Positive Impact Series: featuring Yosemite Valley Charter & Monarch River Academy Schools

Yosemite Valley Charter School and Monarch River Academy are non-classroom-based, tuition-free, independent study program public charter schools. They serve as transitional kindergarten through 12th-grade students in Fresno, San Benito, Merced, Madera, Mono, and Monterey Counties in California. The staff there takes great pride in being able to offer their students flexible personalized learning experiences through their unique and dynamic programs. 


Additionally, through an independent study program structure, the parent/guardian known as the Learning Coach (LC), is the main educator. The LC is supported by and meets with a credentialed teacher at least once a month to review the education plans, curriculum, work samples, and more.


When Dr. Yolanda Vazquez, Director of Student Support for the schools, was searching for Response to Intervention (RTI) support for students, she turned to Lighthouse Therapy for assistance.


Yosemite Valley Charter & Monarch River Academy’s Experience

“Lighthouse Therapy was the perfect partner to start a new program. They aligned with our RTI vision to support our general education students who demonstrated a need in speech and language”, reports Dr. Vazquez. “In addition, they were the only company who was willing to work with us in this way.”


Dr. Vazquez continued, “When we were facing challenges in finding a suitable partner who was willing to learn about our unique needs as a non-classroom-based independent study charter school, Lighthouse stepped up without hesitation. Their team’s dedication to understanding our requirements and the commitment to delivering high-quality speech intervention services have truly made a positive impact on our schools. Our students now can receive the intervention support they need”.


Our Therapist’s Experience

Perri W. has served Yosemite and Monarch schools for approximately 3 years as an SLP. She’s seen success in students through the RTI model, as well as with the students who are on IEPs. 


“As an SLP, I’ve witnessed student growth in expanding utterances from 1 to 3+ words with AAC, finally getting that hard R sound after months and months of hard work, and drastically increasing speech intelligibility thanks to the complexity approach! These are just a few student success stories that mirror many others we work with,” says Perri.


Perri continued, “I also love being able to have such a close relationship with parents and families. Since parents are typically the main individuals teaching the students, they have a wealth of knowledge regarding how communication disorders are impacting their children both academically and socially. Parents at this site are great at implementing home practice and I love collaborating with them to develop new goals for students. Case managers at this site are also wonderful to work with and have great communication with their IEP teams.”


“The therapists at Lighthouse are patient, empathetic, and adaptable, tailoring their approach to meet the unique needs of each of our students”, added Dr. Vazquez. “They collaborate effectively with our student support team, and families to provide comprehensive intervention. Additionally, they are effective with communication, and problem-solving abilities, and are committed to supporting our students and families.”


When asked what advice Dr. Vazquez might give to other schools considering services with Lighthouse, she replied, “In an industry where finding a company willing to invest time in learning and adapting can be rare, Lighthouse’s approach has set a benchmark. It’s refreshing to work with a team that not only listens but actively engages to ensure the success of our speech intervention programs. We are grateful that Lighthouse is our partner in education.”

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