Functional Classes Learn In The Community

Students Learn From Hands-On Trips
Freshman Moses Rodgers visits The Farmers House April 10 with his class.
Freshman Moses Rodgers visits The Farmers House April 10 with his class.
Photo courtesy Jenny Rodgers

From a visit to the park, to restaurants or trips to the grocery store, students in the functional classrooms leave the school building to learn life skills in real-world situations. One major benefit of outings is so the students can experience different jobs available to them in the community.

“One time we went to Hy-Vee, and they wrote down all the jobs they could find and work at,” teacher Emma Jacobson said. “Some of the times we go just so they can practice navigating the community. A big one is going to the store and being able to find things off a list so they can go shopping for themselves.”

The students learn money management and budgeting and prepare for the workforce.

“There is a variety of programs that we provide, one being the Hospital Academy,” Jacobson said. “For half a day, every day, they go to North Kansas City Hospital, and they work a job. One of my students is currently in it and has a job with the janitorial staff, so he cleans every day, but he’s learning great skills that can be used in other places.”

Not all community outings are work related. Some focus on socialization.

I also really like when we go to the library. I like to check out books and read.

— Nasi Wright, 11

“They really like going anywhere, animals are a big one,” Jacobson said. “Food is a big one, and they really love going out.”

Junior Nasi Wright said they are going to Legoland and Sea Life this school year.

“I really like when we go to the zoo and see the animals,” Wright said.

Jacobson said typically there is a positive reaction from the community, but not always.

“There have been a few times when we would have gone somewhere, and the community reaction isn’t what we would expect,” Jacobson said. “One important thing is bringing awareness to the community that these people are a part of the community as well, and they have every right to be out in public as anyone else would.”

She said the students’ favorite activity is going to the park.

“It gets them out in the fresh air, which is nice,” Jacobson said. “The kids love going on outings; they like going pretty much anywhere.”

Jacobson said community outings help her students grow their social skills, and they learn things that may come naturally to a

lot of people but don’t necessarily come naturally for her students.

“A big social part of it is just talking to other people,” Jacobson said. “It really helps increase what they can do after high school, like learning how to pay. Going out helps them with many skills.”

Teacher Tracey Wasinger said staff members do some work beforehand, which allows the trips to take place, such as planning transportation.

“Usually if we go and buy something to eat, we will go on their website and plan out how much it’s going to cost,” Wasinger said. “We go through social skills we’ve been working on as far as ordering. The teacher part of it is difficult because we have to plan a month in advance and make sure we have transportation.”

The teachers and students meet beforehand to plan the trips.

“The students will get together, and we talk about possible options for the month and look at events that are coming up in Kansas City,” Wasinger said.

Wright said his favorite outing is the park but that he also liked other outings.

“I also really like when we go to the library,” Wright said. “I like to check out books and read.”

He said they went to the park and had a picnic.

“Nothing beats the park,” Wright said. “I would choose the park if I could go anywhere I wanted to.”

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