In this program, students with autism are taught through systematic strategies and are consistently reinforced for displaying desired behaviors. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the most commonly used evidence-based approach for teaching students with autism. Using Applied Behavioral Analysis in the classroom allows the teachers to plan and implement individualized programs that meet each student's unique needs in a structured and consistent manner. A vital part of this program is the collection of daily data to measure the progression of skill development and to equip staff with information they need to make judgments regarding programs. Social skills training is incorporated into all autistic classes and is applied during community-based instruction. Instruction in the community provides a real-world opportunity to assist in the generalization of skills learned in the classrooms. Staff members engage in strategic planning for transition to more inclusive settings. The social skills curriculum focuses on the development of social skills including play, conversation, understanding nuances, body language and various sensitive topics.
Multiple Disabilities Program
The Multiple Disabilities Program provides instruction leading to a successful transition from school to adult life. The curriculum addresses functional academics, the acquisition of life skills and workplace readiness skills. Students learn how to operate as independently as possible in school, home and community settings.
Individualized instruction supports different learning styles. Social skills groups address issues of adolescence and decision-making. Through Community-Based Instruction (CBI), students are provided real-world experiences to assist in the generalization of skills learned in the classroom and school setting.
Behavior Disabilities Program
The Behavioral Disabilities Program provides support for academic progress while enabling students to obtain strategies to improve social and emotional skills. Students are able to access a wide variety of services including participation in individual and small group counseling, social decision-making and anger management groups. Crisis intervention team members and behavioral assistants provide support and assistance to staff and students. School-wide behavior support systems ensure that Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs) are implemented through all school and community settings.
Cognitive Severe Program
The Cognitive Severe Program provides intense therapy and classroom support for students with the most severe medical, cognitive, and physical needs. A collaborative approach is used with classroom staff and therapists working together to provide a stimulating and supportive environment for those students with significant developmental delays. The goal is to keep the students actively engaged throughout the school day using a wide array of sensory experiences and integrated techniques and strategies.
Career Readiness Programs
A variety of career readiness opportunities are available to students based on interest and ability level. The programs allow students to sample different careers while developing job skills that can lead to future employment. Students learn responsibility and the value of work ethic. They develop functional skills, which will assist them as they prepare for graduation and entry into supported employment or the competitive job market.
Buildings and Grounds Program
The Buildings and Grounds Program provides experiences in custodial maintenance and buildings/grounds maintenance. Students learn the daily routine, planning, and scheduling required in order to provide lawn and tree/shrub maintenance at all MCSSSD schools on campus. Students learn how to use a time clock and are paid for duties include raking leaves, trimming bushes/trees and grass cutting utilizing the proper tools and machinery. Moreover, they learn the proper maintenance of their tools and machinery such as lawn mowers. Students also learn how to perform building maintenance duties such as furniture moving, repair and assembly, and any task a custodial/maintenance person may perform, such as the proper handling/disposing of recyclable materials. They learn the valuable, marketable job skill of proper operation of power tools such as drills, and workshop tools such as the belt sander, scroll saw, and drill press. An emphasis is placed on personal, ladder, and OSHA workplace safety.
Computers and Technology Program
The Computers and Technology Program gives an introduction to various software applications. Students can be introduced to a wide array of software applications where they will learn about in the word processing, spreadsheets, databases and creating presentations. Students may learn about desktop publishing, basic programming, and multimedia design. Students are involved in creating the school newspaper, publishing the annual yearbook and producing films and video projects.
Food Services Program
The Food Services Program functions as a fully operational industrial-grade kitchen. Students in this program learn everything from the basics such as the safe handling of food and OSHA kitchen safety regulations, to how to operate and clan commercial-grade kitchen equipment such as dishwashers, convection ovens, ranges, steamers, and hi-volume bakery-grade mixers. Students operate the Hard Hat Café, which serves students and staff daily at Mercer High School. Students will also learn the practicalities of leftovers, and logistics of high-volume food production in which they plan and prepare buffets, sit down meals, fast food service, as well as manage complete responsibility for preparing a monthly birthday party for students and staff. They also make snacks for Board of Education meetings and special district events throughout the school year, which are well-received! The staff of the Food Service Program is proud to announce that they are branching out to include recipes for today’s trendy foods as well as promoting diversity by preparing ethnic foods from around the globe.
As an elective, the Industrial Arts Class allows the students to use power and hand tools to create wooden items from patterns for their personal use and/or promotion in our dollar store, seasonal sales, or craft shows. The students learn about various construction methods/materials and how they can apply them in their daily lives. An emphasis is placed on personal safety.
Office Skills Program
The Office Skills Program is designed to develop awareness of multiple professions and career choices that require skills in computer basics and keyboarding, word processing, clerical skills, business communications and day-to-day office procedures.
During the course of the year, students perform simulated office tasks in a business environment. They have opportunities to provide clerical assistance to the various offices throughout the district as well as finishing “live work” projects. They will also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of “pop-up” business opportunities that arise on-campus, which afford lessons in logistics, supply-and-demand, inventory, and pricing. In addition to computer training, students also receive instruction on using a variety of other business machines such as copiers, shredders, scanners, book binders and laminating machines.
Retail Marketing Program
Mercer High School’s Retail Marketing Program runs a fully operational convenience store, Chuck’s Place. Instruction in Chuck’s Place is offered as an elective or as a whole class special subject. Students are closely supervised as they learn to use the cash register and make change. They interact with and learn social skills as they wait on customers. The students learn to stock shelves, prepare and deliver meals, and perform all activities related to running a convenience store.
The School Store is coordinated by the Occupational Therapy department and run in conjunction with our school-wide behavior incentive program. Students are rewarded for following our school rules by receiving points throughout the day. They are given the opportunity to shop in our school store and “purchase” items with their points. The store is run by the students. They take inventory, shop at local dollar stores and grocery stores for merchandise, stock the shelves, and wait on the student customers. Younger students from the other district schools are also allowed to shop for items at the store.
Through Transition Services, community partnerships have been established that provide realistic, relevant work-related experiences for our students that dovetail with our vocational skills training classes. A result of these efforts, many graduates have obtained employment with our partners.
Video Production and Film Program
This cutting-edge program includes training and experience in all of the skills necessary to compete in the world of video/television/film production. Students will learn the concepts of lighting, sound, on-location set-ups, and post-production and work with the corresponding equipment needed for each facet of the industry. Students work with a variety of cameras, microphones and lights. Students also learn about digital video through the use of computers and editing software suites. Classroom instruction will also include lessons on the legal aspects of the industry such as copyrights, permissions, intellectual property, etc.