A school in Prince George’s County is providing a fresh educational opportunity for students with learning disabilities, preparing them for life after graduation.
High Road Upper School targets one of the county’s most at-risk population to get them ready for work. The school instructs students on a graded and non-graded basis, teaching comprehensive life skills. The five components of the program – academic curriculum, vocational training, behavioral and social skills, community immersion, and independent living instruction – provide students with the skills necessary to be productive citizens post-graduation.
In addition to its regular curriculum, the school offers a credit recovery program for adults between the ages of 18-21. In this initiative, created by school director Keith White, students are given the opportunity to recover credits lost over their high school career.
And the school is now home to a unique partnership with the business community, which allows students on-the-job training while working towards their high school diplomas. “These partnerships are a resourceful way to get our students working toward their future,” White said in a statement. “Partnering with area businesses has enabled our students to get a broad range of real-life work experiences. We are always looking for new partnership opportunities.”
The school staff worked with businesses in close proximity to the school building, in the Beltsville area. The program is for High Road students, 16 and older, and provides internships, apprenticeships and in some cases, actual employment opportunities in fields such as auto repair, pet care, landscaping, food service and cosmetology.
Michael Kaufman, president and CEO of Specialized Education Services, the company that runs High Road School, is pleased with the program and says it makes High Road unique among some similar schools. “These partnerships helped High Road Upper School create a valuable transition program to give our special-needs students a remarkable edge,” Kaufman stated. “Programs like this are what set all of our High Road schools apart.”
There are similar schools in the county for special needs students, including Tall Oaks Technical Academy and Croom Vocational High School.
Croom, in particular, targets at-risk students living in the county, south of Central Avenue. This school, with a 99 percent African-American enrollment, makes a special effort to address the needs of Black students.
“Teachers will receive on-going professional development in the following areas: providing levels of rigor, developing meaningful tasks with appropriate criteria, and using rubrics to assess student work,” Alice Swift-Howard, the school’s principal, wrote in her executive summary about the special training teachers receive. “Strategies will include flexible grouping, collaborative planning, guided reading, and reciprocal teaching.”
There are other two other High Road schools in Prince George’s County and 12 total in the state of Maryland.
For more information about Specialized Education Services and High Road schools visit www.sesi-schools.com/schools_high_road.