INVEST in equal opportunity

Amelia Pacht, Staff Writer

The I.N.V.E.S.T. program is a hidden gem found in our school’s special education department.  Since its beginnings in September 2012, I.N.V.E.S.T. has helped Individuals in Need of Vocational, Educational, and Social Transition skills.

The goal of I.N.V.E.S.T. is to aid students with some level of special needs in order for them to be prepared for real life situations.  To help mold these students into members of the larger community, the advisors, Ms. Gloria Vasserstein and Ms. Shantay Betty-Denton, frequently take the three enrolled students on enriching field trips.  The group may, for example, take a public bus after learning how to read a bus schedule or go out for lunch to learn about calculating a tip.

I.N.V.E.S.T. centers around increasing these selected students’ professional, academic, behavioral, and vocational skills and, in doing so, this program provides for a smoother transition from Schreiber into supported employment.

This program was started in Herricks High School and then brought over here by Ms. Mehri Fryzel.  The model Ms. Fryzel has brought to Schreiber is really helping to enrich the academic and social aspects of the lives of its participating students.

Each day, students attend a two hour period structured as a single block to go over important academic material: math, reading, writing, and health and hygiene.  This block period is made up of 45 minute periods of more traditional classroom learning followed by a 15 minute segment to help reward students through a positive reinforcement plan to help the students to stay focused and engaged.

All classes take place in the same room, both providing a level of convenience to the student and eliminating the need for the 5 minute passing period.

Their days are further enhanced by a class period on social learning.  Next is a slot for electives and vocational learning opportunities followed by a class on socially diverse topics.

While there is a schedule in place, no two days are ever the same; students are always doing something new and interesting.  Ms. Vaserstein also heavily encourages volunteering within the program.

“We have encouraged members of specific after school groups to come play games or work on certain areas of interest with the students in the program.  It is an amazing experience for everyone involved,” said Ms. Vaserstein.