Special Learning Classes at JPII

The John Paul II Center for Special Learning consists of three main classes, as well as a multi-disabilities class.  We provide an academic, social, and religious program to children and young adults with intellectual disabilities between the ages of three and 21. Additionally, our adult program is a great way for recent graduates to transition into a program that continues to provide opportunities and enhance the individual’s quality of life.

Students in our Primary class have a ton of personality and are between the ages of three and eight.  Because each student comes along with their own unique strengths and weaknesses, they are individually recognized and nurtured.

The classroom is very structured and expectations are for each student to become as independent as possible.  Each individual works in an environment in which they are able to develop their inherent strengths through modeling, positive feedback, and accommodations and adaptations as necessary.

Our Primary class provides students with an environment that influences student behavior in such a way that they can make good choices and positive contributions to others that will eventually affect their future and the community as a whole.

Areas of Instruction

• Religion • Reading • Music therapy • Math • Handwriting • Social skills • Self-help skills • Art therapy • Receptive and expressive language skills • Fine and gross motor skill development

Our Intermediate class serves students between the ages of eight and 14. With a focus on academics and functional skills, students are able to become more confident and independent learners.

While most class work is done in small groups, group instruction time is still utilized.  A student aide helps to assist students who are working on their own while others are taking part in group learning.

Areas of Instruction

The Intermediate class puts an emphasis on the following areas:

• Reading • Religion • Math • Daily living skills • Fine and gross motor skills • Community skills

Our intermediate students use the Saxon Math series levels k through 2nd grade, along with miscellaneous Math Skills workbooks. Work is done utilizing the SmartBoard, worksheets, and manipulatives. Students are assessed weekly on their progress. In order to keep these skills fresh, the daily morning routine consists of calendar, counting, and money reviews.

Reading focuses on basic phonics skills, oral reading, and comprehension. A variety of reading programs are utilized to work on the skills. Again, most of the work is done in small groups or one-on-one.

Field Trips and Responsibilities

Intermediate students participate in a variety of field trips into the community, along with bonding activities with other local schools.  The class favorite:  Bowling and then lunch at McDonalds!

Occasionally, Intermediate and Secondary will collaborate on projects, field trips, and special events. Although school-wide jobs are the responsibility of the Secondary class, Intermediate students will take on the challenge in their absence.  This gives them the opportunity to experience what lies ahead.

The Secondary program is a unique class serving students between the ages of 14 and 21.  The focus of the program is to provide real world, hands-on, and functional life skills. In order to independently function at home and in the community, these skills are reinforced and supported by the teacher on a daily basis.

Each student in the Secondary class has specific goals and outcomes depending upon their ability level.  The program was developed based on three key components:

• Classroom instruction; academic skills, curriculum planning, and goals • Lunch program and school wide jobs • Work for independence program

Areas of Instruction

We use the Saxon Math program and utilize various hands-on money and time-telling manipulatives.  iPads are incorporated for the reinforcement of basic math skills including fact practice, shopping skills, price comparison, grouping skills, banking skills, place value, time-telling, time management, and elapsed time skills.  Each of these skills are a necessary part of functioning in a work place setting after graduation.

Reading focuses on basic phonics skills, comprehension strategies, novel study, poetry, and social story. A 60-minute block devoted to working on core reading skills in a supported environment.

A lot can be accomplished in a week at John Paul II Center.  We focus on other areas including religion, career exploration, hygiene skills, group occupational therapy, word processing, current events, social skills, and physical education.

Lunch Program and School-Wide Jobs

Because JPII aims to prepare students for life after graduation, a school lunch program and school-wide jobs have been built-in to our Secondary class’ responsibilities.

Secondary students prepare a for-purchase lunch for the school three days a week.  Through meal planning, budgeting, price comparison shopping, practicing social interactions in the community, and working safely in the kitchen, students develop the skills they need to live a functional life.

Learning to cook helps address measuring, following a recipe, teamwork, running a cash register, and money skills.  A few facts about our school-wide job program:

• There are 21 different jobs throughout the school. • Students apply for jobs monthly, mock interview and complete the jobs for one month’s time. • Each job can easily transfer to community and into the home life. • Promotes responsibility and positive self-growth. • Technology is utilized for independence.

John Paul II Center’s Secondary class also takes part in our Work for Independence program, which pairs students with an “internship” in the community.  If you would like to learn more about our Work for Independence program, please click here.

Our Multi-Disabilities class provides ongoing care and support to improve physical abilities and quality of life while preparing for integrated community settings.  Through a variety of activities, students are able to learn through experience. Field trips into the community, such as bowling and seasonal attractions, are a great way to practice socialization skills.

As technology grows, John Paul II Center is findings ways to implement new educational products into each classroom.  For instance, iPads are great learning tools that are used to teach students cause and effect, math, and reading in fun and practical ways.

Areas of instruction

• Fine and gross motor skills through occupational therapy • Music therapy • Art therapy with the Yocum Institute • Religion • Sensory awareness • Self-help skills • Functional math • Reading