Life Skills Class Makes a Splash

Grace Hsieh, Writer

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This school year, the Life Skills class is getting more hands-on experience in working with the school and local community through the newly implemented classroom recycling program, PVHS staff coffee deliveries, and inventory tasks at the Lunada Bay Market.
Recycling is a vocational opportunity that allows the students to participate in meaningful social interaction and develop a sense of responsibility.
Life skills teacher Daniel Kilpatrick thought this weekly task would be a great activity to promote positive social interactions outside of the classroom.
All 14 students in the program pick up recycling from classrooms and sort the bottles, glass, and paper goods. Proceeds from their recycling go back to the program to benefit other activities for the class.
“It’s a good way to teach our students the importance of conversation, as well as opportunities to interact with the kids. The sense of responsibility and feeling like the students are a part of something is big for the kids in the life skills center,” Kilpatrick said.
Ethan Hassanzai likes to walking around school and greeting teachers and classmates.
“Recycling helps the earth and keeps it clean,” said Hassanzai.
Students also learn other basic skills, like following a written schedule, and they improve communication skills by greeting others and asking questions.
“The students truly enjoy when the doors are open and see smiling students. They get giddy,” said Kilpatrick. “[The class in] Room 328 always greets in Spanish and the students learn a bit as well.”
These positive interactions with other students has opened more opportunities for students in Life Skills to be a part of the campus community.
“The recycling program has been very successful and the students have filled beds of two pickup trucks so far,” said Kilpatrick.
In addition to helping the school community, Life Skills students also participate in the local community, specifically at the Lunada Bay Market.
At the Lunada Bay Market, Macabee Harrison and his peers count inventory items, check the temperature of refrigerators and freezers, and stock shelves.
After students complete these tasks, owner Jocelyn Lopez often has a taste test or mini-lesson involving particular food groups.
Recently, Lopez shared a mini-lesson with students regarding the store’s Green Machine smoothies. She asked students to identify green fruits and vegetables to come up with the recipe for the smoothie.
“Jocelyn Lopez lets us taste test smoothies. There was kale, spinach, apple, and kiwi. The smoothie was yummy,” said Harrison. He gave the smoothie two thumbs up.
The students always clean up and have a sense a responsibility when working at the store. They politely greet the staff members and practice opening doors for patrons. They also purchase snack items and ingredients for weekly cooking lessons in class.

According to Kilpatrick, the community is very welcoming and supportive. He remarked that the students are always helping out and always smiling, as are the market’s staff.

The students practice skills in their own class store, the Life Skills Center, before putting this skills to use at the market.

Megan Ghanian’s favorite program is the coffee delivery.

“The coffee delivery is new and the latest project at the life skills center,” said Kilpatrick.

Students accept orders in the morning from teachers, who can place an order by filling out a form and putting it in Kilpatrick’s box.

The students collect the form, prepare the coffee, and set up the cart. The students learn to brew coffee and fill up a karaff to pour the coffee out for teachers.

“The main office is always nice and my favorite place to go,” said Ghanian.

The proceeds from the $1 cups of coffee are put back into the supplies fund.

“The students are so happy and love the social aspect. They are always smiling and the school staff has given positive feedback,” said Kilpatrick.

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Life Skills Class Makes a Splash