New course offering for SHS Academy


The goal of The Academy at Seymour High School is for the students to be successful after they leave high school in whatever options they would like to pursue.

Mika Ahlbrand, director of special education for Seymour Community School Corp., said the program is for students who are pursuing a certificate of completion.

School officials want to make sure people know how proud they are of the students who earn that certificate and the hard work that goes into it.

Ahlbrand [email protected]

The Academy supports the student’s individual vocational, academic, social, independent living and postsecondary training goals.

There are a lot of updated changes and laws surrounding the students who participate in the life skills program and students who earn the certificate of completion, Ahlbrand said.

“We also have programming below the high school grades to support getting ready for The Academy program,” said Marykate Helmsing, assistant director of special education. “We offer programming at all the grade levels for students who have a need, from preschool to Grade 12 plus.”

The life skills program has been in place for many years, but it has evolved into what is now called The Academy during the 2017-18 school year.

Helmsing said the high school program has 34 students currently, including grades 9 through 12 plus.

During a school board meeting earlier this month, SHS Principal Greg Prange discussed a new class offering, 5330 Applied Adult Roles and Responsibilities, for The Academy.

The class is recommended as life foundations and academic enrichment for students with interest in family and community services, personal and family finance and similar areas.

This course will aim to build knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors that students will need as they complete high school and prepare to take the next steps toward adulthood in today’s society.

The new class also includes the study of interpersonal standards, lifespan roles and responsibilities, individual and family resource management and financial responsibility and resources.

It is a community-based approach that utilizes problem-solving skills, communication, leadership, self-determination skills, management processes and fundamentals to college, career and community membership success.

The course counts as an elective or employability requirement for the certificate of completion.

“The new course will benefit the students, as our goal in The Academy is to have students progress through programming that is meaningful and purposeful for them,” Helmsing said. “There has been a great deal of work completed over the past five years to review and revise the criteria to earn a certificate of completion.”

She said there is a required course of study for The Academy, and they began offering more class options prior to the new requirements, so they felt ready for this change.

Ahlbrand said it’s their goal for the students to have a smooth transition to life after high school in order to live a fulfilling life.

“The new course, applied adult roles and responsibilities, that will be offered at SHS supports this vision perfectly by allowing our students a course where they can explore the community, learn to shop for themselves, meet a friend or family member at a restaurant and navigate public transportation,” she said.

Ahlbrand said they currently have three incredible teachers in The Academy who teach a variety of courses, including Applied English 9, Applied Algebra I, Applied Nutrition and Wellness, Applied Career Exploration, Applied Business Math, Applied Life Science, Basic Skills Development, Applied Geography and History of the World.

Helmsing said the students are not limited to these courses and they attend many of the courses offered to all students at the high school, including adaptive PE, weights, textiles, nutrition and wellness, child development, earth space and English.

“Our students have four-, five- and six-year plans depending on their goals and needs. Our guidance counselors work with students, teachers and families to determine their schedule,” Helmsing said.

They are always mindful of their student’s strengths, interests and postsecondary goals when determining their high school plan.

Ahlbrand said the certificate of completion is important and means a lot and the students should feel proud to earn that distinction.

There are many requirements that go into earning the certificate, but those are individualized to meet all of their students’ needs, she added.

Helmsing said it is important for the employers in the community to have an understanding that even though a student might not have earned a diploma, they have worked hard for completion and can still be a great employee.

No posts to display