Special Services Report
To: Michael Green
Re: March Monthly Special Services Report
From: Deb Kernen
Date: May 1, 2015
During the past school year, Monica Siegrist, Jody Flanagan, and Devon Hillman worked to redesign the High School Transition Explorations class. The Transitions Explorations class serves students who are in need of instruction in independent living skills and job skills to help them be successful in life after high school. The group includes students who receive special education services from the Basic Life Skills classroom and the Resource Room.
Over the summer, the three staff members developed units for hygiene, living skills (cooking, sewing, cleaning), applications and interviews, and hands on job skills. During the first semester, the 16 students were divided into 4 groups that rotated through the instructional units every 5 weeks. Students learned to fill out applications, make resumes, and write cover letters using a curriculum that they purchased. The students practiced and prepared for a final interview with school staff. Students learned to sew buttons onto clothing, mend small tears in clothes, pretreat stains, and cook simple meals along federal nutritional guidelines. They worked through a hygiene curriculum to learn the importance of clothing choices, daily personal care, and cleanliness when trying to find and keep a job. Students participated in 2 main jobsites this year. They have been cleaning stalls, scrubbing and refilling water buckets, and gaining exposure to horses at Mountain View Morgans. Skills were correlated with many of the students’ interests in horses and farm work. They also have been taking out recycling for the High, Middle, and Primary schools.
Mrs. Siegrist, Mrs. Flanagan, and Mrs. Hillman met continuously throughout the semester to refine and rework the units. They realized that 5 weeks was not long enough, and began the 2nd semester with only 2 groups. Upon implementing the lessons, they learned that that topics were actually much more complex than they had imagined and took much more time to complete. As such, the staff decided to make a multi-year plan with different topics for each grade level. The staff also realized that skill levels and knowledge varied significantly within the groups; so they had to adapt lessons for each student grouped based on their needs. Because of this, the original goal of creating modules on each topic was only partially successful. While the modules provided a framework, the content needs to be modified, sometimes significantly, with each new group of students.
The students took a culminating field trip into Vancouver to visit and get information from supported work agencies that contract with Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and Department of Developmental Administration and from various independent living sites, including a group home, and an assisted living facility. The students toured the CTRAN offices, rode the bus through the bus wash, and were able to practice taking the CTRAN, with the assistance of a CTRAN Tour Guide. They had a great trip and got lots of wonderful information.