Nathan Hale High School
Transitional Vocational Special Education Program (Community Based)
Power Point Introduction:
Our program is a community based transitional vocational program serving a maximum of nine severely disabled youth between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one. Community based means that our program is entirely off-campus, within the environmental context where our students will eventually be working. Transitional means that our students are moving from the school environment to the world of work. Federal laws covering individuals with disabilities mandate this transitional process. Under these laws each student has an Individualized Education Program that contains an individual Transition Plan. Our maximum of nine students is a cap set by the State of Washington. This cap allows for one certificated teacher and one instructional assistant.
B. What is our core business?
Our purpose is to prepare students for the world of work. We work with the community to locate non-paid volunteer positions that will allow our students to gain and practice job oriented skills that can be used for competitive paid employment after the age of twenty-one. The positions we seek would be cafeteria helper/cleaner, supply room worker, mailroom helper, and copy center helper. Though not inclusive, these represent the types of jobs our students will be seeking in the future. We teach the skills to do the job, how to clean a table for example, and those skills that support the job. If the job requires a neat and clean appearance we would use a Laundromat for teaching laundry skills. If a new bus route needs to be learned, we would work to teach these skills, or work with METRO.
C. How is the program at Safeco structured?
Our program takes into consideration the needs of our students as future workforce members and as young adults … pure and simple! These needs are addressed in four areas:
Our Program Goals:
a. Students will be provided with more than one opportunity to learn a job type.
b. The job learning opportunity will be provided in a community based setting.
a. Our students will know what business and public resources are within their immediate work neighborhood.
b. Our students will learn to independently access a community location.
a. We will seek and plan for recreational and cultural opportunities within the work neighborhood.
b. Time will be available daily for exercise and leisure within the community.
a. Those academic skills a student needs to support work and independent living will be taught.
b. Students will demonstrate an ability to follow job directions, read common community signs, complete a simple form (time card heading) and manage a money allowance.
Expectations for the vocational student.
Our students are guests in another person’s house. There are expectations that a high level of personal conduct will be followed AT ALL TIMES.
B. Work ethic
Expectations for Seattle Public Schools Staff.
It is incumbent upon staff to set a positive example for those we mentor.
Expectations for home.
a. Help the student to be “job ready” each day.
b. Sometimes, the student may need some extra monetary support.
c. Become familiar with public transportation resources.
B. Problem solving
a. Work with Seattle Schools staff collaboratively when problems arise.
b. Communicate potential difficulties, i.e. ”a bad day” to staff in a timely manner.
c. Be prepared to work through problems different from the school setting: METRO schedules, street corner access, the best entrance to a building being among new challenges.
a. Can I accept having my child catch METRO on a wet, dark November morning?
b. Is it OK for my child to visit a nearby store alone or with a classmate?
c. Am I comfortable that school is now a donated space in a private office building?
d. Can I accept that my child will be learning a job skill, that I myself may not consider as a career; like washing dishes, bus person (cleaning tables, filling salt shakers, etc.), or book filing?
This sample Monday schedule could be for any student:
7:50 I arrive at Safeco
12:00 Return from work
12:30 Afternoon activities
1:00 Community based training. Could involve one or all of the following:
1:50 Completion of day
a. Upstairs, and onto busses and cabs for home.
Over ten years ago Nathan Hale High School in cooperation with Safeco Insurance Company opened a very special classroom for students of disability. Based on Nathan Hale Special Education teacher Loren Knutsen’s implementing of research from the University of Oregon, this program provides needed vocational and life skills education in a community setting. With Seattle Schools providing staff and Safeco donating space at its headquarters in Seattle’s University District, students would learn in an environment where job and community skills could be practiced in a natural and relevant setting. The engine that made this model work was, and still is, federal disabilities law granting a free and appropriate education to all students up to the age of twenty one. Specifically, students of disability must have an individual education plan that outlines what the student needs to know, who will be responsible for teaching those skills, and where the teaching is to take place. From eighth grade or age fourteen, a transition plan becomes a part of the individual education plan. This transition plan begins outlining what a student must learn and what school staff must do to prepare a student for life beyond school. For those students of significant disability who will need to learn community living skills, the best teaching environment is the one in which the student will live. With its many stores, restaurants, banks and service businesses, the University District provides a wonderful approximation of what can be found in so many neighborhoods. Using METRO or ACCESS to arrive at their classroom, today’s student will find a space very different from the original basement space. A spacious cubicle area on the main floor provides “office” space for nine students and three staff. Safeco has generously donated a networked computer for each student and staff. Using district funds earmarked for special education students, a powerful handheld organizer has been purchased for each workspace. The networked computers allow students to tap the vast power of the internet to fulfill personal interests and needs. Among valuable tools that can be used on a regular basis are METRO’s online trip planner. This updated tool allows students and staff to plan access to community recreational activities and volunteer training opportunities. Students can also access weekly advertisements from local businesses so as to plan purchases for personal needs. The incorporation of handheld organizers allows our students to plan for the day and week, a process previously remote or not understood for many of our students. With the ability to interact with a calendar in visual and tactile modes the student can now have a better grasp of future events and timelines. The entertainment factor of these devices has been a draw in keeping students interested in personal technology. As the Seattle public library system embraces public wireless internet access students will be able to use handheld organizers as information terminals in settings beyond even an alternative classroom setting. As new education models for all students are being advocated and explored, this program spotlights how corporate and public cooperation within a vibrant community can create a unique and wanted learning experience for our most needy students.
Listing of potential volunteer placement sites for 2005-2006
FUNCTIONAL VOCATIONAL EVALUATION
Special Education Low Incidence Transition Programs
Voc. Exploration Site:__________________ Date:___________________
Key to Performance Rating Rubric:
3 = Performs task consistently and independently at or above job requirements.
2 = Performs task consistently with only occasional reminders.
1 = Performs task only with monitoring and frequent assistance.
0 = Performs task rarely or not at all.
A. Job related social skills.
3. Is on time appropriately dressed and groomed.
2. Is on time appropriately dressed and groomed 75% of time.
1. Requires reminders to be on time and prepared 75% of days.
0. Almost always late, absent, poorly prepared.
B. Job skill.
3. Assigned task performed to specifications.
2. Tasks completed correctly with help 75% or less of trials.
1. On 75% of attempts errors are found.
0. Task may be beyond ability.
C. Community social skills.
3. Is courteous and respectful to public and co-workers in terms of space, conversations, and physical person.
2. Conduct requires few corrections for appropriateness.
1. Conduct alone requires supervision and may result in program dismissal.
0. Conduct is deemed unsafe and requires referral to an administrative level.
D. Community mobility skills.
3. Can safely use street crossings and public transportation to access job site.
2. Requires shadowing at least 1x per week to maintain skills.
1. Cannot safely transit by street or bus without 1:1 supervision daily.
0. Student requires 1:1 physical assistance (hand holding) to safely transit.
List of three job critical tasks observed: