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Princeton High School News

Special Education Spotlight: Cynthia Bregenzer

What do you do at PHS?

One aspect of my job involves the School to Work program. We provide work-based experiences that give students the opportunity to learn job skills and explore careers while in high school. Through a collaborative effort, the program provides exposure to real world work experiences that help create a smooth transition from school to work. Our students are exposed to life lessons that help them understand how to prepare for the work force. We focus on social skills, advocacy, resume writing, developing references, problem solving, and so much more. Our class allows us to apply all that is learned and generalize skills in their community. Most of all our students gain understanding and motivation to take the next steps from high school while feeling good about their choices.

How many students do you have? What happens in a typical day in Room 63 at PHS?

We have 21 students this year. Students can request the class and it’s designed for our special education students or students with an IEP. Freshmen may come for one period, sophomores can be here two or three periods, and our super seniors (who have all their academic credits) can be here for four periods or more. When a student arrives, their job schedule is posted. As much as possible, we want them to be independent. If they are working in the cafeteria, for instance, they will get dressed and get ready. For other jobs, at the University Store, for instance, there may be transportation involved. The job coach will shadow a student or prompt or help build on an experience.

Some of the students get ready and go to the bus at the front of the building and meet their job coach there. Every student is a little different. We work to match students with their interests. We also encourage kids to get in the habit of filling out a time sheet. We have Fun Fridays, where we work on social and soft skills and using fun activities. We practice interviewing or filling out applications. There is a portfolio aspect to the class. We do role playing. We also go around and learn about different things in the building. A student might meet their case manager and learn how to advocate for themselves in a meeting.

Can you tell us more about your challenges and goals?

We are constantly looking for career opportunities for our students both in district for our younger students and in the community for our older students. We look for both paid and unpaid jobs. Help is always needed for this! At some point, I would like to create a business the students can run at PHS. I am currently working on the PHS Courtyard project. In addition, I would like to explore adding a more formal travel training opportunity for our students.

The School to Work program sounds great. Are you also involved in other PHS programs?

I do home programming and tutoring to assist our students and families. I also help with emergency challenges our families face. I am the head teacher for our after school program, which provides an opportunity for students to enjoy and improve their recreational and social skills. I assist with a Buddy Program for our special needs students that enables them to be integrated with each other.

In addition, I run a music club for social involvement with our special needs students. I am a "lead trainer" for Handle with Care for our staff within the District. I assist with training and serve as a member of the crisis team. I have my RBT certification which allows me to assist with behavior modification programs. And lastly, I hold the Structured Learning (Work-Based Learning) certification for the district, which allows us to provide the School to Work program.

photo of Cindy Bregenzer
  • Princeton High School News