Chantilly High Special Education Students Get Real Work Experience

In Chantilly, Va., students are taking a break from the classroom and clocking in to a real-world experience.

The school day at Chantilly High School begins like most others, but the teens who are part of a special education career class head to a lesson of hard work. A 5-minute bus ride takes them to Securis, where they help tear up and recycle old computers.

"The students go out anywhere from four to five times during the week, and they are usually with a teacher, and they are learning work skills, life skills, social skills," said Sue Collins of Chantilly High.

"It motivates me into coming to school every day, and it's really an exciting job," student Cameron Adair said.

He knows what he's gotten out of it.

"It's part of a job,” he said. “Some things you don't like having to do, but if you make the most out of it, it can be fun.”

Student Susan Jawadi likes the teamwork.

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"Sometimes you can't get the stuff out and you have to ask for help," she said.

And that's where the Securis employees come in. They break away from their usual work schedule to join the teachers in instructing. They've been doing it for 8 years.

"Take a child who wants to be part of society, wants to work, wants to wake up in the morning and feel like they made a difference, give them that opportunity," Securis President Jeremy Farber said.

After about an hour on the job, it's back to school with more than a paycheck could ever provide.

"They get respect, dignity and joy, and self-worth,” Collins said. “They build their confidence."

Learn more about Fairfax County Public Schools Career and Transition Services and how to partner with the special education career program online or contact the coordinator for career and transition services at 571-423-4150 or by email.

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