This month we are highlighting one of our ongoing school-wide projects of ‘making learning that matters.' This has been an integral part of our approach in all classrooms, none more so than in our high school special education (HSSE) classroom, where this idea is essentially their entire philosophy. Ms. Herold, the HSSE teacher speaks to this further, “we are always striving to find ways to increase our student's knowledge and build their skills in areas that are applicable not only inside the classroom but in the world as well. As a team, we try to find ways to become active members in our communities both at school and at home.” The HSSE classroom is focused on providing these opportunities for students to apply these skills they are learning and sharing with the wider ASH community.
One example of this is the treasured Trojan Cafe. Each week on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, the HSSE classroom turns into a haven of delicious hot beverages, treats and great service. Staff and students alike are welcomed into the space, where the HSSE students are responsible for assuming the different roles in a cafe (barista, cashier, etc…) and it is definitely a campus highlight of the week for many!
Another great opportunity and example of ‘making learning that matters’ in our HSSE program is their work in the school garden. It has been a huge area of focus for the students this year. Ms. Herold shared some more details about this; “In the beginning of the school year, we harvested 17.9 kilos of grapes and made our very own jam (some of which is still available). Additionally, we also harvested the lavender in the garden and will be making candles with the lavender. Our students are currently involved in the reimagination of the ASH garden, in hopes of creating an outdoor green cafe that has a focus on sustainability. We are currently designing how to best use the space in our greenhouse so that we can provide beverages, seating and storage. We are currently looking for volunteers from our community who are interested in learning more about this project, so if this strikes your fancy contact the HSSE team and we can provide more information!”
We asked Ms. Herold what our HSSE students their biggest learnings from these opportunities. She said, “Being involved in the community through multiple aspects such as The Trojan Cafe and working in the garden our students are able to build skills that they will be able to apply to their lives beyond ASH. Our students are able to build skills that are necessary for independent living such as budgeting, cooking, cleaning, laundry and social engagement.”
Finally we wanted to share this last message from the HSSE students and teachers; “The HSSE classroom is ALWAYS open for visitors! We love to practice our social skills and our culinary abilities. Every other week we host Tea Time where we host guests and provide them with tea, snacks and conversation. If anyone is interested, students or teachers, our doors are always open!”