Special Education Course Offerings

Special Education Course Offerings

The Compass High School curriculum meets California Board of Education Standards. Our special education course offerings will grow as Compass expands to serve students in grades 9-12. (Please note that course offerings are subject to change.)


Essential Skills Program

The Compass Essential Skills Program focuses on 6 areas: Learning Strategies, Life Skills, Social Skills, Composition, Reading and Math.  Essential Skills classes meet for four hours a week, take place during the school day (as electives) and are included in the tuition. In addition to individual sessions, skills are incorporated into other classes so students can experience the practical application on a daily basis.


This course in composition is designed for students needing additional support in learning how to read carefully, write effectively, cite and reference information correctly, as well as understanding the writing process. Taught in a supportive, small class environment, students work on finding their own voice in the text they write.

Learning Strategies:

This course explores various aspects of learning styles, effective study skills, tried-and-true test taking strategies, and other best practices useful in assisting students to succeed both inside and outside the classroom. Identification and use of what skills work best for each student is focused on in this course.

Life Skills:

High school is not just about learning concepts and topics. At Compass, our goal is to assist students to transition into adult independence. The Life Skills course offers many activities designed to teach students how to effectively make this transition. Students are actively engaged in a variety of skill building exercises focusing on personal, social, and emotional development so that they may enter adulthood seamlessly.

Math Skills:

Math Skills is a course designed for students needing additional assistance to be successful in math. Students will learn strategies to reduce math anxiety, test taking time management, and study effectively. Taught in a supportive environment, students will have in-class time to practice and perfect their newly learned math skills.

Reading 1:

Reading 1 is a course designed for students who need some additional support in literacy skills and reading comprehension. In this course, students will increase their decoding skills, reading fluency, as well as vocabulary and reading comprehension. Taught in a supportive environment, students will be provided feedback throughout the course regarding their reading skills progress.

Reading 2:

Reading 2 is designed for students who need additional reading support upon completion of Reading 1. Working closely with the instructor, students will continue working on reading fluency, vocabulary, decoding skills, and reading comprehension. Students are active participants in their learning, provided with feedback on their reading progress.

Social Skills:

This course teaches social skills in a fun and supportive way. Students learn strategies that promote self-confidence, improve self-esteem, make new friends, and create outstanding opportunities. Through conversations, role-playing, and other social exchanges, students are able to gain a lot of practice that reaffirms their newly learned skills – being ready for their transition to adulthood.



English 1:

English 1 is an introductory course to literature and non-fiction. Critical thinking and composition skills are developed through close reading; searching for, locating, and evaluating information effectively; narrative and analytical writing; acquisition of new vocabularies; grammar, and usage. Students learn in an interactive environment that includes collaborative discussion and presentation.

English 2:

English 2 continues and expands on the skills learned in English 1. In this course, students practice composition (e.g., argumentation and explanatory), critical thinking, and speaking skills. A variety of genres are taught including poetry, short stories, drama, fiction, non-fiction, and novels. Students will have the opportunity to use of digital media to create written and other projects.

English 3:

In English 3, students become engaged with both traditional and contemporary works from American literature. Students are exposed to novels, plays, short stories, essays, poetry, as well as non-fiction. Writing skills are practiced to improve and perfect the thesis statement and other skills required to successfully complete a variety of writing tasks.

English 4:

Designed for students who will be pursuing a college or university degree, English 4 focuses on synthesizing skills learned in English 1 – 3. Emphasis is placed on critical thinking and analysis, discussion, and writing. Reading comprehension to understand an author’s point of view, building writing skills through drafting and vocabulary development, and being exposed to more challenging reading from the classics through contemporary issues are covered.



American History:

American History comes alive in this course that covers the major political, social, economic, and cultural developments of the United States. Students learn about U.S. history from the country’s founding through present day through interactive and multi-media instructional methods.


Civics is the study of the rights and duties of citizenship. Students will learn about U.S. history, branches and functions of government, the electoral process, U.S. Constitutional provisions, state government, as well as the citizen’s role in government. Instruction is given in an interactive, engaging environment.


Economics is the study of the production, consumption, and transfer of wealth. In this course, students will be exposed to the principles of the American economic system. Other topics include economic policymaking, comparing different economic systems, as well as personal, national, and international economics. Both micro- and macroeconomics are included in instruction.


In this course, students will study the physical features of Earth (nature, locations, arrangement, etc.), the atmosphere, and the human population’s role in land and the environment. Areas to be studied include: North America, South America, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, East Asia (Russia), South Asia, Arctica, Antarctica, and Oceania. Students are engaged with subject matter through the study of maps, multi-media, Internet resources, and much more.

World History:

Students enrolled in World History will learn about key events and concepts that have and continue to impact the world over time. Events, facts, names, chronology, and related knowledge are taught using a multitude of learning approaches. More time is spent on learning and experiencing history rather than on factual recall and recitation. Themes that are touched upon include social structures, political structures, global patterns, and others.




Biology is the study of life and living organisms. In this course, students will learn about the structure, function, growth, and vital processes of plant and animal life. A multitude of learning approaches will be used in teaching biological concepts including computer-based learning tools and hands-on experiments. Students will participate in group projects. Instruction is experientially oriented.


Chemistry is the study of the composition and properties of matter. The interactions of molecules, atoms, understanding the Periodic Table of the Elements and other key concepts in the field of chemistry are taught in an interactive environment. Students participate in hands-on learning by conducting experiments and working in groups on projects.


Physics is the study of matter, motion, energy, and force. Students learn about the properties of matter, heat, sound, light, electricity, and magnetism. In this course, students explore how the world works through experimentation, group projects, and other multi-sensory learning activities.



Algebra 1:

In Algebra 1, students build on arithmetic skills and algebraic concepts learned in earlier grades. In this course, students will learn to solve linear equations, translate simple linear relationships into equations, analyze and graph linear equations, solve quadratic equations using quadratic formulas and factoring, and adding, subtracting, multiplying, and simplifying algebraic expressions.

Algebra 2:

Algebra 2 includes the study of more advanced algebraic topics than were covered in Algebra 1. Topics include: complex numbers, first and second degree equations, linear and quadratic relations and functions, graphing, matrices, exponential and logarithmic functions.


Geometry is the study of properties and relationships of points, lines, surfaces, solids, and higher dimensional analogs. A variety of topics are covered in this course including: parallelism, congruence, ratio and proportion, the Pythagorean Theorem, right triangle trigonometry, areas, circles, volumes, coordinate geometry, deductive proofs, perpendicularity, quadrilaterals, and similar polygons. Taught in an interactive environment, students will learn to use and will practice with a compass and straight edge.

Practical Math:

Every day math concepts are the primary focus of this course. Students obtain confidence using the fundamentals of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Math computations used in daily life, such as those involved with time, money, probability, measurement, and geometry, and those using decimals and fractions are taught with real world problems. Math anxiety is addressed by teaching students how to solve problems with various strategies.


Using multi-sensory instruction, students enrolled in pre-calculus will survey topics frequently found in first semester college calculus including: limits, continuity, differentiation, and integrals. Elementary functions, trigonometric functions, and transcendental functions will be used in applications of each topic. Real-world, practical examples are incorporated throughout the course so that students gain experience in how pre-calculus topics are used in everyday life.


Foreign Language

American Sign Language 1:

Students enrolled in American Sign Language (ASL) 1 will learn how to communicate with the hearing impaired through learning and practicing sign vocabulary, finger-spelling, facial expressions, as well as the use of personal space, mime, grammar, and syntax rules. Learning about and being aware of the deaf community in the U.S. is integrated throughout the course.

American Sign Language 2:

American Sign Language (ASL) 2 continues and expands upon the skills learned in American Sign Language 1. Students will expand their vocabulary and grammatical knowledge. Further understanding of the deaf community will be integrated throughout the course.

Spanish 1:

Spanish 1 is designed for students interested in learning the importance of the Spanish language in culture in addition to learning the language itself. Students are exposed to Spanish colonial history, its influences around the world as well as in the U.S. A variety of teaching methodologies will be used including Spanish music, dance, dress, and food.

Spanish 2:

Spanish 2 extends the learning of course content offered in Spanish 1. The course is designed to increase proficiency in the listening, speaking, reading, and writing of the Spanish language. Spanish culture is more deeply explored. Students play an active role in learning through group engagement and other interactive activities.


Physical Education

General PE:

The course of Physical Education will focus on movement, eye-hand coordination, team building, fitness and nutrition. These goals will be accomplished through group exercise, discussion, and team sports. We will be exercising two days a week and playing selected sports for the remaining three days of the week.

Health and Fitness:

Knowledge of how to lead a healthy life benefits everyone. In this course, students learn to make good choices in the areas of physical, mental, emotional, and social fitness. Nutrition, disease, medicine, and exercise are addressed along with goal setting and other skills to use in making good life-style choices.


Game Design:

This course provides students with an introduction to the theory and development of video game design and programming. A variety of interrelated topics are taught in this course including: computer graphics, networking and artificial intelligence, computer architecture, and human-computer interaction. Students will also learn about the history of video gaming, gaming effect techniques, and game play design. The opportunity to create a basic game is a part of this course.

Graphic Design:

Students will learn about the principles of graphic design. Topics covered include: how to create graphical images, how to manipulate photos, and how to design documents and save files using today’s technologies. Using a hands-on approach to learning, students will be able to create posters, banners, flyers, business cards, and much more.


Academic Electives


Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, both individually and in groups. Students receive basic instruction to the field of psychology, learning to apply basic psychological concepts to obtain a better understanding of who they are and how they might relate better to others. Topics of study include research on the brain, the mind, and behavior; sensation and perceptions; motivation and emotion; personality theory and development amongst others.

Visual and Performing Arts

Art Fundamentals:

Art Fundamentals is an introductory course for students interested in learning about art basics. A very interactive course, students will learn and use tools and techniques to create two- and three-dimensional artwork. Topics covered include: composition, color, balance, proportion, and scale. Students will use a sketchbook for collecting ideas and sketching. In addition, students will learn subject-specific vocabulary and acquire a basic art skill set.

Advanced Art:

Specifically designed for students who have already taken a visual arts class and/or who desire to expand their knowledge of artistic techniques, materials, and ideas, Advanced Art focuses on working in two-dimensional (flat) media, such as drawing, painting, and printmaking. Three-dimensional artwork, such as basic sculpture practices and processes will be covered in the second half of the course.


The world of drama is both interesting and dramatic. From very early Greek dramas to contemporary plays and musical theater, students enrolled in this course will learn about the history of theater as well as how dramas are created – from playwriting to acting to directing, stage production as well as theatre management. An interactive course, students will have the opportunity to see and experience a variety of dramatic performances.

Film Studies:

Starting with the silent films of the 1910s and continuing through to present day, this course offers students an overview of films and movies. In addition to learning film vocabulary, how films are made, and the parts of film (i.e., plot, symbolism, characterization, storytelling, etc.), the history of the film industry (especially Hollywood), various film genres, and the technical aspects of film will be covered. Students will enjoy watching a wide range of representative films throughout the course.