Sierra Academy of Scottsdale (AZ)

Sierra Academy of Scottsdale

Sierra Academy of Scottsdale school
17800 N. Perimeter Drive, #110
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
Phone: 480-767-8659
Fax: 480-767-9776
School Director
Debra Watland
debra watland


The Sierra Academy of Scottsdale, Arizona, serves students in grades K–12 who have been unsuccessful in traditional classrooms, who learn differently, and/or who have identified learning disabilities. Our students may have learning disabilities in the areas of speech/language, auditory processing, central auditory processing, sensory integration, social skills deficits, neurological or other health impairments, or any combination of the above. Additionally, they may also suffer from low self-esteem related to previous school failures. But at the Sierra Academy of Scottsdale, they will find a place where they can grow and achieve success through our highly individualized curriculums that follow all state and local requirements and that have been customized for students to reach their highest capacities.

Our school program includes:

  • Occupational Therapy & Sensory Integration
  • Speech-Language Therapy
  • Small Class Sizes
  • Small-Group Instruction / Specialized Programming
  • Social Skills Training
  • Counseling Services
  • Life Skills Training
  • Schoolwide Behavior Management System

At the Sierra Academy of Scottsdale, we want students to experience success in the classroom as swiftly and effectively as possible. We start by helping each child master achievable skills and problems. Once those initial academic goals are attained, students feel more excited about learning. Gradually, we introduce more challenging material—never overwhelming the student. In this way, children are able to feel successful in the classroom, some for the first time in their lives. This sense of accomplishment translates to improved self-confidence, which in turn motivates the student to aim for higher levels of achievement. The student starts to trust both the educational process and the educators and feels supported enough to risk taking on new learning challenges. It’s a continuous positive cycle of learning and advancement; and in our experience, this approach not only helps to reverse the negative self-image many children come to us with, but it carries over into other facets of their lives as well.

Complementing our comprehensive academic program is our renowned Life Skills program (for students up to age 22), designed to prepare high school students to enter the community. Through our hands-on, interactive approach, students are exposed to basic life and vocational skills that apply to real-world settings. Students explore these skills—many of which are directly in line with their Individualized Educational Plans— through a theme-based program. They are responsible for creating their own portfolio (including such items as a current résumé, sample job applications, sample job interview questions), and they acquire both a library card and an Arizona ID card. Sierra’s Life Skills program utilizes “experience-based learning” that stresses direct participation in order to increase motivation, acquisition, and retention of the skills being taught.

Above all else, for all students who need an alternative setting to achieve their potential, the Sierra Academy of Scottsdale strives daily to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment.

The Sierra Academy of Scottsdale is fully accredited for grades K–12 by the Schools Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC, Accrediting Commission for Schools, 533 Airport Blvd., Suite 200, Burlingame, CA 94010; phone: 650-696-1060).