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B.A. - U.C.L.A.

English Literature


M.A. - C.S.U.N.

Special Education



CA Teaching Credentials:

  Multiple Subjects


  Special Education



  Resource Specialist



  CLAD Credential









19th Century British



Early Pioneer Journals


19th Century Women's

Travel Literature









18+ Transition Program (TEAMS)


      The 18+ Transition Program at Royal High School is a program for special education students who have already received a Certificate of Completion from high school  and who are interested in gaining skills that will help them transition to adult life.  The curriculum includes functional academics, community access skills, independent living skills, social skills, and both on-campus and off-campus exploratory work experiences. The 18+ Transition Program at Royal High is one of several similar post-secondary level classes available in the Simi Valley Unified School District. 


Contact Info - Miss Palmer

E-mail address: 

Room Number:  10-5B

Week of October 1, 2018

     A great big welcome to our new student, Jennifer, who joined our program this week.  Welcome, Jennifer!  We are also looking forward to greeting a new student to our class who has just moved to Simi Valley from another California county.  Welcome, Phillip!   We are excited to get to know both of you and to have you both join our 18+ Transition Program!


     Welcome Back to Royal High to all our 18+ Transition Program students!   We are looking forward to a fun and productive school year in 2017-2018.   A special welcome to the new students who are just joining our program this year -  Joe, Andy, and Jose!  Classes will begin on Wednesday, August 15th at 9:00 a.m.  Our instructional aides will be at the school bus drop off zone on the west side of campus in the morning to help our new students find their way to class.  If parents are dropping off their son or daughter in the morning, the closest parking lot to our classroom is the westernmost student parking lot, directly across the street from the entrance to St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church. The inside double gate by our classroom will be closed to cars this year but students may enter through an open door in the chain link fence nearest the art building, which is just steps away from our classroom doors.


     The first few days of class we will be helping our newest students familiarize themselves with our campus if they are coming to us from Simi Valley High School. We will be doing a few recreational activities so our newest students can get to know our continuing students and all our staff members a little better. We will be discussing classroom rules and the difference between our program (an adult postsecondary program) versus a high school program.  Emphasis in our classroom will be on community access skills, independent living skills, work-related social skills, functional academics, and both on- and off-campus exploratory work experiences.  We will also spend some time doing some initial informal evaluations in various academic and vocational areas so we can discover student strengths for future reference when placing new students in off-campus jobs next spring. We will also be completing some career interest surveys so students can start thinking about their work goals for the future.  As soon as parents have signed our Community-Based Instruction (CBI) permission slips and they have been returned to school, we will be having our continuing students go grocery shopping for ingredients and we will be doing some extra whole-class cooking lessons.  After the first week, most of our cooking lessons will be taking place on Thursday mornings; in addition, we often cook more than one day a week because some of my students have individual cooking or kitchen goals on their IEPs.  I will be sending parents more written information about upcoming community activities in written form in the first five days of the new school year.  I will not be sending any new students off-campus on CBI trips until I have notified their parents about how our community program works and we have had some time on campus to assess their level of independence and supervision needs when traveling in the community.  We usually start sending our newer students out grocery shopping within the first month of school with signed parent permission.


     All five of my instructional aides will be returning this academic year (2018-2019).   Mrs. Nashwa Bakhaoum, Mrs. Cindy Scherr, Mrs. Brenda Andrews, Mr.Michael Cedillo, and Ms. Laurie Allison will be working with me to support all our postsecondary students this year in their journey toward adulthood.  The staff and students in the 18+ Transition Program look forward to getting to know our newest students well over the next few months and to working together as a team to support all the young adults in our program as our students work toward being more and more independent in the future.


August 17, 2016


     I want to welcome back all the students who are returning to the 18+ Transition Program at Royal High for the 2016-2017 academic year!   In addition, I want to welcome our new students, Jacob and Tony, who are joining us this year!  


     We are looking forward to a fun and productive year.  As you know, the Royal High School bell schedule has been changed this year so we will be starting school earlier in the day and dismissal will be earlier than last year.  We will, as always, be adding student t.a.'s who will be serving as peer tutors to the students in my program.  Please click on the links at the upper left of this webpage to see the first names of our new t.a.s this semester, along with the materials your son or daughter will need to bring to class for this coming school year, hopefully by Friday, August 19th.  The links at the upper left of this webpage also give you additional information regarding our off-campus job sites, the consumer vocabulary skills we work on in class on a regular basis, and other topics of interest for students and parents. Sometimes parents ask me how they can help our program.  I have included a link on the upper left to our "Classroom Wish List" to give parents some ideas of what we can use in case any parents want to donate items or contribute various classroom supplies to help supplement what we already have. I try to update our class calendar and our class highlights at least once a month, so please keep checking this webpage for updates on what we are doing in class and upcoming cooking lessons (usually on Thursdays, but it can vary).


    I want to welcome back my instructional support team - my wonderful instructional aides, Mrs. Nancy Eyster, Mrs. Gaila Horne, Mrs. Dee Gerber, Mrs. Brenda Andrews, and Mrs. Sandy Haugen.  These five staff members are a very important part of our instructional team.  My students wouldn't be able to work at all five of our off-campus job sites and do as many CBI (community-based instruction) trips into the Simi Valley community as we do without their daily assistance and support!


   Welcome to our Fall 2016 student t.a.s:


                        Period 1:  Kaitlyn

                        Period 2:  Vanessa

                        Period 3:  Dayana and Matthew

                        Period 5:  Alex and Joe

                        Period 6:  Jacquie and Sam


     Welcome back, everyone!  GO ROYAL HIGHLANDERS!   


January 29, 2016:


     We welcomed a new student, Alexandra, at the beginning of Spring 2016 semester.  Alexandra is a welcome addition to our classroom!   During January we got busy cooking some cool weather recipes, including a tasty chicken tortilla soup, topped with fresh avocado slices, tortilla strips, and light sour cream.  We also made a big pot of spaghetti, complete with tasty homemade garlic bread fresh from the oven.  Pancakes made from a packaged mix and maple syrup made a delicious breakfast on one of our cold weather days in January.  On January 25th, our class traveled by public bus to Harley's Valley Bowl for two games of bowling and a pizza lunch.  We tried to keep up with our off-campus jobs, despite the rainy weather. Luckily, most of our exploratory work experiences off-campus are only a short walk from the city bus stops - a big help in our unusually inclement weather this month!


    We also welcomed new student t.a.s to our classroom during Spring 2016 semester.  These t.a.s help my students with computer, math, and reading skills in addition to providing extra help during our cooking lessons, social skills role playing activities, and lots of laughs and friendship during our recreation/leisure activities.  Our new t.a.s this semester are:


Period 1:  Arianna

Period 2:  Rose

Period 3:  Jack and Yaritza

Period 4:  Tanner and Kenzie

Period 5:  Lindsey

Period 6:  Angel


December 18, 2015:


     Students in the 18+ Transition Program had a busy December!   On December 10th, students went holiday shopping at the Target on Madera Road so they could buy presents for family members and/or friends.  We worked on budgeting and shopping skills while there.  We enjoyed lunch at Hook Burger after shopping.  Once we returned to class, students worked on learning how to wrap packages decoratively so they could take home wrapped presents and surprise their family members with the gifts they had selected during our shopping trip.  


     As an ongoing craft project during December, students prepared three large recipes of "bread dough" from flour, salt, and warm water.  Then we rolled out the "bread dough" to create bread dough holiday ornaments.  We used various cookie cutters to create bells, candles, gift boxes, holly, trees, stars, Santas, and other holiday shapes.  Then students were able to paint and decorate their own creations using acrylic paints, glitter glue, cotton balls, and other decorative supplies.  A total of 117 ornaments were painted and sent home in December!  Lots of fine motor skills practice occurred for those students who need that, but meanwhile we were having fun!


     For our cooking lessons this month, we tried to keep it healthy since sugary goodies abound at this time of year.  Earlyin December we put together a spinach salad with whole leaf spinach, mandarin oranges, cashews, real bacon bits, raisins, hard-boiled egg slices and a yummy homemade salad dressing.  The last week of Christmas, we made a chile relleno casserole for our holiday brunch.  It contained eggs, cheese, whole green mild chiles, and salsa plus a little milk.  This dish was also a hit.  We didn't have to worry about what to do with leftovers over the break!   


     All in all, we had a fun ending to 2015!


November 20, 2015


      Students in the 18+ Transition Program cooked a Thanksgiving Feast this month.  Students worked together to select the menu items for our feast.  Then we did the grocery shopping and divided the class members into the following committees to prepare for our classroom Thanksgiving meal:  Internet Research Committee (to research recipes), Budget Committee (to plan costs and stick to our budget), Shopping Committee (to shop at various stores for all items), and Decorations Committee (to plan tablesettings, centerpieces, and classroom decorations).  Our menu consisted of Hot Panini Turkey and Melted Cheese Roll-Ups, Layered Jello Salad with Bananas and Strawberries, Cheesy Potato Casserole, Cornbread Dressing, Turkey Dressing, Turkey Gravy, and four Impossible Pumpkin Pies.  We had a lot of fun putting this meal together but even more fun consuming it!   


October 23, 2015:


      This month we divided our class into three groups and each group did internet research on various restaurants in Simi Valley.  Each group of 18+ students came up with two or three restaurants they want to dine at, then they looked up the menus for each restaurant online and discussed which restaurant has the kind of food they like and also has reasonable prices.  After voting on a restaurant within their group, each student will travel there for lunch on either October 12th, October 23rd, or November 2nd accompanied by instructional staff from our program.  Dining in smaller groups allows our instructional staff to work on menu reading skills, budgeting skills, money skills, and manners/restaurant-related social skills on a more individual basis with each student.  Students like hanging out together and being part of the adult community during the middle of the school day.

     In our ongoing effort to promote more student self-confidence, more student independence, and to improve the collaborative skills of our students (a skill which often carries over to the work world), we are having our students plan and implement our classroom Halloween party this year instead of having Miss Palmer plan it.. Students were asked to be a member of one of four possible committees - Food/Budget, Grocery  Shopping, Decorating, and Entertainment committees.  After choosing the committee they wanted to be on, students then did internet research to come up with ideas for Halloween cooking activities, Halloween games and activities, prices/budgeting issues related to our menu, choosing the best stores to shop at for the best prices for various items. They also came up with craft/art activities to make decorations for our class.  Students then shopped at either Smart & Final, the Dollar Tree, or Ralphs grocery store for all the items we needed for our Halloween party.  The Food/Budget committee decided to make Mummy hot dogs, and Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts (two pie dough squares per person cut into jack o'lantern shapes and spread in between with a pumpkin pie flavored spread).  Committee members also decided on the flavor sodas to buy so we could include diet and caffeine-free options in class.   The Entertainment committee researched eight games and decided on their three favorite activities, then made a shopping list for the supplies they would need for the games.  The Decorating committee decided on a decoration theme and then came up with craft ideas for four centerpieces that they will make the week before Halloween.  The Grocery Shopping committee will be responsible for doing the actual grocery shopping and practicing their money and budgeting skills while at the market. We expect to have a great time at our Halloween party after all our hard work on creating it as a group. Miss Palmer enjoyed having her students make the decisions for a change and also enjoyed giving her students lots of practice with the types of things they have to think about when planning a birthday or holiday party in the future.  For example, how many plates, cups, and napkins do we need?  Do we have to double, triple, or quadruple the recipes?  What stores are best to go to when buying inexpensive decorations and party supplies?   Bulk groceries?  Hard to find grocery items?  What games would allow ALL students in our class to participate?  Where do we go to research craft ideas?  holiday recipes?  grocery costs?   As you can see, planning a party provides us with LOTS of real-life math and problem-solving practice!


September 30,2015:


       Our cooking program began in earnest this month.  Each Tuesday a rotating team of students goes grocery shopping to practice their money skills and shopping skills when they purchase ingredients for our weekly cooking lesson.  We usually cook on Thursdays, most often by dividing the tasks into four different cooking groups so students can get the most hands-on practice possible in slicing and dicing fruits and vegetables, opening cans and packaged foods, mixing and pouring batter, and preparing foods for cooking on the stove or in the oven.  This month we made peanut butter cookies and S'More cookies that we shared with various teachers and office members who often support our classroom endeavors.  We made a wonderful salad bar that included two kinds of lettuce and a variety of toppings from which to choose, including tomatoes, grated cheese, green onions, bell peppers, corn, and various dressing options. We made two kinds of cornbread one day - jalapeno/cheddar cheese cornbread and cornbread with corn kernels and red/green peppers.  Then we paired it with a tasting test between two different canned soups prepared by our students - steak and potato soup and tortilla soup. Another day we made individual quick breads from boxed mixes at each table.  Students get lots of repeated practice on many kitchen skills (using measuring spoons, measuring cups, kitchen timer, hot pan holders, scrapers, whisks, microwave vs. metal bowls,etc.).  We also get lots of practice doing dishes!  I keep telling my students to offer to help mom and dad at home now that they know how to do certain skills but, not surprisingly, some of our students like to keep their new skills secret from mom and dad because they might have to WORK more often at home! Parents, please feel free to put our students to work in your kitchen at home when you are there to monitor them for safety!   We also work on safety skills but I think continued monitoring by adults at home is always a good idea for most of my students.  :-)


August 28, 2015:


     The fall semester got off to a good start on Monday, August 17th.   We want to welcome five new students to our class for the 2015-2016 school year!   A big Royal welcome to Louisa, Graciela, Griselda, and Joseph, who moved up to our classroom from Royal High after graduation in June.  Another big welcome to Frankie, who just moved to Simi Valley this summer from the San Fernando Valley.  We now have sixteen students in our classroom and our students are enjoying getting to know each other better and sharing their summer adventures with their fellow classmates!  The same instructional aides from last year returned to our class this year - Mrs. Nancy Eyster, Mrs. Dee Gerber, Mrs. Brenda Andrews, Mrs. Sandy Haugen, and Mrs. Gaila Horne.  We are all looking forward to making this a fun and productive school year for all our students.  :-)


June 2015:

     We had a busy spring semester this year!   One of the highlights for some of our students this spring was their participation in mock job interviews that took place at the Simi Valley Boys and Girls Club.  Employers from a variety of companies and small businesses came to the Boys and Girls Club for a day to help interview a number of special education students to give them an idea of what real life job interviews are like.  Karen, Crystal, Kirk, Sal, and Alicia participated in this event. These students took two weeks to fill out the required job applications and to design and type up individual resumes before the interview process started.  They were required to dress in interview-appropriate outfits, then they participated in interviews with managers from Del Taco, ZaZa Beauty Center, RHS Work Experience, Best Buy, and Rick Webb from L.A.P.D.   The employers then filled out feedback sheets containing detailed constructive criticism to share with our students using a comprehensive rubric rating our students' interview appearance (appropriate outfits for interviews), body language (calm demeanor, good eye contact, etc.), ability to answer both simple and open-ended interview questions, and amount of good follow-up.  For instance, our students did follow-up queries by phone to each employer to practice asking if a decision  had been made yet about possible employment. My students also wrote thank you notes as well). This was an extremely positive experience for those students who attended!

      As part of our effort to better acquaint our 18+ Transition students with the various options available to them after they leave our program, our class joined with the two 18+ Transition programs from Simi Valley High School to tour Pathpoint, one of several adult day programs available to our students as a post school option, usually accessed through Tri-Counties Regional Center.  Adult day programs are just one of many options open to our students after exiting the school district at age 22.  Other options include attending community college, trade schools, employment through the Department of Rehabilitation, and direct employment through the regular interview process or with businesses owned by the students' families.  We took Simi Public Transit to Pathpoint, then enjoyed a 20-minute Power Point presentation about the various services and job programs that they offer.  Our students were able to tour the two story office building where Pathpoint is located.  We learned about their computers, their on-site jobs, their kitchen and cooking program, their on-site store, and some of their recreational options for participants.  One of the employment developers shared with us that their program participants travel to job sites all over Ventura County for supported employment opportunities such as Amgen, Wood Ranch BBQ, Thousand Oaks City Hall, and the Thousand Oaks Public Library.  Our students asked lots of good questions and then enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by the young adults who attend Pathpoint daily.  Our students enjoyed seeing some of their friends from Simi  High during the trip.  All three teachers and the instructional aide staff also had the opportunity to see one of the options for our students and to come up with ideas on how we can improve what we are already doing in our classrooms to make the transition out of our classes and into the adult world of work a little easier for our 18+ students.

      Students in the 18+ Transition Program also enjoyed several trips out to lunch so we could practice our money skills and, in some cases, we also took our calculators with us so we could calculate the appropriate tax and tip when paying for meals at the restaurants.  We had breakfast at Denny's one day, lunch at El Patio, and we went on a quick trip to  Carl's Jr. for a fast food lunch as well.

      As usual, all my students spent a few days in late May composing individual thank you notes addressed to each one of the employers for whom they worked during the 2014-2015 school year.   We always like to thank the wonderful employers who provide excellent exploratory work experiences for our post-secondary transition students.  These employers include:  Simi Hills Independent Retirement Living Center, the Simi Valley Public Library, Mrs. Cohen at Arroyo Elementary School, Ashley and Neil Felder-owners/managers at East Coast Pizza Company, and the team at Cornerstone.  We also made end-of-the year treats (brownies and cookies are always popular!) for the Royal High office staff members and individual RHS teachers who participate in our classroom recycling program and our classroom confidential shredding program. Their continuing support allows our students to learn lots of job-related skills while on the Royal High campus.

     Toward the end of the year, our students joined with students from several other 18+ Transition Programs and students from a few other special education classes at Simi Valley High School for an end-of-the-year picnic.  We all met at Lemon Park for a day of sports activities and good food.  Our students voted on the foods they wanted to bring and then cooked and/or shopped for the menu items we shared with everyone at the park that day. We also packed up frisbees, foxtails, bats and balls, footballs, badminton and Velcro paddles, and other supplies to enjoy with friends from other high school and post-secondary programs.  As usual, "a good time was had by all"!  It was an excellent way to end our busy school year!



January 30, 2015:


      The students in our class who participate in exploratory work experiences at Simi Hills Independent Retirement Living Center on Tuesday and Friday mornings received a special invitation to attend lunch with the senior residents there as their special guests on Thursday, January 22nd.  Some of the senior residents at Simi Hills enjoy seeing our students each week as we go to and from our morning job in the dining room.  One of the 94 year old residents especially enjoys seeing our students and makes a point of coming down to play the piano while our student work team sets tables for the lunch service weekly.  Then my students enjoy talking to her as they exit the dining room on the way to the public bus stop.  Other residents like to say hi as our students do their jobs.  When my students and staff arrived to eat lunch with the residents and the managers on January 22nd, they were treated to a delicious lunch of veal pasta, soup, salad, hot rolls and butter, and a choice of several tasty desserts.  

     After they returned from the trip, all students who attended the luncheon worked with the staff in Room 10-5B to write individual thank you notes on decorative stationery they each chose from our classroom selection.  They learned to address the envelopes and to affix stamps and mail them.  We've since received positive feedback from the managers and residents at Simi Hills for our friendly thank you notes.  It was a fun day for all those who participated!

     Cooking lessons in January included a Baked Potato Bar and a Salad Bar.  For the Baked Potato Bar, students peeled 26 potatoes and cooked them in the electric oven, heated chili and beans in the microwave oven, diced green onions and tomatoes, cooked broccoli, and prepared shredded cheese and sour cream.  Students then selected their desired toppings and enjoyed a delicious lunch.  For the Salad Bar, students diced plum tomatoes, green onions, green bell peppers, and red peppers.  They also shredded both cheddar cheese and pepper jack cheese, then peeled and shredded carrots and opened cans of tuna and olives.  Students then could select the toppings of their choice for a healthy lunchtime meal.   

     Our class also began a "Making Healthy Food Choices" unit this month.  We are learning how to read nutrition labels on food packages and how to choose foods with the fewest calories and the highest nutritional content when given a choice between several food items.


     Our class is happy to welcome our new and returning student t.a.s for the spring semester!  


Welcome to:

Period 2:  Caitlin and Laura

Period 3:  Justy and Sam

Period 4:  Natalie and Ariana

Period 5:  Ulysses and Oliver

Period 6:  Yitzhak and Raymond


     Our student t.a.s are an invaluable resource in the classroom.  They provide extra 1:1 help to my students when I am leading group lessons on calculator math, reading, money skills, time skills, life skills, and vocational skills.  They pair up with some of my students during cooking lessons to help them follow the recipe, hold cooking utensils correctly and chop fruit and vegetables correctly, and choose the correct measuring cups when needed.  During our morning ten minute "coffee break" and at the beginning of lunch time, they help students log on to the computers and do internet research or find their favorite websites for their free time during lunch. T.A.s often actively participate in our afternoon student role-playing lessons when we practice job interview scenarios, social skills scenarios, and when we practice other life skills in the classroom setting.  They also add an extra element of fun to our lessons and often make friendships with my students as they work alongside each other together in the classroom.  A big thanks to our wonderful t.a.s!



December 19, 2014:


       We had a busy November and December!   Our community trips included student trips to Islands restaurant, Burger King, Costco, and Brunswick Bowl, as well as our weekly grocery shopping trips and weekly trips to the local recycling center to work on our community access skills and related money skills at these various venues.  We also went on a holiday shopping trip to Target on December 8th so students could purchase holiday gifts for family members if they wished to do so.  When we brought student purchases back to class, our students wrapped their gifts so they could surprise family members with their purchases once at home. Students also voted to have a holiday gift exchange where students who wanted to participate could choose to draw another student's name from a hat to be their "Secret Santa".  This provided another shopping opportunity for some students and added some fun to the last day of the fall semester before everyone left for Winter Break.  On December 15th, our class traveled by public bus to Red's BBQ for our goodbye luncheon for Michael, who turned 22 in December and who is moving on to new jobs and new activities as an adult in the Simi community.   We will miss Michael so much and we plan on sending him group e-mails to keep in touch.  We also invited Michael to come by now and then as a guest speaker to let my students know what his life is like now as a young adult who works in the community and takes part in a community program for adults.  A former student of ours, Andy, from a few years ago continues to visit us with his mother once or twice a year to do the same thing.  Andy has shared with us how much he likes his new life in his own apartment and the various jobs he enjoys as part of another community adult program. Our students like to hear about the various options there are for them when they leave us and about the types of choices that face them in the next few years as they leave the school district and move on to volunteer work or adult day programs or jobs of their own or Moorpark College or any of the other choices they may make about their future with the help of their parents in the next few years.

       In November, cooking activities included making three side dishes for a classroom Thanksgiving feast, in addition to the turkey and condiments that the teacher provided. Students cooked Cheesy Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, and Impossible Pumpkin Pie.  In December, cooking activities included making ham macaroni and cheese salad ( a cold pasta salad), as well as holiday goodies.   Students voted on having a pizza party the last day of school in addition to our Secret Santa gift exchange.  To practice their organizational skills, social skills, and leadership skills, students were asked to join the committee of their choice to plan their own pizza party.  Budget committee members had to do internet research and make phone calls to various pizza parlors to make a list of pizza topping options and to write down how much each venue charged for their pizzas so they could learn to choose the least expensive pizzas with the best topping options within their given budget for 20 people ($45.00).  The staff helped them do the math and compare their options before they voted on their top choice for the party food. The decoration committee did internet research to find Microsoft Word templates for printed invitations for the classroom party, which students then handed out to our t.a.s and various adults on campus who help out our program regularly.  The decorations committee also planned the table settings for the holiday party and chose, then created centerpieces for our four round tables.  The set-up committee had to count out how many students and staff would be attending, then count out and gather all the needed dinnerware, silverware, serveware, and other supplies needed to set up for our party.  So a fun event for the class was also an excellent learning activity for student math skills, budgeting skills, internet research skills, kitchen skills, and art skills!   "A fun time was had by all"!   

       Miss Palmer left early one day on November 21st so she could attend one of the regular "Transition Committee Networking (TNT)"  meetings sponsored by the Ventura County SELPA Office in Camarillo.   Along with Mrs. Mary Mensinger, the Royal High School Special Education Department chairperson, Miss Palmer attends these TNT meetings several times a year to meet with other 18+ Transition Program (TEAMS) teachers and administrators from other SELPA area schools in Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, Moorpark, Santa Paula, Thousand Oaks, and Fillmore to share curriculum ideas and materials, community job creation ideas, and to learn more about agency linkages that support our young adult special education students once they leave their school districts and move on to jobs in the community and other adult programs available to them.  All parents are encouraged to log on to the Ventura County SELPA website online to look at the many parent support resources and all the other information that is available to them there.

       A big thank you to Mikayla, a Royal High student in the Ronald Reagan Citizen Scholar Institute, and to her many friends who, as part of her CSI service project, are coming to our classroom at lunch time on a regular basis to hang out with my students, get to know them and develop friendships with near age peers.  Their lunch visits not only help my students get extra practice with their conversational skills and social skills but everyone also just has a lot of fun!


October 24, 2014:


      October has been a busy month for our class!   We are continuing to work on learning to define and spell consumer vocabulary words.  In September, October, November, and December we are working on Supermarket Words. Click on the "Consumer Vocabulary Words" link at the top left side of this webpage to see a list of the words we are working on now. Our next unit will be "Restaurant Words", followed by "Workplace Words", "Occupation Words", "Shopping Mall Words", and "Computer Words".  


     We continued to ride the public bus weekly to the grocery store to shop for cooking ingredients for our regular cooking lessons.  We made a quick trip to the Ralph's recycling center once a week to recycle the aluminum cans and plastic bottles that we collect from the Main Office and from about 20 classrooms on our thrice weekly collection route on the Royal High campus.  We bowled at Brunswick Bowl on October 20th, then had lunch at a nearby Subway. We also visited a local laundromat, Joann's Crafts, and Smart and Final so far this October.  My students practiced their money exchange skills and communication skills each time we went to a different community location to shop or eat out.


     We will be one of the classes visited by the young trick or treaters from the YMCA Preschool on the Royal High School  campus.  My students discussed which treats were safe for younger children, then grocery shopped at Smart and Final to buy extra treats for the preschoolers.  On October 31st, we will be setting up a small table in our classroom to pass out the Halloween treats to the young trick or treaters when they visit our classroom.


    Students in the 18+ Transition Program have been using their month-at-a-glance planners to record upcoming activities, birthdays, and community events.  Students must bring their planners to school each day but they are encouraged to record their own upcoming personal plans and activities in their monthly planners at home as well as the school and community events we help them record in class.  Using a planner regularly encourages students to begin planning their own schedule instead of waiting to be told by parents or teachers what is happening next in their lives.


September 5, 2014:


     In the first week of September, many of our students started their new off-campus exploratory work experiences for the first time.  This week we added Cornerstone on Thursday.  Next week we will start our off-campus work experience at East Coast Pizza Company in the Regal Center on Tapo Canyon.  If you happen to stop in at any of these businesses, please be sure to say a word of thanks to the busy employers who allow us the chance to develop new job skills at their business sites.  We are a help to them but they also provide us with real-life work experiences so that students in our class learn to gain confidence at work sites and face real-life job situations in a setting where they are still guided by adult staff and can make normal "newbie" mistakes without developing a negative work record as might happen if they were working on their own as a young adult.  

       This week our entire class pored over a variety of cookbooks in our classroom.  Each student was asked to use Post It Notes to select three recipes that appealed to him or her.  Students were instructed to select only recipes that met the following criteria:


 1)   Recipe must contain some healthy ingredients.

 2)  Recipe must not contain a long list of ingredients in order to keep grocery costs down.

 3)  Recipe must contain ingredients that MOST students in our classroom might like

      (i.e. no liver, oysters, spicy olives, or anchovies!)  :-)


     Once each student had chosen three appealing recipes, the entire class went over each recipe to make sure it met the criteria above.  We eliminated any recipes that were too caloric or unhealthy and any recipes that might cost too much money to make.  Then we listed the remaining recipes on the white board so students could vote on their top three choices.  The top three recipes chosen by students in class will be the next three recipes we use in our weekly cooking lessons in class.  We will start by making hamburgers and a variety of healthy toppings next Friday, September 12th.  Each student will form their own hamburger patty and cook it themselves on either the stove or in a second cooking station using an electric skillet.   Adult staff members will be posted at each of the two cooking stations to monitor student safety and cooking methods.  We look forward to a tasty Friday treat!   Students are encouraged to either skip buying lunch on cooking days when we cook an entree or else to buy a salad versus a larger item from the cafeteria on days when we cook to avoid unnecessary weight gain.



August 29, 2014:


     Now that all our new students have toured the Royal High campus and are getting to know the staff and students continuing from last year, we have begun to venture off-campus to our off-campus exploratory work experiences and also into the community.  So far, 18+ students have begun working at Simi Hills Independent Retirement Living Center on Tuesdays and Fridays this week.  Our two students who will be working at Arroyo Elementary School this year as helpers in Mrs. Cohen's kindergarten class are off to a good start.   They really seemed to enjoy helping the young kindergarteners learn their colors this past Wednesday.  They also help out on the playground under the supervision of my job coach, Mrs. Nancy Eyster, and, of course, the classroom teacher and the campus supervisors from Arroyo Elementary.  

     On campus, we have begun our classroom recycling program in the mornings and for a brief time after lunch is over each day.  In the mornings, students take turns collecting cans and bottles from an on-campus collection route under the direct supervision of an adult job coach.  Students use a clipboard to follow a specific route on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to collect aluminum cans, plastic juice containers, and non-confidential papers from the various offices in the Main Office Building, as well as from the ASB Office, the CCC, and from a selection of classrooms who have asked us for assistance. Students learn to use various types of small carts and dollies to safely transport the collected recycling.  This helps our 18+ students learn various work-related skills, including how to follow a multi-step route as independently as possible.  Students also learn how to enter a classroom quietly without disturbing the class or teacher to pick up recycling from a different designated place inside each room and how to work cooperatively with a coworker under the supervision of an adult job coach to get a job done.  It helps keep our campus and the environment clean and it provides us with lots of basic work skills that will transfer to other types of jobs, including mail delivery routes in offices and pick-up/delivery routes in other work environments as students gradually gain more confidence in their own skills.   In the afternoons, we collect aluminum cans and plastic beverage containers from the recycling bins that are scattered around the campus. Students wear protective gloves and use metal "pickers" so they don't come into contact with the items being recycled.  Our students wait until the passing bell has rung after lunch and other Royal High students are moving on to their afternoon classes before we start our afternoon recycling route. 

     Some students have also been learning office skills, including how to collate multi-page packets of papers, staple them, and 3-hole punch them.  Later in the year, we generally volunteer to help the ASB office with mass mailings to parents so my students learn how to trifold flyers, correctly place the trifolded flyers in business envelopes, then affix mailing labels to the envelopes.  We also learn to bundle envelopes by zip code for mailing.  In addition, we work on basic alphabetizing skills that lead toward filing skills for office jobs.  These alphabetizing skills will also benefit the two students in my class who will start volunteering at the Simi Valley Public Library next week.  They will learn to shelve books alphabetically in the main library and in the DVD section under the supervision of two adult job coaches from my classroom on Wednesdays and Fridays this year.   

    We made our first grocery shopping trip this week to purchase supplies for our cooking program and our classroom this Wednesday.  All students take turns throughout the year going on these short grocery shopping trips to help us prepare for our weekly cooking lessons and to fine tune student money-counting skills.  As a class, we work together to choose the recipes we will cook, prepare a grocery shopping list, do the shopping, then cook the recipe we have chosen.  Students  DO NOT need to bring in money for these trips; we pay for supplies through our classroom monies.  If students will be going bowling this year or out to eat at restaurants, I will notify parents in advance of any monies needed for students who may wish to participate.  Please contact me by phone if you have any questions about this.  No students will be denied participation in our activities due to a lack of funds.

    That's it for now!   I will try to update parents via this website on a semi-regular basis as we add new job sites and new community trips to our busy community schedule.  As always, call me on my cell phone if you have any questions or concerns.  :-)


Summer 2014:





New Students:

     To join our program for Fall 2014, be sure that you have held an IEP placing you in our program for Fall 2014.  If not, please be sure to contact your program specialist in the Student Support Services Office at the SVUSD office to discuss becoming part of our program.


Returning Students:

     We will be starting our off-campus job program the second week of school.  Some returning students will be assigned to new off-campus jobs this year to gain new exploratory work experiences and job skills.   New off-campus job assignments will be determined the first week of school when you return.  


     Be ready for some new community trips this fall!  In addition to our regular grocery shopping trips and other community trips, we will be adding some job shadowing activities and visits to various Simi workplaces in small groups so you can gain more knowledge about what skills are involved when you work at specific jobs in the community.


      We will continue our regular cooking lessons.  New students will start compiling the recipes we cook each week into personal cookbooks which they can take with them when they exit our program at the end of their stay with us.




    We had a busy fall semester this year.  We welcomed a new student, Tony, and 8 new student t.a.s / peer tutors to our classroom this fall.  We enjoyed trips to the bowling alley, multiple trips to the grocery store and to Smart & Final, and a fun farewell luncheon at a Vietnamese restaurant at the end of December to wish Alfredo our best as he exited our program at age 22 and moved on to his future employment as an adult. We will miss Alfredo greatly!   We will also miss Adriana, who moved to northern California with her family in November. Friendships are important and our class plans to keep in touch with both Alfredo and Adriana via the internet, snail mail, and occasional group phone calls from our students with classroom news.  This will help our students practice using various computer programs but it will also help them learn how to stay in touch with friends after leaving their school days behind while moving on to adulthood.


    We made a delicious Thanksgiving feast in our classroom the week before Thanksgiving break.  We made turkey roll-ups using turkey, dressing, and gravy.  We also made cheesy potato casserole using our slow cooker.  Students prepared fresh green beans on the stove.  Joseph's mother contributed a wonderful ambrosia fruit salad for our feast.  Finally, students particularly enjoyed baking several pumpkin pies in class to finish off their tasty lunch.  We cooked on Thursday so we were able to enjoy leftovers on Friday as well.  My students enjoyed seeing the large meal come together.  They also enjoyed planning for the meal by voting on menu items, grocery shopping for our cooking supplies, and doing some party planning and decorating on various classroom committees.  Our delicious meal provided us with lots of opportunities to learn and practice life skills - menu planning, budgeting skills, shopping skills, math skills (doubling and tripling recipes), party planning skills, computer researching recipes, and, finally, cooking skills.  "A fun time was had by all".  


    Our class was fortunate to be the recipient of a 2016 Simi Valley Education Foundation Teacher Enhancement Grant this year, which enabled us to purchase updated computer software that is specially designed for our students' needs.  Included in our purchase were various money, math, time, vocabulary, and music programs created by Attainment, Inc.  Our software allows us to customize auditory and visual feedback for each student's needs, as well as typing speed, capital vs. lower case lettering, number of problems and number of errors allowed each student and other useful accommodations for my students while they receive extra daily practice on important functional academic skills.  We wish to thank SVEF for their very generous contribution to our program!

Julie Palmer Locker