The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

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New Adaptive Electives added to course selection

Course offerings inspire student collaboration, bonding
Adaptive PE students and student leaders complete abbreviated triathlon during the December 2023 finals session (photo courtesy of Randy Antlept).

After the successful implementation of Adaptive Physical Education (PE) courses this school year, causing the growth and collaboration of both Learning Independence for Everyday (LIFE) students and General Education student leaders alike, LT has created new adaptive elective courses for the next two years. The plan is to offer a different elective each semester, including art, culinary art, music, and applied technology, so that a variety of student interests are met, Special Education Division Chair Melissa Moore said.

“For our diverse learners, our goal is to design a curriculum and environment that provides the most benefit,” Moore said. “Our second goal is for the [student] leaders to really have those opportunities to learn and practice leadership skills, [as well as] learn how to communicate with and work with people who are from all walks of life. Hopefully [the student leaders] develop a passion and a really solid skill set. Our third goal is to create that inclusive environment at LT. When we create inclusive environments in the classroom, it impacts our culture as a whole.”

In addition to the implementation of the elective courses, the Adaptive PE program is being brought to NC students, LIFE PE instructor Kristine Vins said. Now future 10th, 11th, and 12th grade general education students can apply to be student leaders and guide the class. 

As student leaders, individuals work with teachers and LIFE classmates to adapt to the class and ensure a welcoming and respectful environment is cultivated. The course allows life-long relationships to be fostered between peers, and grants the opportunity to practice social skills and develop a love for physical activity. 

“While we are looking at this through a PE [and elective] curriculum and the skills everyone should gain from those areas, we are also layering in these skills of leadership, collaboration, adapting instruction and adapting environments to meet the needs of everyone, which is very rewarding,” Moore said.

For many years, several PE teachers have been researching, networking with other schools in the area with similar programs, and doing site visits in an effort to identify the adaptive model that best fits the needs of LT, she said. That time and preparation has laid the groundwork for creating adaptive electives. While few schools in the area have adaptive elective courses, LT has not backed down from pioneering these modified course plans.

“Seeing the [students] grow and gain confidence in their skills and themselves has truly been the most impactful [part of the adaptive PE course],” Adaptive PE Leader Lisa Baron ‘26 said. “It’s been incredible to witness how the [students] have opened up to us as leaders. They trust us and feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings. It’s those little victories every day that make it all so memorable and what has brightened my experience.”

Everyday is a new adventure in the classroom, she said. While leaders get creative and come up with their own games and direct the activity, they also support their students and adjust to their needs. With the hopes of taking the elective offerings next school year, Baron recommends all students participate in the program.

“These adaptive classes are so important because they provide an inclusive and supportive environment for students of all abilities,” she said. “It is an opportunity for everyone to participate, learn, and grow together. Adaptive classes promote empathy, understanding, and the development of important skills, while also fostering a sense of belonging and confidence. It’s a positive force for all students.”

The Adaptive Program has also created a stronger sense of community, Best Buddies club sponsor Cassandra Niego said.

“After just one semester of this course we have already noted positive changes in Best Buddies,” Niego said. “A few of the Adaptive PE leaders have reached out to see how they can become more active in Best Buddies & have elected to take more of a leadership role in the club. In the future, I am guessing more of our LIFE students will become more active in our Best Buddies club as well.”

For those looking to become a Adaptive PE student leader, all are welcome to apply with an online Google form located on the LT webpage. The application is not required for signing up as an elective student leader. Elective and PE class sizes may vary depending on safety and classroom space, but the intention is to include as many students as possible, Moore said. 

“It is beyond valuable to reach out to people and [get] to know them for who they really are,” she said. “Sometimes that causes discomfort because you might feel like you don’t know how to interact with somebody who has differences from you, but being willing to put yourself out there, get to know someone, establish a relationship and invite them in, will allow you both to learn so much from one another.”

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Jaclyn Cummings
Jaclyn Cummings, News Editor

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