Special Education Program Changes Lives

Students+in+the+special+education+program+work+on+organizing+folders+as+Mrs.McElroy+assists.+

Amy Surface

Students in the special education program work on organizing folders as Mrs.McElroy assists.

Amy Surface, Writer

The Special Education Program at Ozark High School is working on some intriguing concepts that are different than the traditional ideas represented in many other classrooms. 

Students in these classes focus on functional skills such as cooking, cleaning, and shopping. They also practice safety by going into the community and learning about crossing the street, public transportation, and usage of money. Students have the opportunity to learn skills that will benefit them throughout life, now and after high school. 

When asked about something she has enjoyed doing in school, one junior said, “Anything with ceramics because I like making coils.” 

There are multiple extracurricular clubs and activities that allow those in special education to connect easier with their peers and feel more comfortable in social situations.

Ozzie’s Cafe is another project the special education class works on. It is a monthly program where the kids bring lunch to the teachers and have the chance to communicate with them. A separate version of this is Ozzie’s Rolling Cafe, a coffee cart that the class drives around for the staff during advisory. 

“It’s a really good practical skill for the kids and they get to work on customer service. It’s a great experience for all involved and the teachers always say how great it is,” said Mrs. Erin McElroy, one of the special education teachers. McElroy enjoys being able to help students with their problems. 

“My favorite moments are what I would call, ‘aha moments’ and those are times when kids just get it. Everyone knows that feeling when you finally understand something,” said McElroy.