Estrella Day School
Goodyear, Arizona



Curriculum & INstruction

The Estrella Day School programs develop academic, social, behavioral, communication, life and skills for children, adolescents and young adults with an emphasis on Approaches based on Applied Behavior Analysis. We use a contemporary array of evidence-based ABA INfused strategies including Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports (PBIS) and Differentiated Instruction to educate the “whole child.”


Our Curriculum


GENERAL Curriculum

Unique Learning System (ULS) is an award-winning, standards-based curriculum designed specifically to help students with Disabilities access the general education curriculum.  ULS helps us guide students beyond high school by helping them reach their maximum potential.  ULS lessons are designed to meet the Arizona Common Core Standards and are continuously updated to offer the most current information.  

We utilize many of the programs offered by ULS including curriculum for reading, writing, math, science, and social studies.  We have leveled lessons regarding current events to help students gain an awareness of current events.   ULS comes as a modified curriculum and we tailor lessons to meet your child's specific needs within the curriculum as well.  ULS gives us the opportunity to create meaningful goals and supports for your child.  We have the opportunity to access the curriculum through an electronic or paper version.   In addition to providing this research and standards based curriculum, we implement ULS using discrete-trials to ensure student success. 

Instructional Model

Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT) is a method used within programs based on the science of Applied Behavior Analysis. The idea is to take a skill and break it down into its component parts, teach each part and then build back up to the larger skill. A single "trial" consists of an instruction, the student's response, and the consequence (which depends on whether the student got the response correct or incorrect). This would count as one "trial." Since the trial is quick there can be many repetitions throughout the day so the student will receive lots of practice while learning this skill. Each staff member will teach the skill in the same way. If the student is not progressing with a certain skill, we look at how we are teaching it and make changes, we change the environment around the student so it works for them, rather than expect the student to conform to the way we teach. We can use this method to teach a wide variety of skills in a variety of settings. Staff collects data on each trial throughout the day. We then graph the percentage of trials that had correct responses to evaluate progress over time. There has been extensive research done on using DTT with children with autism and other disabilities and it has been shown to be highly effective. We can individualize the way we use DTT for each student and each skill. The data analysis allows us to know whether our instruction is effective right away. DTT can be embedded within a curriculum lesson plan, a play activity, or be used in a structured way sitting at a table with a student. 

Smith, T. (2001). Discrete Trial Training in the Treatment of Autism. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 16, 86-92. 

Additional Curricula

ELA Curriculum

Read Well® is a comprehensiVE, research-based reading and language arts program.  It helps build critical skills needed to be successful readers and writers. There are multiple entry points so that students can start at an appropriate level based on their specific skills and allows for flexible pacing so that all students can advance at their own pace.  Read Well® builds close readers, proficient writers, and teaches comprehension in an explicit and systematic way. Read Well® addresses all of the following ELA standards: Reading-Foundational Skills, Reading-Literature, Reading-Informational Text, Writing, Speaking/Listening, Language-Conventions of English, Language-Vocabulary, Language-Complexity, Quality, and Range of Student Reading (features content from social sciences, physical sciences, the arts, and other cross-curricular areas).

Math Curriculum

TouchMath® has a Standards-Based Alternative (SBA) Program and a Response to Intervention (RtI) Program.  The SBA program is an alternative to basal programs and is designed to teach all math skills to mastery, while the RtI program is designed for students who need intense and effective remediation by topic.  TouchMath® is developed and correlated to national and state standards and features daily one-step-at-a-time multi-sensory plans for every learning level. Manipulatives help improve student comprehension, and students learn to have fun with math.

Science Curriculum

Science A-Z provides comprehensive science units that include lessons, informational texts, and hands-on activities across four scientific domains (Life, Earth, and Space, Physical, and Process Science).  Units contained differentiated content and flexible instruction.

Social Studies

Pearson myWorld ® is an integrated and interactive social studies curriculum that comes alive through storytelling, literacy instruction, and flexible resources.  Lessons apply inquiry processes, practice reading and writing, and involve collaboration and communication skills. Students will build academic vocabulary, write for an audience, and practice active reading.

Writing Curriculum

Write From the Beginning…and Beyond® is a K-12 writing curriculum that builds on the power of Thinking Maps to establish effective writing.   It meets state and national standards and covers multiple modes including: narrative, expository/informative, argumentative, and response to text.  It also includes a focus on critical thinking and self-evaluation skills.

Handwriting Without Tears® is developmentally appropriate, multisensory handwriting instruction for all learning styles.  It includes new, innovative materials, and fresh strategies that evolve with trends and standards. The curriculum follows research of how children learn best and includes materials that address all styles of learning.

PT/Physical Education

Physical Education lessons are designed around AZ State Standards by Licensed Physical Therapists & Yoga Instructors (trained in teaching students with special needs).

Life & Social Skills

Model Me Kids® is a social skills training program that includes evidence-based video modeling resources for kids.  Videos demonstrate social skills by modeling peer behavior in natural environments. Topics include emotions, conversation cues, friendship, going to different places in the community, organization, and much more.