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Teaching Self-Reliance: Nazareth Area High School Introduces ‘Simulated’ Apartment for Life Skills Education

Apartment living can serve as a significant avenue for one’s autonomy, yet it can also present daunting and challenging situations, especially with the added responsibilities.

To address this, Nazareth Area High School has introduced a new initiative aimed at preparing students in advance. The Simulated Apartments program is designed to equip disabled students with essential life skills required for independent living. Through engaging in various activities, students learn about meal planning and preparation, laundry and clothing ironing, budget management, schedule organization, social navigation, and more.

The simulated apartment utilized for this program is meticulously arranged, featuring amenities such as sofas, a kitchen with a dining area, a bedroom, a television, decor, a pantry, and laundry facilities. During a recent session, a student comfortably lounged on the couch, enjoying a weather update on TV.

“I really like it,” expressed 11th grader Averi Stitzer, expressing her excitement about trying her hand at cooking in the simulated apartment.

The Nazareth Area School District recently commemorated the launch of the program with a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the high school. The event was attended by numerous individuals, including Superintendent Richard Kaskey, Director of Special Education AJ Kise, students, and esteemed state representatives like Ann Flood, Joe Emrick, and Zach Mako.

Kaskey emphasized the effectiveness of simulated-based learning in engaging learners and enhancing information retention compared to traditional teaching methods like lectures and workshops.

Kise highlighted the program’s objective to facilitate a smoother transition for disabled students entering independent living, underscoring the significance of inclusivity and diversity in education.

The state officials commended the program and presented Kise with a certificate of recognition for the district’s efforts. They lauded the initiative as a valuable resource for empowering children towards independence and self-sufficiency.

Representatives for officials such as Rep. Susan Wild, Sen. Bob Casey, and Sen. Nick Miller also attended the event, expressing their support for the program.

Assistant Superintendent Isabel Resende expressed gratitude to everyone involved in the program’s development, including donors, staff members who transformed the room into an apartment, and special education teachers. The initiative was hailed as a remarkable opportunity for both students and staff, evoking emotional responses from those present.