Any work not completed within the time frame will become a zero. During the calculation of grades, any zeros on the record will be averaged in. This process significantly reduces the grades of students who have recurrent attendance difficulties. This same policy applies for any absence. Junior high and high school students are expected to complete final examinations at the end of the fall and spring semesters. Three days are allotted for finals. Should students not be available during the three-day finals period, one day is allotted for make-up exam. Any work not completed by the end of the fourth day will be added into the final grade as a zero.

In accordance with the Carnegie Units standard, high school students missing more than three days, regardless of the reason, during a summer school session will be ineligible to receive credit. Students missing more than nine days of summer school will not be assigned grades.

Chronic, ongoing absences/truancy will be dealt with at the administrative level, between Britten School and the referring school district.

Levels of Testing

During the school year, testing takes a number of different forms:

  1. Periodic academic testing in the classroom includes weekly written/oral tests or quizzes. Curriculum-based assessments are utilized to determine academic levels.
  2. Semester exams are given two times during the course of the school year for the junior high and high school divisions.
  3. The public home school districts may conduct academic achievement testing as part of the re-evaluation process.
  4. Britten School faculty members administer the PARCC at appropriate grade levels on behalf of the local public school districts. Google Chromebooks are available to all students that are required to complete PARCC testing.
  5. High school juniors/seniors take the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE). The PSAE is administered at the student’s school district.
  6. In preparation for the development of the IEP, faculty administers the Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement III: math concepts, letter and word recognition, math computation, reading comprehension, written expression and spelling.
  7. All students are assessed utilizing the BASC-3 to evaluate issues of behavioral interference in the classroom.
  8. The Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS) for assessing students with autism.
  9. The Beck Youth Inventory is utilized for assessing students with emotional disorders.
  10. The Conners 3 teacher measurement is used for students who demonstrate hyperactivity and impulsivity.
  11. Britten School may provide evaluations in the intellectual, vocational, and/or emotional spheres pending parent and school district approval for short-term (diagnostic) 45 or 90 day placements and requests from the IEP Domain Meetings.
  12. All high school sophomores will be vocationally evaluated for interests, skill and maturity level. These tests include Self Report of Personality BASC-3, Occupational Aptitude survey and Interest Schedule (OASIS 2), Career Decision Making System, Revised (CDM-2), Picture Interest Career Survey (PICS), Responsibility Independence Scale for Adolescents (RISA), Casey Life Skills, and Campbell Interest and Skill Survey (CISS).