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From our search for curriculum over the years and feedback we’ve received from administrators and teachers using or observing the Functional Academics Program, it is more comprehensive (covers 14 key functional academic areas in multi-lesson depth) in its approach to real-world skills. It was entirely created by teachers who were teaching at the time of publication. In contrast to many other programs, the Functional Academics Program clearly emphasizes functional academics and spans from kindergarten through transition. The Program also has a uniquely effective way of linking assessment and movement through the curriculum for steady student progress at an individualized pace. Plus, it supports continuity between special education programs across the district because it can be used at every grade level. This is also one of the few programs that not only provides all lesson plans, data sheets, and forms to build a student portfolio, but it also provides teachers with the teaching materials needed to administer the assessment and run the curriculum lessons, saving teachers hours of time and energy creating materials.

​Based on longitudinal records on our students over many years and feedback from parents and others, the Functional Academics Program provides the opportunity for people with disabilities to develop the skills they need to be successful at their optimum level. Students learn to be as independent as possible, and they become more confident in life. 

See Success Stories to hear more about how the Functional Academics Program stands out among other special education curricula. 

Yes! The Student Assessment allows you to determine each student’s Present Levels of Performance (PLOPs), in other words, where the student is in a particular skill area. Then each skill area of the assessment and curriculum provides a flow chart that tells you exactly what programs to teach. Each program’s lesson plan contains a long-term goal and gives an example of a short-term objective that is a step in meeting the long-term goal. The program data provides on-going, up-to-date documentation of progress on IEP goals. In addition, districts are provided with all goals written in detailed form on an Excel spreadsheet for easy uploading into most IEP systems. The Excel spreadsheets are modifiable so districts can change the verbiage to match district-specific criteria, and at the same time, ensure students are working on meaningful IEP goals backed by concrete data. To see sample IEP goal banks, click here

The Functional Academics Program helps teachers create rigorous and challenging learning opportunities for students with mild, moderate, and severe disabilities, including autism. This type of learning environment makes it possible for students to achieve ability-appropriate success in meeting relevant standards, like the Common Core State Standards or other state-developed standards. In addition, many states successfully align the Functional Academics goals and objectives to document levels of performance on their alternate assessments based on read more

The Elementary and Secondary levels of the Functional Academics Program are structured to work together seamlessly. The content areas which both levels have in common are taught in such a way that the Secondary builds on the Elementary to provide an easy transition from Elementary to Secondary classrooms. Both were created with the understanding that special education students of all ages function at significantly different levels. Included in the Implementation Tools section of the Curriculum is a Cross-Reference Chart that displays the relationship between the Elementary and Secondary content areas and assessment levels. Students will make progress at different rates in different content areas. The rate of skill acquisition will vary across students but should be consistent and steady when materials are sequenced and implemented as designed.

We believe students should be placed in age-appropriate curricula regardless of ability level. Therefore, it is recommended teachers begin the Secondary program with middle school students as they will benefit most from working on the skills presented in this curriculum. This is true even if teachers believe a secondary student is “functioning at an elementary level.” As students get older, it becomes increasingly important for teachers to focus on the critical components of each student’s program rather than concentrate on skills that will not serve students once leaving the school system. 

Each section that is assessed is linked to at least one lesson in the Curriculum that is designed to address the deficits identified by the corresponding assessment. Each section of the Assessment and Curriculum includes a flow chart that directs you to the appropriate skill in the sequence to teach. For instance, if your student can count by ones to ten in the assessment, the flow chart directs you to teach Bills: Money Math E2 (Elementary), C2 (Secondary), which is teaching the student to use money with the next-dollar (up) strategy. In addition, the flow chart refers you to the Community-Based Training (CBT) programs that apply the skills in the community. In this example, if a student has the skill to count by ones and you are teaching him the next-dollar strategy in the classroom, you will also have programs to teach that skill in grocery stores and restaurants. 

The short answer is yes! The authors have incorporated strategies within the Instructional Guidelines for adjusting the level of complexity in order to reach students of all abilities. The primary focus of the Functional Academics Program is to provide individualized instruction for each student. This means it’s going to look different depending on the needs of each child. For the long answer click here

Sections of the Functional Academics Program are being used with students who do not belong in a self-contained special education program but struggle in certain resource/high incidence classes. Because of the Program design, it’s easy to find a section that is more appropriate for these students in a particular area and simple to implement because of the easy-to-follow, fully explanatory lesson plans. In any classroom, the beauty of using the Functional Academics Program is that you can use the entire curriculum for one student and just a few sections for another student. The actual skills you teach a student will be driven by his or her annual IEP goals or other goals you have for the student. What you teach each student in the sequence of a particular skill area will depend on the assessment results. The flow chart in each section will help you determine where to start in the skill sequence.

Trained paraeducators, and general education peer tutors, have proven to be able to use the Functional Academics Program effectively with students. Once teachers are familiar with the Functional Academics Program, they can train, as well as supervise, the paraeducators and peer tutors in their classrooms. This adds to the teacher’s ability to manage and provide meaningful instruction to the wide range of student capabilities and provides more time to address IEP goals and objectives. Paraeducators are encouraged to be trained alongside teachers whenever possible, but because we know this can’t always happen, the authors have created Effective Strategies for Working with Paraeducators and the companion Paraeducator HandbookAlso available is the Teacher’s Guide to Peer Tutoring and the companion Peer Tutor Student Handbook. These resources are designedto get the whole team on board and working collaboratively to serve students.

As teachers first, the authors are committed to ensuring the successful implementation of the Program and offer several training options including webinars, in-person trainings, and Train-the-Trainer where participants become implementation trainers providing district sustainability and increased program fidelity. All of our trainers are current or past educators or administrators who have used the program in their own classrooms and have trained others across the country to implement it. The trainers’ extensive experience teaching students with moderate to severe disabilities makes them an invaluable resource for districts new to the Program. Staff are always on hand to meet with teachers, answer questions, and brainstorm next steps. 
In addition, educators are given access to six detailed training videos with the purchase of the Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics.

Ask us about our limited time FREE training incentive!​
Visit our training page for more information.

Each classroom/teacher needs his or her own Teaching Package and each student needs his or her own Student Package, which follows the student grade to grade, teacher to teacher. Teaching Packages are a one-time purchase as all materials are reproducible. The only time districts repurchase Student Packages is when students move from Elementary to Secondary or when new students enter the district. 

For print details and pricing, click here.

For a detailed quote, click here.

Register for a FREE Functional Academics Digital Trial!Click Here


SDES has teamed up with Mundo Pato, Inc., our cloud publishing partner, to create a simple and affordable solution for special educators to use during this critical time.

The Virtual Teaching Materials are a separate supplemental purchase that will greatly enhance the Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics ​or can be used on its own.

Virtual Teaching Materials Pricing 1st year: $1000 non-recurring configuration fee plus 12 x monthly charge.

Per Month
Per Year*


































Monthly subscription charge is based on a minimum of 100 students ​and increases by $125 per group of 25 additional students.

Scheduling Tip

Find a student in your classroom who can read and understand your master schedule. Assign them a job in the morning to help set up individual student schedules. See the video of Megan setting up the schedule.
Play Video
Suzanne’s student Megan was her Teacher’s Assistant first period during her junior and senior year. One of her jobs, among other clerical tasks, was to set up individual student schedules. It saved Suzanne prep time in the morning and was a great vocational experience for Megan.

SDES has teamed up with Mundo Pato, Inc., our cloud publishing partner, to create the full Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics in the cloud. *The Styer-Fitzgerald Program in the Cloud Start-Up Fee: a $6000 non-recurring start-up fee will be added to the first year subscription only.

Cloud Pricing

Per Month
Per Year*
Monthly subscription charge is based on a minimum of 100 students ​and increases by $125 per group of 25 additional students.