Academic Approach


Individualized Learning in a Nurturing Environment

Students who come to Crotched Mountain enter a world of acceptance, personal attention and unparalleled teaching excellence. We offer individualized education and enrichment for students with disabilities at learning levels pre-K-12. Our mission is to help every student reach his or her potential academically, behaviorally, socially and vocationally.


All instruction is guided by best practices and grounded in evidence-based teaching. All teachers, assistants and administrators are trained in Gentle Teaching, a philosophy of attending to others so that learning and healing happens in the context of a trusting, respectful and authentic relationship.



Teachers are skilled at adapting and modifying the curriculum and materials for students with a wide range of abilities – both cognitive and physical. Following the principles of universal design for learning, our educators develop curriculum that provides all students with equal opportunities to learn, while adjusting the approach for each student's individual needs. We also use universal design principles in incorporating technology into the classroom, such as pairing iPad apps with white boards, to ensure that each student can fully access the curriculum. And whenever needed, our assistive technology experts are on-hand to create specialized switches or devices to ensure that students can physically access the task at hand.


Low staff-to-student ratios allow us to accommodate many learning levels and styles with a 3-tiered curriculum. There is flexibility, allowing students to learn different academic skills at different tiers:


Tier 1: Foundational skills

Based on the New Hampshire Early Learning Curriculum Guidelines, tier 1 gives students the foundational skills they'll need to participate in the General Curriculum, including cognitive, communication, literacy skills, emotional and social awareness, and physical development.


Tier 2: Life Skills

Focused on life skills, all studies are applied to real-world situations. For example, math lessons may focus on using measurements, handling money, or comparison shopping.


Tier 3: High School Credits

For students who are working toward high school credit or are of high school age and participating in the general curriculum set by the State of New Hampshire. Students who meet state requirements are awarded an accredited high school diploma.



Students are encouraged to explore areas of interest and invest in their own learning. Academic and skill-building activities are woven into the curriculum throughout the day.


Performing and Visual Arts

Performing and visual arts are a vibrant part of our students' experience, both during the day and after hours. Special activities also include the school play, talent show, chorus, art openings and artist-in-residence programs.


Physical Education

Physical education activities are adapted to meet students at their ability level and include activities such as intramural and interscholastic sports, swimming and bowling.


Special Activities

Special activities like science fairs and March Madness celebrations incorporate the core studies of math, language arts, science and social studies into fun school-wide learning experiences.


Therapeutic Recreation

Therapeutic recreation activities such as swimming in our aquatics center or waterfront, bowling at our onsite alley and adaptive skiing support IEP goals and increase communication, motor, cognitive and social skills.

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Thoughtful Person-Centered Planning and IEPs

The professional teams at Crotched Mountain meet regularly with school systems to implement and update Individual Education Plans (IEPs) for each student. In addition to formal IEPs, our "person-centered" approach incorporates each student's individual strengths, talents and interests to help them build a meaningful life as they transition to new opportunities at their home school and in the community.


Special Studies

Crotched Mountain also offers enriched learning opportunities in unique settings:


Farm School

Our Farm School gives students opportunities to participate in the farming experience - including feeding and caring for animals, planting, tending and harvesting gardens, and general maintenance. Students learn, work and build community connections.

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Vocational Exploration and Skills Center

Job training on campus and in the community nurtures students' personal and job-related skills such as materials management, recycling, mail sorting and delivery. 

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Students on the Autism Spectrum

Students on the autism spectrum thrive in a special environment geared to their sensory and learning needs - with larger spaces, gentler lighting and color schemes, and soundproofing. Students participate in structured learning and interactive activities.

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Children with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

For children with emotional and behavioral disorders, Crotched Mountain School helps children develop the skills needed to grow emotionally, academically and vocationally in a safe, structured and secure environment with the fewest restrictions possible.

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For more information about how Crotched Mountain School helps students reach their full potential, please contact:
Director of Admissions
603.547.3311 ext. 1894 

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One Verney Drive Greenfield, NH 03047 Tel. 603.547.3311