Don't underestimate these teens!

As some of you may have read, I have recently started a BRAND NEW self-contained Autism classroom in a public High School. Fitting into a school with 1,800 students has certainly been a challenge for myself and my students. Loud, crowded hallways, lots of unfamiliar faces, a giant maze-like building, and of course SO MANY anxiety-provoking changes to our routines since we are all arriving to the school for the first time.

In spite of all of the challenges, there have been so many amazing victories! While my boys are thrilled each time they make a new adult friend around the building, the days that I count as victories are those in which other students make an effort to get involved with our classroom. So far we have had 3 wonderful victories:
  1. Two High School seniors have socialized with and eaten lunch with our students at least once per week since the second week in school :) and P.S. this is seriously ALL my boys chat about when they return to class. Little charmers constantly updating me on who is the prettiest girl they saw in the lunch room, who they "almost love like a girlfriend," and which girl gave them a high five in the hallway!! Love them!
  2. I have been interviewed on three occasions by members of the school paper, two of the interviews have been with the same student who told me helping my students fit in is a task "near and dear to his heart!" This student has since coordinated with myself, two other teachers of special needs classes at the High School, as well as our principal to begin setting up a Buddy Program (all his idea)!
  3. Today, following a meeting with my case manager, I reached out to various arts and music teachers to find out if anyone could help me find students who may be interested in doing some fun, artsy groups with my boys. BOOM! Before I knew it one teacher tracked me down with a previous student of hers looking to make a difference during her independent study. She completely blew me away with her enthusiasm and intuition into helping learners with special needs despite no previous experience! Such a wonderful day to be in public education :)

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