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Phase 3- Integrated Reflection I had a bit of an unusual practicum placement this semester as I was paired up with the vocational

coordinator at the local high school who was responsible for job training, vocational placements and work skill development for students with IEPs. Throughout this semester, I have been the job coach for a student sorting and shelving at the library and another student who is cleaning and resetting the dining room of a nursing home after lunch. The students and I go to their site twice a week for about an hour and a half and work on community skills as well. I did an instructional program for one student on bus riding and a program on controlled and uncontrolled street crossing for the other. This was my first experience doing community based instruction, as well as my first formal experience during practicum working with students that had functional life skills goals. This experience had me analyzing and tweaking a task analysis to best fit the student while developing a comprehensive instructional program that would increase my students independence and self reliance in the community. As I worked with my students in their travels to their job sites, I began to truly understand how important it is to individuals with and without disabilities that they are given the tools to participate as independently as possible and be happy and productive members of their communities. A skill such as street crossing <link> can easily be overlooked when a student with disabilities is limited to the opportunity to experience this skill independently. It was difficult to teach because while I wanted to provide my student with the skills and opportunities she needed to cross a road independently, her safety was the obvious priority. But I saw her improve monumentally throughout the semester and anticipate that she will continue utilizing these skills to one day travel independently in her community. I had bus riding program <link> in place for my other student and faced difficulties in teaching this

because of age inappropriate behaviors she would exhibit on the bus. She showed that she was very capable of the skills but was still developing her self reliance in executing these skills independently. This experience in behavior management outside of the classroom challenged me to support my students need in a dignified and effective way in the community setting. Since I was involved in the job training and placement for high school age students with disabilities, I decided to base my Professional Development assignment for practicum on researching different business plans of bakeries around the country that train and employ people with disabilities in an inclusive work environment. Opening a bakery was always the jokingly spoken back up plan for my friends and I during late nights of seemingly endless studying and class work; but in recent months it has become a legitimate idea and serious discussion as we evaluate our different talents that could be put together and run a business. The idea transformed into a bakery that would not only be for profit, but would be a community development initiative; centered on providing job skills, supports, experience and meaningful and enjoyable employment for people with and without disabilities. You can see my proposal for this assignment and completed research info here. <link> When developing this assignment, I spent a lot of time reviewing the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards to ensure that I was aligning my vision as a developing professional with the expectations in place. 1L. facilitates learning experiences that make connections to other content areas and to life and career experiences was a standard that stuck out to me regarding my current practicum site because the experiences that my cooperating teacher facilitated regarding vocational training for our students are so important to the futures of these students as they prepare to leave high school and enter their communities potential employees. These experiences

help the students develop job skills, gain meaningful and productive time spent in the community and develop interests in different fields of potential work. I have learned so much this semester about essential job skills and how they can be taught during meaningful experiences to increase high school students with disabilities positive post graduation outcomes. Everyone has strengths and talents and the youth are the future, so lets keep moving forward and give them a fair shot at their highest potentials in life.