Faculty member teaching students inside of classroom at West End Day School, a special education independent school in NYC

Our Academic Program

At West End Day School, we take pride in our focus on social-emotional teaching and learning and, in turn, our dynamic approach and dedication to addressing the learning needs of our students in a “big picture” way. Our individualized and ever-evolving curriculum gives us the ability to offer tailored educational plans based on each student’s ability level, learning style, strengths, and interests. 

A quick overview of what you can expect from our academic programs:

  • A social-emotional teaching approach that leads with understanding and takes all aspects of a student into account
  • Highly-customized classroom settings with an average of 8:2 student to teacher ratio. 
  • Smaller breakout groups of 3 to 5 students for core academic areas including reading, writing, and math
  • Ever-evolving and nimble curriculum that meets the needs of our bright students who have diverse learning styles and differences, such as ADHD, mild-moderate learning disabilities and/or language differences, dyslexia, executive functioning challenges, and anxiety 


We take a comprehensive approach to reading, using several methods of instruction based on ability level and learning style. 

For students who are just starting to learn about reading and written language, we use Preventing Academic Failure (PAF), an Orton-Gillingham program. This program is one of the most effective classroom adaptations of the Orton-Gillingham method; using a multi-sensory, direct instruction approach for phonics, spelling, reading, comprehension, and writing. In conjunction, we also integrate Great Leaps, a supplemental program designed to increase the rate of reading and fluency. 

For our students who are more fluent, we use a guided reading approach, in which students are reading chapter books and focusing on more advanced comprehension skills as well as vocabulary expansion. This all ladders up to higher-level thinking skills, helping students to learn strategies that allow them to take on more difficult texts independently.

Student sitting inside of classroom reading a book at West End Day School, an independent school for executive function NYC
Student sitting with faculty member inside of classroom at West End Day School, an independent school for ADHD in NYC


Our writing program focuses on teaching students to write in a clear and organized way.Writing can be one of the most overwhelming subjects for many students, especially for those who struggle with executive functioning challenges, ADHD, dyslexia, learning differences, and even anxiety. Here at WEDS, we know students have a greater ability to tackle “the hard stuff,” such as writing, when they feel safe and understood. Making students feel this way is our number one priority.  

Using the Basic Writing Skills program, we begin with the most basic forms of writing, at the sentence level. From there, students learn to write paragraphs using graphic organizers and outlines to help structure their thoughts in a clear and concise way. We thoughtfully integrate explicit instruction on sentence construction, grammar, and the phases of writing as a way to support our students’ executive functioning needs. When students are ready for more creativity and open-ended asks; we move onto poetry, essays, research assignments, and short stories. 

We utilize the Spellwell curriculum for teaching reliable patterns, phonetic elements, and rules for learning around spelling. For direct academic vocabulary instruction, Wordly Wise allows our students to learn grade-level-appropriate words that support more successful comprehension. 


We use a hands-on approach to math called Saxon Math. This multi-sensory teaching method for learning mathematical concepts employs a “spiral” method that perfectly supports students with learning differences to help them build strong foundational skills.

Saxon Math uses a variety of manipulatives and is unique in that it provides repeated practice and reinforcement in a structured way. As part of this multi-dimensional math program, our teachers create supplemental materials, use SmartBoard activities, and incorporate interactive lessons that use clocks, dice, fraction pieces, and coins. For students having a more difficult time with solidifying math concepts, we utilize the TouchMath curriculum, which offers a more tactile approach to learning.

In alignment with our individualized approach to learning, students may receive the Math in Focus curriculum. This curriculum is taught using a mastery approach, where students work on a topic until they are proficient–learning the “why” behind concepts before they learn “how” to solve them. 

Faculty member sitting with student of West End Day School, an independent school with counseling for children in NYC
Faculty member standing with 3 students from West End Day School, a social emotional learning program in NYC


Our STEM curriculum is taught in our state-of-the-art STEAM Center.

Our center provides the perfect environment for our hands-on, inquiry, and project-based curriculum. Lessons are centered around life, earth, and physical sciences, as well as space and technology. Our older students study humanity’s impact on the Earth’s climate. Every spring, we have our annual STEM Fair, which is a platform for our students to showcase their individual or group science experiments.

Social Studies

Our social studies program explores our past, connects our students to the world around them, and prepares them for the future. 

We take a broad, humanistic approach to teaching our students about the ideas, cultures, people, and events that shape our world. As our students move through grades, they will interact with rich content themes that study history, geography, economics, government, and civics related to the United States and the globe. Our oldest students will have the opportunity to dive into different world religions, developing case studies for each through project-based learning. Class field trips are a big part of the entire social studies curriculum, giving students the ability to make real-world connections to the things they’re learning in the classroom. 

Two students sitting together inside a classroom at West End Day School, a private special education school in NYC