A unique public school program has helped special ed students connect to work based learning at the zoo.
The Omaha Public Schools in cooperation with Henry Doorly Zoo has given students opportunities to learn how to be part of the world of work, and the students are enjoying it, and benefiting from the activities.
For the month of June, eight students reported every day at 7:30 am and spent 4 hours learning what it was like to be part of a job every day. Jobs included working in concessions, sweeping up, and cleaning the glass on animal exhibits.
“The nice part about being here at the zoo and all of our job sites is it’s live,” said teacher Chris Korth. “We can talk about it all we want in the classroom, but here it’s applied.”
Throughout the school year, students can sign up for the work based learning at approximately 50 job sites. The sites include grocery stores, hotels, Mutual of Omaha, and Goodwill.
“A few years ago, most of the jobs were in food services or cleaning up, and we’re really trying to expand beyond that, so if students have interest in specific job fields, we can find jobs that match their interest,” said OPS special education director Kara Saldierna.