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Welcome to Desert Heights Academy (DHA).

We are a private school serving students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. We are committed to providing an engaging and positive learning environment that motivates students to grow and thrive.


Our mission is to provide a positive educational experience that teaches students the
necessary skills to transition their lives towards success within their community.
As our mission statement indicates, our main focus is helping students transition.
*Transition from academic struggles to academic success
*Transition from behavioral difficulties towards positive and appropriate behavior
*Transition from school to gainful employment
*Transition a failure identity towards an identity of success
*Transition from high school to college or vocational school
At DHA, we believe ALL STUDENTS HAVE A DESIRE TO SUCCEED. For some students, success is right on the horizon, and for others, success may take a bit more time. Our staff is dedicated to promoting achievement in each student, even the hard to reach student.

Desert Heights Academy is invested in making a difference in the lives of students who have struggled in their home school environments. Our programming is tailored to meet the unique academic, emotional, social and developmental needs of our students.

Desert Heights Academy is divided into general classes: Elementary, Junior High, and High School. Upon enrollment, students receive an orientation consisting of a review of our program, rules, procedures, and expectations. This orientation is designed to set each student up for success.

• ENGAGED TEACHING: The staff at DHA uses engaged teaching techniques. These particular techniques offer a powerful way of motivating students to learn and expand their knowledge.

• VOYAGER MATH: Many students need extra support to succeed in math and pass high-stakes tests. Vmath fills critical learning gaps with a balanced, systematic approach, combining print materials, robust assessment and online technology to create confident, independent learners in math.

• VOYAGER LANGUAGE: THE Comprehensive Literacy Curriculum is an intensive mastery-based language arts intervention that targets the needs of non-readers, struggling readers, and English learners. It accelerates them to grade-level proficiency by utilizing a sequential, cumulative, skill-based instructional format that addresses all learning styles

• LINDAMOOD-BELL LEARNING PROCESS: SEEING Stars® Symbol Imagery for Fluency, Orthography, Sight Words, and Spelling Visualizing and Verbalizing for Language Comprehension and Thinking® (V/V®)


The Desert Heights Life Skills curriculum is tailored to address the unique needs of each student as outlined in their IEP (Individual Education Program). The Life Skills curriculum is a real world application of skills that assists students in transitioning between school, home, community and work settings.

  • Classrooms are structured in a way that caters to the needs of a variety of different disabilities and functioning levels.
  • Students’ various levels of functioning will be addressed through the use of several types of activities and techniques.

A key component of the Desert Heights Academy Life Skills Program utilizes the Structured Teaching Approach. Four elements are considered when developing the Life Skills Classrooms. These elements include:

Physical Environment
Daily Routine and Schedule
Work Systems
Visual Structure

Another key component of the Desert Heights Academy Life Skills Program utilizes the Strategies for Teaching based on Autism Research (STAR) program. STAR is a comprehensive program that is designed to teach children with autism critical skills. Desert Heights Academy uses this curriculum alongside of the structured teaching approach in order to best serve and help promote growth in our students.


DHA uses the problem-solving model which includes the DHA team to consider student performance data to identify and define learning problems, to develop interventions to solve those problems, and to evaluate the effects of the interventions on the defined problem or problems.


PowerSchool parents and students have been logging in to check real-time grades and attendance since 1997. Since that time, the PowerSchool parent and student portal has grown in popularity to become the most visited SIS portal on the web.

As a PowerSchool parent, you can check to see whether or not your child is in class right now, find out what tonight's homework is, confirm that last night's homework was handed in, and view your child's final grades as they exist in the teacher's grade book at this very moment. You can also track the formative progress of your child's performance on state standards, register to receive alert notifications, review the daily comments from teachers, and much more. Parents will also have access to monitor student’s daily behavior.


Maintaining a safe and healthy learning environment is the number one priority at Desert Heights Academy. In order for this to be accomplished, conflict needs to be managed in a productive and positive fashion. Since many of our students have endured unhealthy and hurtful experiences of conflict, our goal is to teach them that conflict is part of any healthy relationship and that it can be managed in a productive fashion that strengthens and not fractures relationships. The clinical model provides the necessary framework to teach students about productive conflict as well as other important social and coping skills that strengthen relationships.


The transition aspect of Desert Heights Academy is centered on vocation education. All high school students are given the Kuder Career Inventory and Assessment to identify strengths and emerging skills so they can begin to work towards possible career areas. Students will be afforded the opportunity to gain work experience and employable skills needed for a successful transition to life after DHA.

While in the program, students will be able to identify personal learning styles and the necessary accommodations to be a successful learner and worker. Students will be able to identify career interests and skills, complete interest and career inventories, and identify additional education or training requirements.


The Positive Behavior Management Model is a consequence driven approach that emphasizes accountability, responsible decision making, and prosocial behavior. It parallels real world practices by teaching students that there is a consequence for every action.

Our staff target positive student behaviors, identifying how such behavior helps them transition toward success. Positive reinforcement is frequently used to support students practicing prosocial behaviors. All DHA staff receives ongoing training in Positive Behavior Management techniques and approaches. Our interventions are developmentally sensitive, recognizing effective approaches for each age group.

When students exhibit negative or inappropriate behavior, negative consequences are applied. Our model does not punish nor shame students. We encourage students to not make it personal when we set limits and apply consequences. We explain to students that it is our job is to teach them responsible ways of handling various academic and relational situations and stressors. We teach students that mistakes can offer valuable learning experiences.

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