Lots of changes and activities happening in our household: got two part-time jobs as para educator on the same week that my son’s IEP was up for renewal, and we had parent conference and Book Fair at his school. Although I am very thankful for the amazing opportunity to bond with my family as a stay-at-home-mom it also feels good to be part of something bigger.
I’m talking about the innovative STEM alternative high school that I joined. The curriculum and philosophy of Riverpoint Academy is based on self-directed learning and makerspace concepts. Instead of exams students collaborate on hands-on projects, developing prototypes for one of the three classes offered: Inventioneering, Bio-Medical Sciences, and Sustainable Entrepreneurship. My techie friends and I drooled at their 3D printers, laser cutters, Arduino microcontrollers while the teacher in me marveled at the 1:1 laptop, wireless projectors, and fluid structure of the school.
But in the afternoon I go to another high school and get to see wonderful educators helping severely disabled teens with life skills. There was a marked contrast coming from a school with a hundred students working independently to a special place in another school where teachers and paras work one-on-one with young adults equally determined to discover their own potential. It was inspiring to learn that some business establishments in the community are venues for their work skills training. If you live in North Spokane or know people who do please support Albertsons, Fitness Anytime, Poole’s Public House, and Wonderland.
The Developmental Learning Center at Mead High School also set up a balloon business for these students. Another way community residents can support them is by ordering balloons from them.
I’m glad things are slowly unfolding as I’ve been toying with the idea of going into Special Education for over a year now, but was not sure where or how to start.