This school year, Intellectual Disabilities (IND) classes are available to students who need them. These new classes are supported by two teachers and two adult aids. Along with the classes, an official Best Buddies chapter will start.
“Here we do math, science, English and reading–we just do it differently,” said IND teacher and Best Buddies sponsor Jennifer Walker. This is Walker’s first year teaching an IND class but she has been working with IND students since she was in high school.
“As far as academics go, we do ‘access points’ where they learn everything like biology and English–the same classes other students take, but modified,” said Walker. The major difference in an IND class is easier work and less vocabulary. Along with their core classes, most IND students also take an elective such as culinary, drawing, pottery or vet assisting.
“I like that we work on real-world topics such as communication,” said Walker. Each student also has a set of individual goals that he or she strives for.
“We access parts of language and work on phonics and rhythm,” said IND teacher Neil Leonard. ‘Access’ meaning using specific goals and incorporating real life uses. Leonard moved here from Gaither along with many of the IND students whom he says are outstanding hard workers and unique individuals.
“I’m really happy with how the students have been accepted at the school; it means a lot,” said Walker.
Best Buddies is a club that encourages “one on one” friendships with the students in IND classes.
“Best Buddies is a great program for Steinbrenner; it allows students to get to know one another and get out of their comfort zone,” said Leonard. Today, there are more than 900 high school chapters worldwide.