Curriculum & Courses
Program of Study
Project Panther LIFE’s current curricula for students with disabilities is guided by the principles of individualized and person-centered, functional or practical to maximize independence, adaptive or adjustable to meet each student's needs, and ecologically relevant or based on the student's environments and major activities. This curriculum framework has been further developed and refined to include the ten (10) critical areas of independent living as proposed by Wehman and Kregel (1997) (e.g., self-determination, functional academics and technology, financial planning and money management, electives and memberships, etc.) and a detailed curriculum map will be developed aligning each domain with the activities and supports provided by each member of the partnership. Each planned activity and support will lead students to increased levels of knowledge and skills gained through access and meaningful participation in postsecondary education and related experiences.
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A variety of university credit-bearing courses will be available to students in Project Panther LIFE alongside students without disabilities. Students in the program are considered non-degree seeking students and have the option of taking university courses for either credit or audit. Students will be encouraged to take up to three (3) courses per semester. At the end of each semester, course instructors will be prompted to complete an End of Semester Report addressing the following areas: a) Student's Level of Participation, b) Student's Interaction with Instructor, c) Student's Interaction with Other Students in Class, and d) Student's Overall Performance (Strengths and Areas Needing Improvement) in order to monitor student progress in courses.
Online Academic Curriculum
Panther LIFE students will continue to access I-Ready (http://www.i-ready.com/mdcps), a reading and math online academic curriculum for students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency (LEP). This online integrated learning system includes: a) animated interactive activities with graphics, audio, and engaging games in the areas of reading and math; b) computer-adaptive placement assessment; c) automatic individualized instruction and self-pacing; d) supportive, immediate, and correct student feedback; and e) comprehensive assessment and progress reports. The reading curriculum of I-Ready focuses on phonemic awareness, phonics, high frequency words, vocabulary development, and comprehension. The math curriculum is designed to build skills while providing guided instruction and a problem solving approach. This curriculum focuses on numbers and operations, measurement, geometry, and algebra. Ongoing assessment in reading and math will be conducted by the M-DCPS Project Coordinator to monitor student progress.
The Life Centered Education (LCE) Transition Curriculum will continue to be accessed by Panther LIFE students to allow them to develop the necessary skills needed to exit school, enter the work place, and live independently. The primary goal is to increase a student's independence in the areas of job skills and daily living through the creation of learning opportunities in the context of real-world scenarios.
Fieldwork and Internship Experiences
Students in Project Panther LIFE will continue to participate in a variety of planned and supervised job shadowing and employment internship experiences within the University and local community. Job shadowing experience sites include more opportunities for Panther LIFE students to acquire a variety of employability skills. Current job shadowing sites include the College of Education's Dean Office, Recreational Center, Children's Creative Learning Center (CCLC), Athletic Department (football), and Division of Human Resources (HR). Furthermore, for those students who are ready for a more intense employability experience, they will participate in a two-semester supervised employment internship. Duration of internships will be approximately 12 weeks and 10 hours a week. During these employment experiences, students will be supported by the project coordinator and job coaches, and all on-site supervisors will be asked to complete an Employability Skills Checklist to provide the program feedback about student performance on the job in the areas of time and space, social competence, physical characteristics, and work.