High school students are grouped according to their chronological ages, enabling both age-appropriate educational experiences and, perhaps even more important, age-appropriate social interaction.
Students in grades nine through twelve, ages fourteen to eighteen, participate daily in a unique afternoon prevocational program designed to develop skills and attitudes that enhance their social development and allow them to participate in meaningful cooperative work. Working individually or in small groups, students rotate through various prevocational crews including the school store, household activities, gardening, landscaping, weaving, sewing, woodworking, maintenance, life skills, and stable and animal care.
As in their earlier school years, high school students receive small group and individualized instruction addressing their unique needs. In addition, however, they are permitted to choose from elective courses according to their interests and talents. Our elective courses have included:
- Auto Shop
- Book Club
Social, Cultural, and Athletic Activities
Friends and social relationships are of paramount importance to this age group! Trips to museums, plays, movies, or concerts enrich academic programming. Birthdays are hugely special occasions, especially the “big” ones such as sixteen and eighteen. Dances are perennial favorites and every spring the Student Council sponsors a Prom. Ski trips, swim programs, and our own horse shows and recitals give students other avenues for interaction and growth.
Each year students in the high school elect student council officers and representatives from each grade. The student council meets with its faculty advisor to discuss student issues and concerns and to suggest and plan activities. Student council-sponsored activities have included a dance benefiting Hurricane Katrina victims and the Camphill Special School Prom.
Adolescents with developmental disabilities encounter the same challenges that typical teenagers face surrounding issues of privacy, personal space, sexuality, relationships, and, sometimes, abuse. Camphill Special School supports our students in these areas of concern so that they may feel comfortable with themselves and their sexuality, understand cultural norms of privacy and intimacy, pursue relationships that bring them joy and fulfillment, and be empowered to advocate for themselves in all areas of life, including the avoidance of abuse.
Accordingly, our school has designed a comprehensive educational program about these issues, not only for students, but also for students’ parents and the school’s staff. The School seeks to create a community of coworkers, teachers and aides, administrative staff, parents, and students that “supports the wholeness of a person and recognizes that a healthy sexuality is grounded in a sense of security, safety and well being … a culture that supports people to live by respectful, mutual, consensual agreements in all aspects of life” (Wolfson, J. 2003. Soltane Whole Community Approach to Empowering Sexuality and Preventing Abuse).
To accomplish this, Camphill Special School offers a comprehensive educational program for all concerned.