St. Dominic’s School Life Skills High School Program Prepares Students for Jobs and Livelihoods
St. Dominic’s School students working toward their SACC degree (Skills and Achievement Commencement Credentials) are flourishing in the relatively new program, which enhances their strengths and levels of independence in academic, career development and foundation skills needed for post-school living, learning and working. The New York State Board of Education sanctioned SACC program, first implemented in the 2012-13 school year, has 17 students between the ages of 13 and 21 participating.
Through the program students learn how to apply for jobs through practice interviews, fill out applications, receive interview coaching, and learn about proper dress for the job. They even run through a workday scenario by learning to ride the bus and read the schedule to get them where they need to go.
"The program coaches and preps them with the knowledge and hands-on experience at job sites throughout Rockland County and beyond. The preparedness of the students is a true testament to the work the teachers are doing in our school. Not only are we preparing these students with necessary work and employment skills, we are helping them prepare for their livelihoods once they graduate from our school,” Principal Paul Siragusa said.
Real world work experience is a cornerstone of the SACC program. St. Dominic’s School staff work diligently to secure field trips to businesses so the students can receive insight into area companies and obtain training for different jobs that might be a good fit for them. Relationships have been established with a number of companies including Macy’s, Marriott, Lowe’s, McDonald’s, Kohl’s, Nice-Pak and ANKA Tool and Die Manufacturing.
The students get the chance to speak with the managers and learn from them what they are looking for in a good employee and what would be expected of them. When visiting Old Navy, for example, the store’s supervisor instructed students on preparing store merchandise for the day by having them fold clothes and restock shelves, and at Kohl’s students were charged with creating a sunglass display.
"It’s a win-win situation,” St. Dominic’s School teacher Chris-Ann Garcia said. "These businesses can see how capable, eager and independent our students are and the students gain insight into the company.”
"Through the program four of our students were offered part-time jobs over this past holiday season,” Ms. Garcia said. "These students are well prepared to meet the challenges of the workplace, perhaps even more so than other kids from traditional schools.”