Plainville Community Schools, 47 Robert Holcomb Way, Plainville CT 06062, (860)793-3200

Plainville Students Support Many Through Class Projects

Students in Plainville High School Technology Education Instructor Dean Esposti's construction classes are learning important life skills and helping many in the community at the same time, through a number of unique, collaborative projects.

Several high school students recently worked together with students and staff from the CREC-IPM (Capital Region Education Council Integrated Program Models), the regional special education classes at Plainville High School, on a bird house project. "We saw that the Tomasso Nature Park was looking for special bluebird houses, and felt this would be a great service project that our special needs students could do," explained CREC teacher Beth Healey. Healey approached Esposti about collaborating on the project, and he fully supported the idea. As a result, students from Esposti's class assembled 24 color coded bird house kits, which they then built together with the special education students. "It was a wonderful collaboration that really supports integration of our special education students with Plainville High School students and the community. It was great to have the high school students willing to come in and work with our students from CREC on this community service project." The high school students also expressed their satisfaction in working on the bird house project. "I liked doing the project. It meant a lot to the students we were working with - it was a great experience," said Plainville High School senior Steven Boutin. As a culminating event, students from the CREC Program have been invited by Sue Holcomb and Ruth Hummel to visit the Tomasso Nature Park when the bird houses are hung this spring.

The high school students also continued their collaboration with the Plainville Police Department in refurbishing and recycling bicycles. This year, five Plainville students fixed 15 abandoned bicycles collected from the police department. The renovated bikes were donated to the Plainville Food Pantry and local youth. In recognition of the bicycle recycling initiative, in June 2008, junior Theodore (Teddy) Znuj, team leader, and two fellow students were nominated by Esposti and selected as co-team recipients of the "Be the Change Community Service Award," founded by the PHS Class of '74 and the Petit Family Foundation. "It was nice knowing that we could fix the bikes to help people in town get around," said Znuj.

Construction class students have also been instrumental in the design and construction of a number of pieces of modified furniture and equipment used by special education students in the school district. Items include a corner chair that allows a special education student to sit with his peers in the regular education classroom, a box step designed to help a student access her wheelchair, and a "T-Stool" used to improve posture, strength, and balance. In addition, students outfitted a custom modified bicycle for a special education student at Linden Street School. The bicycle, equipped with a seatbelt, back support, modified pedals, and upholstered seats will allow the student to practice motor skills and mobility. "It was great to able to work on these projects and help other kids in Plainville," said junior Amanda Lea. The construction class projects are also much appreciated by the school district's Special Education Department staff. "The support from Dean's construction classes for our special education students has been invaluable. The modified furniture and equipment allows our students with disabilities to participate in the regular education classroom at a fraction of the cost, as opposed to purchasing these items from an outside supplier," explained Developmental Resource Room Program School Psychologist Jeri Lynn Turkowitz. "It is wonderful to know that our high school students under Dean's direction are able to support district students directly through these classroom projects."

Several of Esposti's students also assisted in preserving the memorabilia from the Plainville High School Sports Hall of Fame in preparation for the high school's rededication ceremony held earlier this year. According to Esposti, students began the project in October working tirelessly to create a permanent display in the high school's 300s hallway, where hundreds of Hall of Fame plaques dating back to the 1950s are now hung.

"This is another example of the quality staff and students that Plainville has in our district. Heightened awareness on the part of students to respond to the needs of their community has been the goal of Plainville High School along with the Class of 1974, "Be the Change" initiative. We are extremely happy that our students are responding and that they bring these ideas to a responsive faculty," said Plainville High School Principal Greg Ziogas.

-Posted on February 17, 2009 at 03:14 PM

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