Yes, learning and fun go together at Saginaw Arthur Hill High School.
Students with special needs at Arthur Hill are acquiring job skills and having fun doing it.
Myrtis Brazil teaches up to 18 students in 11th and 12th grades in her Cognitive Impairment classroom.
She started a Community/Work-Based Learning program in her C.I. class in 2017. "It gives work experience to students in a school setting," Myrtis said. "It's been expanding every year."
The program has a career pathways component where students can learn in office, retail, and custodial settings.
• to get office experience, students help staff by filing, answering phones, and greeting people
• to get retail experience, the classroom maintains a vending machine where students stock products and count money
• to get hands-on custodial experience, school custodians help students learn to sweep floors, clean tables, and properly dispose of trash
In case you are wondering where the proceeds from the vending machine go, it goes toward a good cause. The money helps Myrtis take her students on community field trips to Frankenmuth, area restaurants, and other fun learning excursions such as bowling and attending trampoline parks.
"The students use timesheets to track hours just like a regular job," noted Myrtis, who will be entering her 20th year as an educator this fall, with the past 11 years at Arthur Hill.
Students are also learning the value of volunteering in the community as well, by helping out in local soup kitchens and nursing homes.
"These experiences give students a sense of belonging," Myrtis said. "It helps them feel part of their school and the broader community. This empowers them to interact with others and make friends more easily.”