“I know it may not seem like a lot,” said Glenvar Middle School life skills teacher Kathy Mallette, “but $320 is about three years’ budget.”
That $320 is what Cindy Shelor, parent of one of Mallette’s students, was able to raise for her son Zach‘s class. Shelor worked with her friend Kim Russell on the fundraiser. Russell is the local independent senior director for Thirty-One; she helped Shelor host a Thirty-One party at her home in late October. Twenty five percent of what Cindy collected in sales (most of which were taken during the party) went to help Cindy’s 12-year-old son Zach and his fellow classmates with intellectual disabilities.
“I’ve been blessed with this opportunity to sell Thirty-One,” Russell said. “This is my way to give back.”
Mallette’s life skills class does just what it sounds like: teaches life skills to students with intellectual disabilities so they can achieve more independence later in their lives. Her students learn to cook and follow recipes, sort items in a store-like setting, make a bed and much more. The extra $320 will buy the class spatulas, bowls with suction on the bottom and ingredients for their recipes.
Special education teacher Dr. Courtney Powell helped to develop a recipe book for each student. On Cooking Fridays, the students “read through the recipes and go get the ingredients. Everyone gets to do almost everything,” Powell said, like stirring. “At the end of the year, they’ll each have a book with the recipes. Each Friday, we do two recipes.”
“That’s where the expense comes in,” Mallette added.
GMS principal Jamie Soltis is quite impressed with the class and their application of the skills and concepts they teach. Soltis observed the class last week. “They were using cooking as a way to teach math skills, like fractions,” he said. The lesson also included right angles and the greater than and less than symbols, Soltis said. “They were using higher level thinking skills and had to apply what they learned.”
Soltis isn’t the only one who’s impressed by Mallette’s students.
“On Friday [Nov. 16] the eighth-graders went on a field trip. The ones who couldn’t go came in to our room to help cook,” Mallette said. “They [her students] wowed them” with their cooking skills.
On Wednesday, Mallette’s students cooked a full Thanksgiving meal prior to the holiday–turkey and all!