Chris teaches students with learning disabilities in grades 9-12. In one classroom, he can have a student with a Traumatic Brain Injury, another born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, or a student affected by Autism; many have Emotional Behavior Disorder. 90% of his students are on free or reduced lunch, which can also affect learning as well as behavior. Because he has the same students for four years (from the time they are freshmen to seniors), he cannot teach the same curriculum twice. So he is constantly generating innovative ideas and implementing problem-solving techniques to keep the material fresh and accessible. In spring 2011, Chris started a new curriculum, wood shop. He integrated business, marketing, and design principles and taught his students how to make bat houses that were then sold to the community. These were a huge success and all the product sold quickly. The immediate benefit the kids received from building something with their own hands was powerful, and it got Chris thinking. In fall 2012, he started a new curriculum that involved a partnership with a community garden and combined gardening, cooking, and nutrition. Now, he has created a total of four new classes that all build practical skills. These include wood shop, nutrition cooking class, bicycle mechanics, and a greenhouse class to grow seedlings and sell in the community.
See Idea Details