Stephen Gaynor School is a recognized and respected leader in special education. The unique curriculum is designed to unlock each child’s potential and to address who each child is as a unique learner. At Gaynor, the child is at the center of all curriculum development and professional learning. The strategic plan will support the professional development of faculty to ensure that each child receives an individualized program tailored to his/her learning style and needs.

The strategic plan will support a research-based curriculum that promotes better communication across the divisions. The key initiatives in the curriculum area include:

  • Curriculum Continuum
    Developing a professional development plan and scope and sequence that ensures teachers have the skills and resources necessary to identify a child’s learning style and how to support each child over the course of his/her tenure at Gaynor.
  • Curriculum Development
    Employing a Backward Design approach to curriculum development and assessment through a professional learning path and unit planning.
  • Technology Integration
    Integrating a Universal Design for Learning approach to curriculum development and assessment to remove barriers in the academic curriculum through new technologies to respond to a variety of individual learner differences.
  • Executive Functions
    Ensuring teachers have the skills and resources to further students’ executive functioning skills across all school divisions.


Backward Design
Backward Design, also called Understanding by Design, is a process that educators use to design learning experiences and instructional techniques to achieve specific learning goals. Backward Design begins with the objectives of a unit or course— what students are expected to learn and be able to do—and then proceeds “backward” to create lessons that achieve those desired goals.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
UDL is a set of principles for curriculum development that provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone—not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs.

Executive Functions
Executive function and self-regulation skills are the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully. Individuals need this skill set to filter distractions, prioritize tasks, set and achieve goals, and control impulses.

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