Morro Bay High School welcomed a new Special Day Class to campus this school year. Previously, students with moderate to severe disabilities in the area would have commuted every day to San Luis Obispo High. They can now attend Morro Bay High with their peers and siblings. New Teacher Allie Cole heads the MI (More Intensive) program, describing it as a “more intensive Special Education classroom with students who have moderate to severe disabilities.” This year there are 4 students in the MI program, but Cole expects at least 4 more students to join next year. The instructional team consists of Cole, and her two instructional aides: Mick Gallagher and Christina Garcia.
Cole’s team works with these students to attain their individual goals through academic instruction, and life skills. Much of their school day is spent learning and practicing skills in the classroom. Additionally, they participate in elective classes as a way to practice new skills in a classroom environment and to explore their interests.
The program focuses on enriching the lives of these four students based on their individual needs and goals. Cole describes the program’s approach as very team oriented, explaining that she works closely with parents to decide “the appropriate team decision.” Cole states that life skills are a key part of the MI program, “we ask ourselves, how can they be more independent at home? We practice tasks such as setting the table and washing the dishes, becoming more independent with purchasing items or computing how much is needed to purchase an item.”
Furthermore the students take “interest inventories”, which help the instructors develop an educational plan that aligns with the students’ interests. Electives are one way they might pursue these interests, but the team is always working to find ways for the students to explore new things. For example, one student who has a passion for animals is hoping to work with FFA. Cole describes another student who has a passion for football “practices throwing the football and practicing plays with Mick (instructional assistant) almost every single day, while wearing football gear, meaning pads and a jersey that coach Kelly graciously gave to him.” Additionally, “two of our students work daily in the cafeteria after lunch to restock food items. This is a good work skill for them and they are getting good at it!”
When asked about how MBHS has received the new MI program, Cole expressed her gratitude towards the campus and staff, “everyone’s been really welcoming.” In the future, Cole hopes to collaborate with campus more, adding, “we are a lot of fun, come by room 402 and say hi, it’s a great community.”
Buddy club is one way MBHS students might get involved; the club meets Tuesdays at lunch in room 402 for fun and games. All students are welcome. There is also a Unified Sports soccer event coming up in January. Peer coaches and players are needed. If interested, students can come to Buddy Club for more info, or stop by room 402 and ask Ms. Cole.