By Brianna Rodriguez ‘20
Since 2015, PV and Bergen County Special Services (BCSS) have provided an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program. It is designed to meet the behavioral, social, and academic needs for students with special needs. Recently, the ABA program expanded its elective choices provided for students. The students are now able to partake in Photography, Art, Media, and Music. As the marking periods change, the students rotate between each new elective.
Having a new, wide range of electives is working out well for the students. Melanie Vasa, who teaches Photography for the ABA students, assigned them to use automatic cameras outside in the courtyard, photographing around the building. Vasa developed the film, as it might have been a challenge for them sensory wise to do it on their own. The students were able to do a lot of successful work in the dark room all on their own, which is quite amazing. She also had them do some digital work, where they took pictures with their iPads.
The students have been doing great in media and music classes as well. They seem to be enjoying learning new activities in each elective class.
Behavioral Consultant Abby Rodgers takes notice of all the great work these students are doing in the elective classes. “Obviously there’s a lot of steps to the process with the activities that they’re doing, so the teachers definitely have to tailor it to the students’ needs and break it down into smaller, teachable units where they’re able to understand,” Rodgers explained. “For the most part, the kids definitely seem to be enjoying the new opportunities being offered to them.”
As it is the first year, the rotating electives is still very much a trial and error process. However, from early returns, it has been a success. “The feedback has been really good so I’m hoping it’s going to continue next year,” Vasa happily exclaimed.