Life-skills classroom being built at Central Middle School

READING, Pa. - It may just look like a sink or an ironing board, but for hundreds of special education students in the Reading School District, such household items will serve as teaching tools in the new school year.

"I can't say that I've seen this at a lot of places," said Stacey Barton, the district's special education program coordinator. "This is actually very unique for a school district to do this. That's why it's so exciting."

The new "functional skills" apartment at Central Middle School, the former intermediate high school, will be used by special education students district-wide, as they learn meal prepping, washing clothes, cleaning and other life skills.

"Every student is different," Barton said. "We have many students with special needs. We are working on those self care skills and future employment."

It's all in addition to a special needs program curriculum that the district already provides.

"We have a large population of students with special needs," said Barton. "We really wanted authentic learning opportunities for our students that were easily accessible."

Educators said the setup is also in keeping pace with other schools around the region.

"I've witnessed programming like this in other counties, but when we came to Reading School District, this just felt like something we could add for our students," said Barton.

If you are interested in helping to complete the planned classroom, visit this website to view a list of requested items and sign up for donations.

If you select an item to donate, you are welcome to bring the item to Central Middle School between 10 a.m. and noon on Aug. 27, Aug. 28 and Aug. 29.

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