Testimony of Ilene Poses to the Board of Education, May30, 2019

Based upon a recent meeting that I had attended at the last Student Achievement Committee Meeting there appears to be an interest in transition programs for special education students.

While working as a special education teacher at Olney High in the late 1980s I had the benefit of witnessing an exemplary program that I thought then should have been replicated but it is still in existence today. For 44 years the Ancillary Hospital Services Program has been preparing special education students for meaningful employment after graduation. The students perform community service in a variety of vocational training stations tailored to each student’s level, e.g. food preparation, filing, mailing, transportation, care of linens, cleaning of equipment, etc. at the Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia campus. The highly structured environment helps students become productive community members and has even led to employment upon graduation.

Academic skills are driven by students’ IEPs but speaking and writing skills are emphasized as well as an understanding of personal finance. Students work with adult role models and receive continuous feedback and encouragement. The program works with approximately 18 students and next years’ students attend Lincoln, King, Widener, Kensington, Pickett Charter, Green Tree and Olney Charter High Schools. The program began in 1975 at Olney High School with special education teacher Mark Spiller, a Rose Lindenbaum Winner, who is still involved in this program and has a wealth of knowledge to share should this program be expanded to other settings. Why not take advantage of a program that has been successful for so many years in providing job skills, job training and in many cases long term employment for special education students?

After seeing the same rejected charters reapply with almost the same applications I say –

(Tune of “Pick-a bale of cotton”)
Jump down, turn around
Pick another charter school.
Jump down, turn around
Tacony’s here again.

Jump down, turn around
Expand another charter school.
Jump down, turn around
String Theory tries again. Oh Lordy…