Achieving Goals at L.I.N.K.S. High School
L.I.N.K.S High School in Ahuntsic DÉFIS A teacher Gail Bernstein and After School Program Myriam Farley are witnessing firsthand the transference and generalization of essential life skills.
L.I.N.K.S is an alternative high school providing quality educational programs to students aged 13 to 21 who have been diagnosed with learning difficulties.
DÉFIS A students are fully engaged in the wide range of courses offered, including functional academics, Home Life, Preparation for the Job Market, On the Job, Leisure and Personal Growth. The long-term objective for our students is for them to be able to participate as actively and independently as possible in the community and at home.
“The L.I.N.K.S team is always creating ways to enhance the lives of our students beyond the classroom,” said Ms. Bernstein. “The After School Program is one such project. Ms. Farley, our innovative coordinator, has developed the program beyond our expectations. She has brought in specialists in art, dance movement, drama and music therapies as well as adapted physical activities including tennis and yoga. Cooking courses, in our fully equipped kitchen, help students become independent, increase self esteem as well as add to their bank of essential life skills.”
When the schools closed down last March, due to COVID-19, Ms. Bernstein challenged her students to try new skills at home. Using ClassDojo platform, students were asked to describe and take photos of their chores, physical and leisure activities as well as their academic assignments. “It was like I was a guest in their homes,” she explained. “I learned so much about my students, their talents, interests and abilities. What an eye opener! They were mowing lawns, cooking, doing laundry, recycling, setting the table, taking their pets for walks and even hanging picture frames. The support of the parents during shut down was invaluable and very much appreciated. “
Fast forward to September when Ms. Bernstein downloaded each student’s iPads with Microsoft TEAMS and her mission was to ensure that they all could use the technology independently. “I have the utmost confidence in my students, but I was still being cautiously optimistic in terms of timeline,” she said. “ Within two weeks my students were typing word documents, taking photos, saving them and uploading them into the correct assignment in Teams. Were they now going to go to the next level and generalize those skills?”
Ms. Bernstein says living proof is DÉFIS A student David Moukarzel, who attends the After School Program daily and has gravitated toward the cooking option. His latest accomplishment was making a grilled cheese sandwich from start to finish without any help or skipping a beat. He also loaded and started the dishwasher. After he finished, like any great chef, he wanted to show off his success to Ms. Bernstein and his classmates. Ms. Farley asked him how he was going to do that. He said, “Miss Myriam, of course I need to take a photo with my iPad and upload it to the Teams assignment!” And he did just that! He was referring to the ongoing assignment titled “Taking Initiative.” For sure, Ms. Farley’s and Ms. Bernstein’s sense of accomplishment equaled David’s. That’s what teamwork and achieving goals looks like at L.I.N.K.S.