This curriculum unit has been designed to be used in a special education classroom within a small, inner-city, public secondary school. Our enrollment varies from sixty to seventy students or more. The school provides an alternative academic setting for pregnant teens, and mothers of newborn babies. Classroom instruction is provided through a selection of academic subjects, as well as elective courses in home economics, and computer skills. All students participate in parenting and life skill classes. Prenatal and postnatal classes are an integral part of the program.
Students transfer onto the school throughout the year, depending on individual circumstances. Most students stay for at least two marking periods, while others remain until the end of the school year. They then return to their sending schools the following September. We strive for a smooth transition; one which maintains curriculum content. However, because of the ongoing population flux, curriculum planning needs to be elastic as well as flexible.
The special education population attending the school includes students who are mentally delayed, learning disabled, brain damaged, and or seriously emotionally disturbed. Ability levels within the special education classes cover a wide range. Many of the students have limited reading and writing skills. Some students exhibit negative behaviors, which are best addressed in small groups within a highly structured setting. Class size, in general, tends to be small. Many of the students have a history of poor school attendance, which has resulted in significant gaps in their learning. Whole sections of information may be missing from their fund of knowledge. Individual education plans (IEP), which address specific strengths and weaknesses, are implemented in teaching the curriculum content to the special education students attending our school.
Although this unit has been planned for use in a special education setting, it would be appropriate to include all or selected sections of the curriculum in a high school parenting class, or as a unit in a regular education general science class. It could be modified bases on the individual interests and ability levels of the population being served.