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General Description of Students The students in the PACE program typically have significant cognitive, learning and adaptive behavior challenges. These students generally meet IDEA eligibility criteria for one of the following educational classifications: Autism, Intellectual Deficiency, Multiple Disabilities, Speech/Language Impairment, and Traumatic Brain Injury. Past and current medical conditions of this diverse group of students include: Autism Spectrum Disorders, Genetic Disorders (i.e., Deletion 22), Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome), Cerebral Palsy, Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum, Legal Blindness, Deafness, etc.. Associated needs in their speech/language (expressive, receptive, pragmatic), physical (fine, gross, and grapho-motor), and social-emotional functioning are prevalent. Related Services in Speech/Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Assistive Technology, Adaptive Physical Education, and Psychological Counseling, as well as other areas and supports, are offered to students (i.e., Behavioral Consultation) and their families (i.e., Trans-Disciplinary Team meetings), and are integral parts of the program.
Academic Skills The focus of the PACE program is on functional academic skills. Students are encouraged to develop basic academic skills in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics. Academic programming is on an individual basis using assessments to guide and individualize instruction. Programs that are used in the classroom include the PCI Reading Program, SRA/Reading Mastery, Math Connections, Language for Learning and Thinking, Edmark Reading and Functional Word Series, Study Island, CNN Student News, Essentials of Living, and others that address various needs.
Some students are also encouraged to further their academic development in mathematics and English Language Arts. In math, these students are encouraged to memorize basic math facts, and solve basic math problems with and without the use of a calculator. These students are also taught concepts such as percent and fractions as they relate to real life experiences.
In language arts, these students read every day in order to develop reading comprehension and fluency. Vocabulary development is stressed as well as spelling. These students are also encouraged to identify topics of interest for independent reading and writing.
Life Skills The focus of the program is on the development of essential life skills, to develop independence, and decrease prompt dependence. We want students to develop the skills necessary to function at their own maximum level of independence. On a daily basis, life skills are practiced and reinforced in a variety of settings. In the classroom, students follow schedules and participate in skills of daily living such as personal hygiene, preparing foods, and cleaning skills. Data is collected daily for each student and goals and objectives are modified as progress is monitored. Students will also participate in community-based field trips to a variety of locations to practice the skills that are being taught in the classroom.
At the high school level, the classes work on community based social and academic skills such as ordering from a menu, grocery shopping, exchanging money for a purchase, and leaving a tip. The students are encouraged to work with money and apply these skills in work based learning settings. Additionally, students have various jobs throughout the school building and within the apartment where they utilize different skills that are reinforced in the classroom.
Social Skills/Integration PACE is a self-contained academic program. Students will be in a classroom with peers throughout the day, but will have opportunities to interact with their non-disabled peers. These opportunities may take place during physical education class, lunchtime, hallway transitions, elective classes, and school-wide functions. Carmel High School has a Best Buddies program where students pair with typical peers for social events.
Instruction in feelings, facial recognition, safety awareness, interpersonal boundaries, disability awareness, self-advocacy, and social skills, occurs through student centered counseling. Practice of these skills occurs each and everyday in school and the community.
Prevocational Skills and Job Coaching at the High School Level Students in the PACE Vocational Program will be taught prevocational skills through a variety of activities. Students will complete vocational task boxes created by Hands On Tasks to develop skills necessary for employment. Additionally, students will participate in mail sorting and delivery, copy center activities, and classroom jobs that teach both prevocational skills and personal responsibility. As students grow and mature, they will have the opportunity to work in community based settings with our trained job coaching staff.
Students who are able to work in the community will be placed in a variety of settings to determine areas of interest and opportunities for success. They will work with a trained job coach towards developing the skills necessary for independent employment in the future. Students in the job coaching program will attend academic and life skill classes in the morning, and will work in unpaid internships in the afternoon, as part of their education program during the school day.
The students who participate in the PACE Vocational Program may be eligible to receive the New York State Career Development and Occupational Studies Commencement Credential (CDOS) if they meet the requirements. Others will receive a Skills and Achievement Credential upon exiting high school.