Who We Are



Astra Logo and Tag



Why Astra Day School?:

What role shouldn’t trust play?

The most critical aspect of making a choice about where your child spends a significant amount of their waking hours is trust. We pride ourselves in our Early Accelerated Student Education model (E.A.S.E.), our sustainable practice perspectives about our consumptive footprint, our research on teaching children self-control and kindness to and with peers, parents and staff, and our appreciation for fresh, whole food and its origins. But we make extensive efforts to earn the trust and respect of the children we serve and the parents who entrust their children to our tutelage. For example:

  • We promise the lowest student to teacher ratios in the region. For every five students, at least one highly educated, highly trained teacher will be available to help them navigate the social, academic, and world-centered environment at Astra Day School. State regulations allow for more than 10 times as many students than teachers. We believe that this is untenable given our mission and goals.
  • We have an open door policy for all classrooms and children: We don’t need you to make appointments to drop by and see your child or to observe the way we teach, guide, and respect children. Making appointments for tours or observations only guarantees that we will have time to engage in conversation. Otherwise we need no preparation for your visit, nor should we or any other school to which you entrust your child. Many parents of children enrolled at Astra Day School stop by to watch lessons, volunteer, visit their children, etc. And it happens commonly enough that it is not disruptive nor would it ever be misrepresentative of when you are not visiting. You should be a participant in your child’s learning; not just a recipient!
  • Assent-based learning: If your child is engaged with an arranged learning environment or cohort at Astra Day School, it is because they have chosen to engage in that activity. If a child is engaging in behavior that suggests avoidance of an activity, a disinterest in the activity, or a frustration with or difficulty with an activity, we respect that as functional communication and work to make sure that we again regain assent. In order to get the high outcomes we expect of our learners, the desire for education must “manifest like hunger!” (Leo Tolstoy).

Our Motto:

engage • endeavor • excel

Loosely speaking, our data show that we can expect children who enroll at Astra Day School to leave for elementary education after three years (5 or 6 years old) with the life skills and academic skills to function at a second grade level in literacy, eight-year-old language skills, and numeracy skills at a conceptual level that will maintain until their reintroduction in late first grade or second grade. In order to achieve this, we need children to be brave enough to engage with unfamiliar activities, to encourage and embrace novel, unfamiliar concepts, and to conquer them with pride.

Most critically, we expect these outcomes from children who approach them with a sense of camaraderie and kindness that encourages their peers to join them in pro-social success rather than a competitive, socially destructive atmosphere.

engage:

Clear, individualized teaching with ongoing measurement so that we presume nothing.

We pride ourselves on creating learning environments that place children with precision so they enjoy and succeed at every learning opportunity.
We deliver explicit teaching that builds on skills we know learners have demonstrated, and teach the skills required for the next step. If the next step is out of reach, we investigate what component is missing and teach it first. We presume nothing.

Our cooperative learning cohorts, where learners respond in unison to teacher cues, engage children in five-to-twenty times as many opportunities to respond to the presentation of ideas, concepts, and experiences than traditional models that call on one student at a time.

endeavor:

Curricular courage.

The learning environment at Astra Day School is arranged carefully to minimize learner errors. Learning, in itself, is fun because it comes easy, and errors don’t discourage. But learning to tolerate challenges and respond without distress when errors occur is also an important skill. When errors do occur, we teach that making an error is better framed as a “learning opportunity,” and that learning opportunities present the possibility of positive change, which is rewarded by visual systems like charts and other representations of change.
Individualized “Challenge and Change Activities” teach children to embrace the unmastered, best summarized by a phrase coined by Ogden Lindsley as “Curricular Courage.” If the child reaches beyond their current familiar repertoires, they are more likely to encounter change. We want learners to choose to “make it harder,” not “make it safe.”

excel:

To maximize learning for every student, teaching ratios and school resources are dictated by the learner, not the learner’s peers or state regulations.

assent-based programming

A disinterested learner is a misplaced learner, or in an uninteresting learning environment. Learners who withhold participation inform us about the environment we have provided; it is our obligation to teach, not coerce compliance.

learner-based ratios

At Astra Day School, children are taught with the amount of teacher attention required to learn, not just given the number of teachers that are required by regulations. This is true of our highest achieving students as well as more fragile learners.

student-led learning

Individual students determine the instruction they receive. Ongoing measurement, assessment, and consistent placement tell us where a child belongs rather than letting chance put learners in situations where their time is wasted. In a learner’s Challenge / Change Activity, or during independent activity time, learner choice is always honored.

the advantage of a history of serving diverse learners

The Kansas City Autism Training Center (KcATC) is a pioneer in Kansas for delivering intensive behavior analytic intervention services for children with autism. KcATC opened its doors to children without autism diagnoses in 2009.
Because of our diverse population, we average almost one learning specialist for every child enrolled in the building at any given moment.

expanding opportunity to children without diagnoses

KcATC began serving children without autism diagnoses in order to diversify the experiences in classrooms, and to offer our expertise and resources to all children.
As the day school that has grown from KcATC, Astra Day School provides a solid, scientific culture of trained learning specialists and a core belief that every child has the right to learn to their greatest potential.

respect • kindness • friendship

All children are treated with respect, and expected to be kind. Our high expectations are supported by gentle guidance toward the skills of friendship, empathy, and generosity.

Early Accelerated Student Education model (E.A.S.E.)

Astra Day School’s EASE program for language, literacy, and numeracy provides explicit teaching of language as a tool for thinking, problem solving, and understanding the world. Reading is taught through mastery of sounds and blending strategies. Numeracy is taught as something more abstract and engaging than rote counting. All of our methods and curricula are based on more than 40 years of research in education and more outcome efficacy than any other teaching methodologies or materials.

for pricing and enrollment information, follow the link below do download our Interest Form:

Enrollment Process

The Astra Day School is a service provided by The Kansas City Autism Training Center to provide optimal education for every child who trusts us to teach them.

We serve children from ages 2.5 – 12, with state-of-the-science support for intensive, science-based behavior analysis intervention for children for autism, and with a 2.5 – Kindergarten program for kids with or without diagnosis whose parents believe that we are all obligated to teach all children to be the kindest, most prepared and worldly learners that research has demonstrated. At Astra Day School, we ask our students to trust us to lead them, not wait for them to respond to an environment that works only for some.