High school isn’t just about preparing students for college, it’s about preparing them for the rest of their lives.
Darla Novick, a Structured Learning Experience Coordinator at Brick Township High School, believes this, and it was her “dream” to give her students tools to build for the future.
She began to think of ways she could transform her classroom for her students to aid in their post-graduate life as well as to properly align school activity with Governor Christie’s legislation regarding New Jersey being a “Work First State.”
Mrs. Novick’s Special Education students (between the ages of 14-21) do not typically go on to attend college after high school. Therefore, the skills needed for life after high school school have to be learned before graduating. To help accomplish this goal, Mrs. Novick had the dream of setting up a school store called the “Dragon Depot.” (The school’s mascot is the Green Dragon).
At the depot, students learn vocational skills to help prepare them for the transition from high school to post school employment. After hours of applying for grants and securing funds and needed materials, Mrs. Novick and fellow teachers started cleaning out the soon to be “Dragon Depot” room which was currently cluttered with antiquated equipment and useless tools. The dream had become a reality. Mrs. Novick was quick to assure me that this could NOT have happened without the amazing help of Lardieri Woodworking, her coworkers and other faculty/staff at the school.
Currently, the Dragon Depot is offering a long list of items which include balloons, bracelets, candles, dog treats, drinks, and much more.
Mrs. Novick told us that she is already seeing the positive impact of the Depot on her students. She spoke of a particular student who doesn’t communicate much, and took a special liking to working with the greenhouse and plants.
This is something that probably never would have come to light had the opportunity not been given. Now Mrs. Novick looks to build upon this new found desire to help this student grow in her vocational skills. The store also provides opportunities for the special education students to communicate with the rest of the student body aiding in the school community.
Overall, students are engaged and enjoy participating in the varies projects while they learn skills that they will carry with them for the future!
-Words & Photos by Rebekah Thompson