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Non-Public School(NPS):
Cleta Harder Developmental School

The Cleta Harder Developmental School (CHDS) is a state certified non-public school (NPS) that strives to provide students with an education that supports their academic as well as adaptive daily living skills needs.  Our top goal is to assist students to reach their highest level of independence, utilizing Discrete Trial Training, Prompting Hierarchy, Universal Design for Learning, and Cooperative Learning; all embedded in a truly individualized education plan (IEP).

The Cleta Harder Developmental School offers a variety of support services available to students based on their Individualized Education Plan, including Behavior Support Services (Direct and General Support), Speech & Language, and Occupational Therapy.  The Cleta Harder Developmental School also employs a dedicated medical professional (LVN) who oversees medication dispersal, manages seizure plans, and provides assistance to students experiencing changes in health and medical emergencies.  Students are placed in one of the following classes based on their age and needs.

Classes and Services Provided


Our first class, often referred to as the Combination Class, lays the foundation of a student's success in Common Core aligned activities and opportunities.  Students are exposed to structured social skills and peer-centered cooperative activities.  Courses offered are English Language Arts , Mathematics, Science, Social Studies/History, Health, Physical Education, Computers, and Art.

Class #2

Our second class, also referred to as the High School Class, builds upon foundational skills while exposing students to activities of daily living such as community based instruction and vocational activities.  Students are expected to socialize with peers through classroom-organized events, while also relying less upon adult assistance through completing assignments and projects in cooperation with their peers.


Our third class is referred to as the Transition Class and the main goal is to increase student independence in all activities of daily life by focusing on student exposure to the community, vocational activities, and peer cooperation.  Students are expected to spend 2-3 hours per day in the community completing lessons, assignments, and other projects with the assistance of their teachers as well as their peers. 


  • English Language Arts

  • Mathematics (Academic and Functional)

  • Science

  • Social Studies/History

  • Physical Education

  • Health

  • Computers

  • Art

  • Independent Living Skills

  • Culinary Arts/Cooking

  • Career Exploration

  • Community Education

A member of the Behavior Team works with a CHDS student to understand the consequences of his emotions.

At CHDS, we believe that every student has the right to an education and higher quality of life. Grounded in applied behavior analysis (ABA), our program is person-centered and caters to each student's individual behavior needs to support their full participation both in the classroom and within their community. Directed by a BCBA, our trained behavior team members are certified in Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI), providing them with the skill-set to provide behavioral assistance to students through non-violent crisis prevention techniques. Through ongoing program-wide behavioral supports as well as intensive 1:1 direct services, our team incorporates positive reinforcement and antecedent-based strategies into student's daily academic routines to decrease maladaptive behaviors and increase socially appropriate behaviors for greater success in all classroom and community-based activities.



Our commitment is to building the communication skills of our students so that they are best prepared to fully participate in our classroom and community-based instruction. At CHDS, we strive to honor all attempts at communication, whether it be through assistive technology (iPad applications, GoTalk, Big Mac switches, etc.), Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), sign language, or verbal language. Through dedicated modeling of language by our team via aided language stimulation techniques, students continue to learn and advance with individualized language systems as they are engaged as active participants in all of their daily activities at our school. Our students all have something to say, and we are enthusiastic about being part of their journey towards being able to share that message.

Picture of CHDS student using a communication notebook.
Photograph of a CHDS student being emersed in a sensory environment of bubbles.


It is our belief that, when provided with the appropriate supports, all students are able to fully participate in all classroom and community-based activities. Our goal is to provide students with the functional skills to participate in their various daily activities, including motor, social, personal, sensory, and fine and gross motor skills, as well as enhance their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment. By engaging students in the activities they need and/or want to do at school, we assist students in increasing their independence and successful participation in academic activities (coloring, cutting, writing, keyboarding, etc.) and daily living skills (dressing, hygiene and grooming, toileting, feeding, meal preparation, etc). We also help students develop and improve their self-regulation skills that could otherwise manifest as maladaptive behaviors or sensory seeking or avoiding behaviors. By providing the appropriate individualized supports, we strive to increase student's successful participation in all their daily activities and promote their physical and mental well-being.

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