Defying the notion that art education programs do not prepare students for "real world" jobs, visual arts teacher Constance Einfalt has developed an art program at Loveland High School in Loveland that offers a strong school-to-work component, including mentoring and job shadowing opportunities, an art scholarship awarded on the basis of student portfolios, and a student art gallery created by Ms. Einfalt and her students in downtown Loveland. Ms. Einfalt has also incorporated such technology-based classes into her curriculum as videography, computer graphics and television broadcasting, through which students recently produced a series of staff development videos that are in high demand among teachers throughout the state.
Rehabilitation counselor Gary Garrett has initiated several programs at the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind in Colorado Springs to help his students adapt to the real world. He modified the Junior Achievement national model for teaching economics, business and work skills, adapting it for students with impaired vision or hearing. He also developed partnerships with 125 businesses in the Colorado Springs area to provide his students with vocational training and work experience. In addition, Mr. Garrett created an Alternative Transition program that provides training in independent living, vocational training and planning, adult service programming, compensatory skill development and post-secondary training and education.
Susie Knupp, principal of Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, provides students at risk of expulsion with a way back into the school system. The Bridge program, which Mrs. Knupp created, is an intervention and transition program designed to help at-risk students improve their academic and social skills. For all of her students, she developed the Tech Prep program, a series of courses designed to help them become more technologically proficient. Students who are already skilled with technology are given an opportunity to use those skills through Mrs. Knupp’s S.W.A.T. (Student Workers Applying Technology) program, in which they assist the technology instructor in maintaining and upgrading the school’s computers. In addition, Mrs. Knupp coordinates a 5th-year senior program, in which seniors who stay on an extra year receive an associates degree from a community college, with all credits transferable to a college or university. Integral to the program is the use of an audio-video distance learning system.
Nicknamed "The Snake Lady" for the large menagerie of snakes she keeps in her classroom, Pamela Sue Schmidt, science teacher at Thunder Ridge Middle School in Aurora, teaches several four- to five-week electives known as "mini-courses," designed to ignite students' interest in science. Her "Slithers" mini-course, for example, teaches students about the proper care and handling of snakes, snake anatomy and ecology, and ophidiphobia. Another mini-course, entitled "Eocene Park," introduces students to the concepts and provides them with the skills required for employment as a paleontologist in the field. Ms. Schmidt recently began teaching yet another mini-course entitled the "TRMS NEED (Thunder Ridge Middle School/National Energy Education Development) Team," which deals with the production, use and conservation of energy.
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