I subbed at Mountain View High School (MVHS) today. Most Orem, Utah residents (whose kids do not go to MVHS) think the school looks like a prison. It reminds me of an airline terminal or train station. Not much better than a prison, and at the same time not very welcoming. What is evident is the school district needs to spend a little loot to update the building and the classrooms.
I subbed for a special education teacher. Fortunately, the para took over and I assisted. The class is well designed where there are only six students in the class at a time with a teacher, an aide and a peer-tutor for each student. MVHS has two of these classes where the class I subbed in had the lower functioning students. Still, the students are all high-functioning autistic teenagers and for the most part very friendly. I asked the aide, Alex, if the kids knew they were in a regular high school and he said they did and were filled with school-spirit just like the other kids in the school. He said they only spend two periods a day in special-ed, the rest of the time, they go with a peer-tutor to different elective classes like photo, art, choir, home-economics, etc. where they integrate with the rest of the student body.
I enjoyed myself. I was able to work one on one with the kids where in other classes I sub for large numbers of students. Last week, I taught drafting (one of my favorite subjects) to four classes of thirty-plus seventh/eighth-graders. That school has no budget, so all I could do was show them on the whiteboard instead of wandering around a real drafting room helping kids stay focused and helping those that need individual attention as a drafting class should be run.
Even though my students today were all special needs kids, they were happy to be where they are doing the things kids their age are doing with a skilled though inexpensive program (relatively).