Inclusion and opportunity. That is the foundation of the Special Education Life Skills program at Cranston High School East.
The special education students enrolled in East’s life skills program are included in classes that provide hands-on work experience that will prepare them for the real world. Life skills students learn to cook and make recipes that they share with the staff and faculty. Others work in the copy room and handle all of the orders for the school. There’s even a bike shop at East where life skills students learn to repair bikes that are later given to those in need in the community.
East also has a strong partnership with Special Olympics RI. A few years ago, East was named a Unified Champion Banner School by ESPN, the only school in Rhode Island to receive that honor.
The aim of Unified Champion Schools is to incorporate Special Olympics sports, leadership and related activities that empower the youth to be the agents of change in their communities. The focus shifts from the SORI athletic events to that of a whole school movement for inclusion. Special education and general education students — along with educators and administrators — are encouraged to work together to create supportive classrooms, schoolwide activities, and opportunities for growth and success for all.
While East was honored to be the only RI school to be recognized a few years ago, assistant principal Chris D’Ambrosio said the efforts are ongoing.
“It’s the stuff we do here every day,” said D’Ambrosio.