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Edmonds School District

Students get job training - and more

Students get job training - and more

Posted on 03/01/2021

Inside a classroom at Scriber Lake High School, seven students are busy with an alternative curriculum that encompasses functional academics, cooking, physical education, art, and vocational development classes.

They are part of the Secondary Intensive Support Program (SISP) – formerly known as Life Skills – for students ages 16-21 who have mild to moderate disabilities and significant cognitive delays.

Students returned to in-person instruction Jan. 19 after being fully remote since last March because of COVID-related school closures. A few special education programs were allowed to return as part of Phase I of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Healthy Washington Plan. Three members of this class of 10 students are continuing to participate on a strictly remote basis.

The Secondary Intensive Learning Support Program is part of a trio of Special Education programs located on the Scriber campus geared toward helping these and other students from the other Secondary Intensive Support Programs across the district achieve independence. Those programs are more commonly known as Work Experiences, Vocational Opportunities in Community Experiences (VOICE), and Swedish Edmonds Project SEARCH.

The Intensive Support Program focuses on areas determined by the student’s Individualized Education Plan - or IEP. This includes functional academics, daily living, social behavior, and vocational skills in classroom settings as well as on-campus training.

“Vocational training might include recycling, sanitizing cafeteria tables, delivering school mail, landscaping, and helping to assemble science kits for the Sciences Material Department at Scriber for the whole district.

The goal for any of these vocational training experiences is to prepare students for employment after they graduate.This includes teaching students to follow a schedule, increasing their independence on the job task, and helping them to problem solve when an unforeseen situation arises.” says their teacher, Karl Stern.

Also located on the Scriber campus is the Work Experiences Program. This is a vocational training program for students ages 16-18 who attended Intensive Support Programs from the other high schools in the district.

Students attend either a morning or afternoon session at the Work Experiences Program. There, students learn such vocational skills as inventory, packing, assembly, and soft skills vital to post-secondary employment outcomes.The Work Experiences Program is fully remote because of COVID-19 restrictions.

After turning 18, students have the opportunity to enroll in the VOICE Program. Students typically continue in this program through their 21st year. The goal for students is to continue to develop their post-secondary vocational interests through community-based volunteer work-based learning experiences, develop community safety and daily living skills, and develop a detailed post-secondary plan through connecting with various adult service agencies.

Finally, there’s the Swedish Edmonds Project SEARCH, a community-based work experience program open to VOICE students in their last year who have demonstrated a high degree of independence and community safety.

Students in that program gain immersive internships throughout the hospital. They do that in conjunction with a curriculum that teaches skills in functional budgeting and banking, team building, employability, the workplace, benefits of health and wellness, appropriate self-advocacy, social skills for the community, team-building, the importance of appropriate grooming and hygiene, and appropriate use of technology.

“The ability for students to blend between each of these programs improves the postsecondary outcomes for all of our students,” Stern says. “Scriber is unique in the sense that with these programs based on the same campus, staff can easily collaborate to build relevant and rigorous educational experiences for our students, regardless of their specific disabilities.”