CCHS teacher receives grant for transition program

Published 3:35 pm Wednesday, January 25, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

CLANTON — Chilton County High School special education teacher Samantha Robinson has received a $1,500 Bright Ideas grant from the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative.

The grant will be used to purchase the animal care Project Discovery adapted


The curriculum will be used in both of the CCHS self-contained special education classrooms. Robinson estimates it will take four weeks to complete the program.

“The kids love animals, so it is going to keep their interest and it will be fun, while the learning will be helpful for them for life after high school,” Robinson said.

Robinson said students might use skills from this program working at an animal shelter, a pet daycare or a dog walking service.

“Teaching them to use what skills they have and the abilities they have to be independent one day, and it has to be things that are on their level that they understand and relate to, and they all relate to animal care, taking care of animals,” Robinson said.

Some topics included in the program are the best ways to handle animals, what they eat and stocking pet store shelves.

“I am interested in getting programs that are relative that would help our students once they leave to be in the community,” Robinson said. “I want them to be independent.”

In addition to simplified written materials, there are visual and audio resources in the program kit.

“A lot of these students have problems reading so they can put their headphones on [and listen to it],” Robinson said.

Robinson said use of technology, as well as needed math and English skills are also incorporated.

Since the program is a kit and not an online subscription, it can be used for years without any additional cost.

“It is a research-based program that has adapted activities for academic, careers and lifestyles,” Robinson said.

These activities are designed to help students with special needs prepare for life after high school.

“Transition is kind of like my specialty, which is a very important part of the IEP (Individualized Educational Plan),” Robinson said.

The program uses a hands-on approach to help students develop job skills.

“Students are exposed to a variety of career opportunities as they learn a wide variety of real world job skills,” Robinson said.

Students are also introduced to the tools they would need to perform the job they are learning about.

Each Project Discovery program includes a pre- and a post-test for the students. Students receive a certificate upon completion. The program meets the Alabama Extended Standards, No Child Left Behind Act and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requirements, according to Robinson.

As a part of state educational requirements, special education teachers contact students a year after they have completed school to ask them some questions about what they are doing now.

Robinson had found Project Discovery on the Internet while researching resources for her class. A representative from the company met with her about the programs available.

Project Discovery offers a wide range of job focused curriculums. Robinson said there are a few others she is especially interested in purchasing for CCHS special education students. She is focused specifically on jobs that could be available in Chilton County, such as child care or food service. To purchase all of the programs Robinson is interested in would cost an additional $10,000.

Robinson is looking for additional funding to purchase these programs. She can be reached at