Our ProgramsBanyan High School
Welcome to Banyan High School! Our school is a private, non-profit, state approved school for students with significant language-based learning disabilities.
Typically, we serve students whose academic success has been compromised by one or more learning challenges, including:
- Reading, decoding and comprehension deficits
- Attention deficit disorder
- Autism spectrum disorders/Asperger’s syndrome
- Visual/spatial processing disorders
- Mild to moderate cognitive deficits
- Fine/gross motor incoordination
- Auditory processing dysfunction
- Short/long term memory deficits
- Social skills deficits
- Difficulty with organization/study skills
- Poorly developed executive functioning skills
The school offers a departmentalized academic program with a strong guidance and social skills component. The curriculum is adapted to each student’s educational needs and progress is monitored to be sure each method of instruction is appropriate for the individual.
Our class sizes are small, which allows a low teacher to student ratio.
Our reading program offers individual and small group instruction in decoding, vocabulary, and comprehension. Some of the major components of our program include the Wilson Reading System®, Lindamood-Bell® Visualizing and Verbalizing®, Language Comprehension and Thinking (V/V), Conover Online™, as well as additional research-based programs.
Banyan High School offers sports and clubs. Through our partnerships with William Paterson University and Passaic Valley High School, we offer opportunities for social and emotional growth. Our location in the city of Little Falls and our relationship with the community enables us to offer community based instruction and skilled learning experiences.
When students graduate from Banyan High School, the guiding focus is that our students are prepared for life. Our program prepares students for admission into four-year colleges, community colleges, technical/vocational schools, and the workforce. We also offer our Life Academy for students’ ages 18-21.
To strengthen the academic proficiency of high school students with learning disabilities by concentrating on reading, language and communication; fostering social and life skills, and providing the educational and vocational support necessary for students to gain independence inside & outside of the school environment.
High School Curriculum
Improving the Academic Performance of Each Student
Banyan High School Language Arts curriculum is designed to provide services to a broad range of students within a challenging academic curriculum.
Literature and writing are taught in an integrated, sequential, comprehensive program that is both developmental and progressive in nature.
To meet individual needs within the core curriculum, we have included a selection of mandatory courses with a variety of instructional options and optional remedial and supplemental courses, including:
- English I
- English II
- English III
- English IV
- PSAT/SAT Preparation
More Than Looking at the Numbers
The Math curriculum at Banyan High School places an emphasis on differentiated instruction to develop a math experience tailored to fit to the student’s individual needs.
Instruction incorporates a hands-on multisensory approach with small class sizes and direct instruction.
The curriculum is based on:
- Teacher modeling
- Visual aids
- Technology such as Promethean Panels, calculators, and iPads.
A wide variety of classes are offered including:
- Basic Math I
- Basic Math II
- Algebra I
- Algebra II
- Consumer Math
All classes are designed to foster application skills to prepare the student for independence after graduation.
Reading/Wilson Reading System®
An Intensive Program for Reading and Language Based Learning
Our Reading and Reading Comprehension classes are designed to meet a student’s individual learning needs and IEP goals. The teachers utilize a variety of technology and a number of research-based programs.
Students are offered small group instruction in decoding, encoding, vocabulary development, and/or comprehension. Our specific comprehension classes are designed to enhance students’ expressive language and comprehension abilities.
For students who are not making sufficient progress in their current intervention or who may require more intensive instruction due to a language-based learning disability, such as dyslexia, Banyan uses the Wilson Reading System®. We also offer Just Words® for students who are decoding and encoding below grade level.
Wilson’s programs feature research-based, systematic, and multisensory structured language curricula to help every student succeed. Students learn to read step-by-step, starting with the basic structure and rules of our language, then building to more advanced lessons over time.
Reading instruction may also utilize the Lindamood-Bell® programs to develop students’ comprehension, higher order thinking, decoding, and encoding skills.
Our featured programs are The Visualizing and Verbalizing® (V/V®) program and the Seeing Stars® Program. Teachers are trained in these programs and complete ongoing professional development to keep up-to-date with the latest research.
Thinking Like a Historian
The History curriculum is designed to allow students to see how the events of the past have shaped the world we live in today.
Throughout the school year, students read historical documents, complete various projects, and utilize different forms of technology to enhance the curriculum.
In order to expand their critical thinking skills and stay on top on the history being made today, students also have the opportunity complete a monthly current event.
Courses in the History curriculum include:
- World History
- United States History
Exploring Our Universe is Just The beginning
The Science curriculum offers studies in four science disciplines:
- Environmental science
- Anatomy and physiology
Each class is designed to provide students with a comprehensive and well-rounded conceptual understanding of each science discipline. This is achieved by:
- Classroom discussions
- Model manipulatives
- Hands-on lab investigations
- Field trips
- Use of technology such as interactive Smartboard, virtual labs, and iPad applications
The scientific method is applied consistently throughout each of the courses to help students develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Engineering practices and design, in accordance with New Generation Science Standards (NGSS), are addressed in each course to provide a student-centered experience and connect conceptual learning to “real-life” applications of science.
By fostering science literacy skills, our curriculum trains students to develop and communicate their science understandings, and apply these to the wider world.
“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain
Banyan High School’s Economics course provides our students with the skills to:
- Make appropriate personal financial choices
- Understand the role of these choices in society
- Use these skills to enhance workplace productivity and career options
“Music can change the world because it can change people.” ― Bono
Banyan High School’s Music curriculum offers students the opportunity to experience music through performance, music creation, and technology.
Our chorus performs for Banyan and Community audiences. The year concludes with a vocal competition at the Music in the Parks Festival.
Private or semi-private instrumental lessons are offered to all students interested in piano and guitar. Lessons include instruction in beginning theory, music reading, music writing, and ensemble performance. Our classes provide students with the opportunity to compose, record, and edit their performances for self-critique and as a means of personal creation.
Extended School Year Programs
Providing Daily Classes in Core Academics and Summer Fun
The Elementary and High School both offer an Extended School Year program. The Extended School Year program runs for five weeks, Monday through Friday, for four hours daily.
The primary purpose of the extended school year is to ensure maintenance of skills, and to avoid regression or skill recoupment problems that would likely occur, given an extended instructional break.
In addition to providing daily classes in core academic subjects, the program infuses technology, science, art and enrichment activities such as field trips, to create an appealing balance of work and summer fun.
The World Language curriculum offers basic and advanced courses using Rosetta Stone. The coursework allows the students to move at their individual ability levels.
Students learn pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, comprehension, reading, and writing in the target language.
Courses are offered in French, Spanish, Polish and Japanese.
Health & Wellness
“Health is a state of body. Wellness is a state of being.” – J. Stanford
The goal Banyan High School’s Health and Wellness classes is to instill knowledge of lifelong health & wellness.
The Physical Education curriculum exposes our students to various activities, games, sports, and skills.
Our health classroom provides a safe environment for our students to speak freely on health concerns and issues.
The electives at Banyan High School can build a new talent, improve a skill set and provide opportunities for new hobbies and interests.
We offer a variety of electives:
- Fine art/crafts
- Computer Graphics
- World languages
- Rock band
21st Century Skills
Banyan High School’s 21st Century Skills curriculum provides students with the opportunity to learn and practice important skills that will enable them to successfully navigate the complex challenges of life and work.
Freshman Year – Community Involvement: Students participate in weekly field trips to local businesses and different departments in the municipality to become aware of their responsibilities in the local community.
Sophomore Year – Foundations of Industry: Students create and market different products. Students are exposed to topics like product development, finance, marketing, advertising, and sales.
Junior Year – School Store (The Doghouse): Students learn how to run a business. Each student will be responsible for product inventory, marketing, sales, and operation of the business.
Senior Year – Structured Learning Experience (SLE): Students are placed at local businesses for work experiences. Students who participate in the SLE will have the opportunity to identify career interests, skills, and abilities, explore career goals, and develop an understanding of the link between academics and work.
Life Academy – Executive Functioning: This course is designed to help students develop and strengthen their executive functioning skills, including:
Instruction provides guidance to support each student’s evolving skills and encourage self-advocacy and responsibility for the development of their executive functioning skills.
High School Related Services
Building Social Confidence for a Lifetime of Success
Banyan High School has infused Michelle Garcia Winner’s hugely successful Social Thinking® program into our every school day.
Our Related Services team teaches the concepts to our students and the teachers and staff use the language throughout the student’s day in the ‘teachable moments’ to help solidify each student’s social learning.
Social thinking refers to the process of making sense of our and others’ thoughts, feelings, and intentions in context, whether we are existing, actively interacting, or figuring out what is happening from a distance. This helps our students learn how to socially attend, take perspective of others or a social situation, understanding emotions and self-regulation, and learn how to problem-solve.
Based upon individual needs, speech therapy is provided one-on-one or in groups to treat receptive and expressive language, fluency, social pragmatics, and more.
One-on-one therapy focuses on honing individualized skills, which are then practiced in group therapy sessions. Group therapy is provided by two means: push-in therapy and pull-out therapy. Speech therapists collaborate with classroom teachers and other related service providers to push into the classes whenever possible in order to provide language modifications when needed, as well as generalize the students’ speech and language skills throughout various settings. Students are pulled out of the classroom for focused speech and language groups (i.e., social skills, articulation, Banyan TV, etc.). The speech department keeps an open communication with administrators, teachers, parents, and other providers in order to ensure students are using their speech and language skills across all settings and meeting their goals in functional ways, inside and outside the classroom.
Positive Student Outcomes through Guidance
Banyan High School students are able to access multi-tiered levels of support, depending upon the needs of each individual student.
These supports include individual counseling, group counseling as well as crisis counseling. Through each of these services students are able to learn the important steps of self-advocacy. Students are empowered to request support when they feel it is necessary – which is before a problem situation escalates. This helps to teach our students the skill of self-regulation and gives them the opportunity to generalize this important skill in the school setting, prior to finding themselves in a work setting.
Typical topics to be addressed include:
- Social/Emotional Learning
- Development of Self-Regulation
- Problem-solving and taking responsibility for choices
- Conflict resolution
High School Extra Curricular Activities
Special Interests/Special Friendships
Once a month during school hours, students participate in the club of their choice. Our clubs cover a variety of interests and allow students to learn life skills while participating in social activities.
Our clubs are student-designed and led by a faculty advisor who mentors and guides student participants. Students plan, create, compete, explore and exchange ideas which allow them to discover new hobbies and activities. Clubs include:
- Video games
- Board games
Sports & Athletics
Sports and Athletics at Banyan High School
Banyan offers a variety of sporting and athletic activities for students. Accommodating a variety of skill levels, students…
… can participate in team sports like soccer, hockey, basketball, or individual sports like bowling.
Banyan High School emphasizes the importance of developing and maintaining personal fitness goals as well as a positive attitude towards sporting activities.
A thoughtful approach to athletics allows students to enjoy the competition and develop their team building skills.
Our HIB Specialists are:
Nancy DiSalvo for the Elementary School
Angela Randion, LCSW for the High School & LIFE Academy
Faculty & Staff
Get in Touch with Banyan