High School at Matheny

Matheny High School students engage in creative lessons that follow New Jersey Common Core State Standards and the Core Curriculum Content Standards. In high school, Matheny students rotate classes for each subject reflecting the typical high school experience and where teachers can give highly individualized attention to each student’s academic need. The teachers, therapists, and paraprofessionals provide age appropriate experiences in the classroom that reflect becoming more active decision makers in creating their own milestones.

Beginning at age 14 we place greater focus on the development of practical transitional skills in preparation for the student’s life after special education high school and the transition to adult life options. Some of these transition skills may be as basic as the acquisition of daily living skills to maximize their independence. Students participant in a Structured Learning Experience working through the Novice Level where they develop skills in the school and then to the Journeyman Level, where they practice the skills supported in a variety of community settings. Those who reach Mastery are provided job coaches to support their transition to independence in the work place.

Assistive and educational technology is a major part of each student’s instruction. Students are individually assessed and provided the necessary technology to optimize their learning. Touch screens, SMART Boards, iPads, laptops, and adaptive and alternative keyboards are integral to our students’ high school experience. Because of this emphasis on technology, Matheny high school students develop their individualized communications and increase their level of independence in all aspects of their school day.

Monthly assemblies and field trips to destinations such as museums, aquariums, and sporting activities reinforce student learning objectives.


Goals of the High School:
  • Maximize each student’s daily utilization of their individualized communication
  • Provide the traditional high school experience through departmentalized instruction
  • Increase each student’s knowledge of grade level topics through hands-on and interactive learning experiences supported by therapy
  • Develop student’s ability to support a position and communicate these experiences to their peers or community members

Visual and Performing Arts

Music and Art classes provide another modality for student learning. Instruction follows the Core Curriculum Content Standards (CCCS) and all the activities conducted in these classes support the instructional content occurring at the student’s respective grade level.

Music
Through the use of multisensory instruction, our music classes provide the students another avenue for articulating their own thoughts and ideas. Listening, seeing, moving, feeling, and participating are all important aspects of the music curriculum. Music instruction is integrated with the thematic units occurring in the respective grade level so there is close collaboration among all teachers and the reinforcement of learning.

Students create music with iPads, conduct recording sessions, and produce annual music variety shows with the use of adapted instruments.

Art
Our art classes provide motivating opportunities to see and experience the world through visual, three-dimensional and tactile modalities. Lessons are designed to support classroom instruction as a collaborative approach to reinforce self-direction, decision-making, and the art standards.

Materials are adapted to maximize student participation through positioning, fine motor adaptations and specialized communication supports. For example, while studying the Renaissance period of history, students lying face up and using adaptive splints to hold paint brushes were able to experience what it must have felt like to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.


Comprehensive Health and Physical Education

For many of our students, movement activities and developing individual physical abilities offer important opportunities for self-expression and skill development. Physical Education (PE) at Matheny School focuses on the development of motor skills and patterns, hand-eye coordination, body awareness, and overall fitness. Adapted PE teachers continually make adjustments in the program to accommodate each student’s needs and to maximize participation.

The goals of our Physical Education program are to:

  • Improve body awareness
  • Enhance lifelong health and physical fitness
  • Identify functional independence through adaptations
  • Develop the student’s confidence and build self-esteem through realistic short-term goals

Matheny School students experience team spirit and utilize the skills they’ve learned during PE class by participating in adapted versions of traditional sports. Through the use of adapted equipment and modified rules, students engage in such sports as:

  • Soccer
  • Volleyball
  • Football
  • Lacrosse
  • Basketball
  • Golf
  • Floor Hockey
  • Swimming
  • Baseball
  • Obstacle Course Relays

These team activities provide the students many opportunities to develop their leadership, problem solving, cooperation, teamwork, and social interaction skills.

Our students particularly enjoy the occasions they compete against regular education students at public and private schools as part of Matheny’s Community-based Adapted Physical Education Program. During these visits, all the students utilize adapted and assistive technology to compete in traditional physical education activities such as soccer, football, and bowling. Community program contact: jhintenach@matheny.org.

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