LEEWAY School For Educational Therapy







School Philosophy

Staffing / Funding




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9 North Almansor St.

Alhambra, CA 91801


Leeway School is located in Alhambra, California at the intersection of Almansor and Main Streets in the building complex of the Alhambra First United Methodist Church.

Lee Sion­, Ph.D. - Director


Russell Smith - Principal

Email: rsmith@leewayschool.com


Lana Chow - Education Director

Email: lchow@leewayschool.com


Phone: (626) 308-4521

Fax:     (626) 284-8176

Executive Summary School Accountability Report Card


What is more frustrating to a parent than a child who cannot or will not control his or her behavior in school?


Children who pose behavior problems rob themselves and others of their educations, their best hope of one day getting a good job and having a secure future.


The staff at Leeway School is trained to assess problem areas and develop solutions for children with hyperactivity, anger issues, depression, defiance, and other obstacles to a student's success.

Parents and local school districts may decide during the Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting that a student may perform better in a new environment designed for his or her specific needs. A student may benefit from a smaller campus of around 100 students, in a classroom with only 12 students and 3 adult staff, where people get to know each other.


Leeway provides a nurturing atmosphere where the staff really cares about the students, while at the same time setting and maintaining limits. Each student is helped and guided in the development of internal self-control and taking personal responsibility for behavior.

       The Leeway School for Educational Therapy program stresses the development of internal controls and personal responsibility for one’s behavior. Normalcy is expected; competency is stressed.


Teachers strive to become trusted people whose guidance, limit setting and criticism are eventually seen as nurturing, helpful and supportive. They work to build the self-esteem and improve the self-image of students. Teachers provide direction, orchestrating activities and discussions which encourage exploration and experimentation.

       Leeway School services approximately 100 students primarily living in the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley regions. Each classroom has approximately 10­­–12 students. A credentialed head teacher and two full-time teacher assistants are assigned to each group. In addition, students receive further support, guidance and training from counseling staff, a speech therapist, and an occupational therapist.


To apply for enrollment, parents or guardians need to contact their local school psychologist and request placement. Testing and an individual education program (IEP) meeting will be arranged. If the IEP committee decides that the student would best be placed in a special education program such as Leeway, a subsequent meeting will occur with the parents/guardians, child and Leeway School’s principal at Leeway School. Funding is provided by the school district at no cost to the parents.

       Leeway School was founded in 1978 by Lee Sion, Ph.D., a psychologist with expertise in special education. Set in the revitalized Main Street District of Alhambra, the school serves the Los Angeles Unified School District and several other school districts in the nearby San Gabriel Valley.

Leeway School resides in a beautiful, safe neighbor-

hood with access to nearby parks. Leeway itself has a gymnasium and a grassy playing field. Our program provides weekly individual counseling to all students. Speech therapy and occupational therapy are available when needed. Transportation is provided by the school.

Leeway School is a small special education therapeutic day school serving several different groups of students as appears below. The common ground among all students is that they function best in a highly structured setting as opposed to a large mainstream public school. The small class sizes and adult to student ratio allows the adults throughout the school to get to know the students on an individual basis. The students at Leeway School all have behavioral difficulties and social/emotional issues with which they need help. The staff consists of special education teachers, counselors, and a speech and occupational therapist. Students are placed in an appropriate classroom conducive to their learning style and needs.



Leeway’s Elementary Learning Center’s goal is to provide consistency and accountability.  The daily point sheet gives student constant feedback on their performance and behavior.  Our Elementary Learning Center is located in a separate part of the campus to avoid influences of older students.  The Elementary Learning Center offers:


•    Dynamic, experienced, and committed staff

•    State standard academics

•    Behavior intervention and modification

•    Group and team building

•    Social activities through games and sports

•    Field trips to enhance learning

•    Class project to reinforce lessons

•    Parent conferences


Students enter the classrooms each day knowing the expectations of academic performance and appropriate behaviors. Every student takes part in group each morning to determine their behavioral goal for the day.  Throughout the day, students are encouraged and reinforced to attain the goal they set for themselves.  At the end of the day, each student has the opportunity to rate him/herself as to how well they accomplished their goal, promoting self awareness.



Middle and High School Programs offer a comprehensive special education curriculum for students with individualized education programs (IEP). The students attending this program have behavioral and learning disabilities. Each classroom becomes its own community, supporting and guiding each other.  All members of the class make decisions as a group, like deciding how, when, and where the class will take a field trip.  Classroom rules are determined with the input of all members of the class, holding students accountable and responsible for their actions.  Services include:


•    Standards based curriculum

•    High School diploma / college prep.

•    Academic achievement

•    Academic remediation

•    Vocational / Transitional Services

•    Sports / Clubs

•    Work experience

•    Speech and language services

•    Counseling

•    Therapeutic component consisting of motivation and goal attainment

•    Problem solving

•    Self esteem building

•    Study skills

•    Behavior feedback and modification




Leeway’s Single Gender (female) Educational Program’s goal is to empower our young women and help them develop a sense of self.  The Single Gender Program is located in a separate wing of the school and offers:


•    Guidance in making better decisions and taking responsibility for decisions made

•    State Standard Academics

•    Behavioral and social development and guidance

•    Celebrating successes

•    Problem solving groups

•    Mediation groups

•    Team / Group planning

•    Field trips to enhance learning

•    Class projects to reinforce lessons


Without the usual distractions of a co-ed classroom, the girls see themselves as capable, productive, and empowered. This model allows our female population to flourish rather than having to compete with the attention drawn by their acting-out male counterparts. The program provides a much desired alternative for many girls, as the special education population tends to be dominated by boys.




Leeway’s Developmental Center offers a comprehensive special education day program for students with moderate to severe global developmental delays, including those associated with autism. An experienced staff of professionals provides a wide range of learning opportunities that foster growth in all essential areas. This educational and therapeutic program promotes:


•    Life Skills

•    Communication skills

•    Social skills development

•    Organizational skills

•    Self esteem

•    Task completion

•    Self regulation / behavior management

•    Consumer / vocational skills

•    Group / team building

•    Academic skills development


The curriculum is highly individualized, hands on and designed to address IEP goals and specific student needs.  Class size is small with high teacher to student ratio.  Independent and semi-independent living skills training are one of the core components of the program. Students are prepared to develop communicative, daily living and job readiness skills.


Leeway Developmental Center offers a comprehensive special day program for children with Intellectual Disabilities who may also be on the Autistic  spectrum with varying developmental delays. The school specializes in dealing with students who have both behavioral and emotional issues. We have a dedicated staff that is trained in using various Applied Behavior Analysis techniques. The school is a TEACCH based program that incorporates within the curriculum Discrete Trial Training, and Pivotal Response Training, and Verbal Behavior Therapy depending upon student need and ability.


At Leeway we believe that the IEP team, which includes parents/guardians, determines the educational needs of each student; data collection is one of the ways we can track progress. Through the guidance of BCBA trained staff, the aides are able to apply specialized instructional techniques. Behavior goals are tracked and data driven through the use of a data collection system known as Catalyst. It is this data that helps drive the classroom instructional goals. It tracks behavior and IEP goals broken down into various skills to enable students to acquire the steps toward achieving their goals, maintain them through practice throughout the day, and generalize the skill in various environments.


Our school philosophy looks to empower students who are non-verbal with communication disorders by applying a Total Communication System in the classroom. We empower our students who are non-verbal with Functional Communication Training and Picture Exchange Communication System to enable them to interact within the classroom environment and in the community. We focus on skills such as functional living skills, basic hygiene, functional reading, functional math, and community based instruction. We apply, within each classroom, assistive communication systems in the instructional environment for those students who can benefit from the use of such devises determined by an assessment done by districts. We teach Life Skills using hands-on experiences when opportunities are available.


Leeway School staff is very experienced in all aspects of special education. As a team, classroom staff and administrators collaborate to provide the best educational environment possible. One of our many goals is to treat every student to explore his/her environment, make choices throughout their day, communicate their needs and wants, and to feel nurtured, safe, and secure.

This executive summary of the School Accountability Report Card (SARC) is intended to provide parents and community members with a quick snapshot of school accountability. For additional information about the school, parents and community members should review the entire SARC or contact the school principal or the district office.

Click to view Report Card