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Sandy Gieseking

We usually have four years to work with our students. Our mission is to provide them with skills needed to achieve their highest possible quality of life. These skills range from going to the bathroom, to brushing their teeth, to dressing themselves and hopefully full independence as an adult. We want the students to be prepared to live as much on their own as possible when they leave our school.


We teach English, Math, Science, History, and Life Skills.

-       Math is largely focused on money and targeted toward helping them buy groceries, pay bills, and fundamental budgeting.

-       English is geared toward understanding how to interact with others in public and at home. We develop their critical thinking and work toward writing full sentences.

-       Science is largely taught through cooking. Measuring ingredients, getting supplies, and using the proper utensils. The students are responsible for planning the meal, making a list of supplies needed, do the grocery shopping and prepare the meal for their fellow classmates.

-       History varies largely by each student, but they attend a general Ed class and do as much as they are capable. In the classroom we focus on being able to find different locations in the school, city and stores. We have scavenger hunts that gets other faculty involved in helping us learn.

-       Life Skills

o   At the beginning of the year we send out an email to all of our high school and elementary teachers and staff to see if they want to participate in what we call snack cart. The participating teachers pay $5 a month to get a snack every Friday. We write down the ingredients and adjust the recipes to prepare 50 servings. We then use the Wal Mart app to look up how much everything is and go shopping to get the items on a field trip. The class teachers make the snack, and the students deliver them.

o   We also spend up to three days a week working on real life job skills This can involve sweeping a hallway, washing desks and chairs in a classroom, cleaning a classroom bathroom, cleaning the teachers’ lounge, washing tables in the commons, helping the janitors take out the trash and much more. We use play money and pay them a dollar a day. On Fridays after we deliver our goodies, we have a movie day. The students use their money to buy snacks. This teaches them if they don’t work, they don’t get paid. It also teaches them how to be considerate to their classmates and be quite during the movie.


These kids need a healthy mix of structure and stimulation. We do our absolute best to invent new ways to interact and keep things fresh while using everyday situations as learning opportunities.

Sandy Gieseking

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