Community Based Instruction helps students in the special education department prepare for independence needed after high school.
“(Students) need to be able to practice what it would be like in the real world, so they are taking the skills they learn at CCHS and taking them out into the real world,” special education department head Marie Yuran said.
Special education teacher Philip Walter prepares students for the second Community Based Instruction of the year where students traveled to the Athens Promenade Shopping Center to practice skills such as parking lot safety. Photo/Carlo Nasisse.
In order to determine the focus of CBI, special education teacher Elizabeth Mooney refers to the Individual Education Plans for each student.
IEPs are legal documents compiled annually with input from parents and teachers. The plans are based on students’ progress during CBI and are revised regularly, outlining goals and objectives for each student.
“(These skills connect to) what we are teaching them in school. So, we take where they are now and monitor their progress and we monitor the amount of times (students) correctly do things such as find the register,” Mooney said.
During CBI, students travel to local stores including of Kroger, Publix, Wal-Mart, Trader Joe’s, Ingles, Earthfare and others, in order to learn skills needed for real-world situations.
“In my opinion (CBI trips are) a huge opportunity to generalize what we learn in the classroom. Just because you learn about money in the classroom doesn’t mean you will know how to (use it) in the real world,” Mooney said.
Each time students and teachers return to school after CBI they will review the skills learned, which includes comparing prices and completing a shopping list for a specific recipe.
“You go into (a store) and you scan the whole store and you walk through the front of the store where all the perfume and make-up is, so where is the ladies’ section? You scan. We have to teach our kids how to scan,” special education teacher Philip Walter said.
Students learn about independent transportation and safety skills by using the Athens Transit system.
“(Students) will hopefully be life-long users of the (Athens) Transit System so they can get to and from wherever they can as independently as possible after high school,” Yuran said.
During CBI, students are given a different opportunity to learn these skills.
“Our goal is to create an independent adult. It will be different levels of independence for each student,” special education department teacher David Sells said.
Students learn valuable information, and they do so in a ways that are enjoyable and different. CBI offers ways to learn independence within the student for their future careers as well as teach skills that are imperative for one to have.
For the second CBI of the year, students traveled to the Athens Promenade shopping center on Wednesday Sept. 21. Students practiced goals and objectives including parking lot safety.
“I think that (the students) enjoy the trips. I think it breaks up the monotony of being at school all day,” Mooney said. “We’re teaching that to these kids because when (they) get out in the real world, (independence is) what these kids need to learn most.”
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