New year calls for new opportunity for Life Skills students to cook up a storm


Students in the integrated Foods I class look inside the oven at their culinary creation. This is the first time the life skills students have gotten to cook in a class at school.

Alex Ketcham, Sports Editor

They say if you can’t take the heat then stay out of the kitchen, and the Life Skills students will try their hands at taking the heat this year in a new integrated Foods I class.

The class will be an addition to the Life Skills program, where special education students are able to learn real world skills, according to Pete Nadler, special education department chair. The class will be open to anyone who wants to take the class regardless of whether or not they are in the Life Skills program.

“The long-term goal for the students is to enable them and to give them as many skills as they can to become the most independent people that they can be,” Nadler said. “That’s not just being able to cook, but it’s also how are you going to interact with others, how will you take directions from others.”

The class will run first semester and will be co-taught by Rachael Fischer, foods teacher,and Shannon Mix, new foods teacher, according to Fischer. It will follow the same structure of past Foods I classes. according to Fischer.

“We’re not changing any of the curriculum, [but] we might just change some of the recipes to fit the needs of the students a bit more. Other than that everything is going to be exactly the same,” Fischer said.

The concept of an integrated Foods I class may be a brand-new idea, however, the thought of an integrated class is no new concoction, as the concept has also been done with a Cadet Choir class, according to Nadler.

“We had the idea in October of last year sort of piggy backing on the choir class and just getting more opportunities for these students just to be out in General ed classes with their general education peers.”

Providing all students with skills that will help them in the classroom and in life after schooling is no new ideology for the district. The mission statement for District 95 is to “empower every learner to achieve personal excellence,” and that way of thinking is why the district exists, according to the district website.

“When you talk about the special education program, and specifically life skills, when [the life skills students] leave us, we need to make sure that they are prepared to live in today’s world,” Nadler said. “Not only as special educators do we want to ensure that they are as independent as possible, but we are also legally tied to it as well but that’s secondary to our wants for those kids.”

At the moment, there is no integrated follow up course if students want to take a more advanced foods class, as the department wants to see how this first section goes, but it is still a possibility, according to Nadler.

“We want to make sure that this is successful before we start getting ahead of ourselves. Much like choir we didn’t know how it was going to go. We were thinking it was going to be successful and it was a valuable experience for everyone who was in it including the staff members. We are hopeful that it’s going to be similar but we’ll see.”