While the Castle Valley Center has many resources one of the things they have never had is a library, and the move is afoot to create one for the students.
“We have been coordinating with the Price City Library and some of our students are going there once a month. The library staff is also bringing a lesson here so some of the kids who aren’t going can do an activity,” said Principal Amy Bell. “With the students going there, they are exposed to the community, learning to access and be familiar with those kinds of services. Beyond that, however, this year we are going to start a book drive to create our own small library here at the school. We want to build one that the students can easily access.”
A library collection for the Castle Valley Center will be different from those at a media center in any other school in the district. Students with special needs require a different set of books, ones with volumes of photos, and not so much text. This means they need “picture books, not chapter books.”
“It’s more than just a resource for them to enjoy,” she said. “It is also a place where they can learn skills that they need. It will help them to understand the process of exchanging things and being responsible for the books. Building those skills here helps them to learn to access the community as well. It will also provide workplace skills for the students who operate the library.”
She said the skills included will be things such as sorting and understanding a simple cataloging system to keep the books in order and to take care of them.
“We are going to be asking for contributions from the community, but we are not ready yet,” she said. “We are asking people to watch our social media outlets and we will be setting up a way for people to donate. We always have people who are asking how they can help our students, and this will be a great way for them to do it. We would like new books if possible. We also have a little bit of funding for this, which will help fill it out as we see what we are lacking from and contributions we get.”
A change in the school this year has been the movement of adult students to private programs because of rules involving federal funding. While this has been a difficult change for everyone, the former adult clients are being well served across the community by private companies. Bell said the school is “very quiet” without those individuals but they are adjusting to the change. The school can still serve students up to 22 years old, but that is the limit. On the bright side, however, the school was also able to keep a number of adults who worked and assisted at the school employed and that has been a great thing for those individuals as well as the school itself.
“The adults we had here were delightful and wonderful people and we miss them tremendously,” said Bell.
The school is getting new playground equipment installed this fall, which will replace worn-out devices and will make student activities outside more safe and more fun as well. Along with that the new parking lot and drop-off area in front of the school is finished and is being utilized. In years past it was often hard to find parking in the lot because it was not adequate.
“That helps us to have more space to park as well as providing a drop-off area for students,” she said. “It also funnels people into the main entrance where we can control access to the building for security purposes.”
While the school had many activities curtailed last year because of COVID, most of those are returning this year. And a new dance program for students is being introduced as well.
“It’s called a sensory dance,” stated Bell. “The students here love dancing and we have students from Carbon High and Mont Harmon Middle School that come once a week and work with them. With a sensory dance, we are using lights and sound cues that tie into movement, as well as ribbons they can work with so they can come and just have fun and explore while they are dancing.”
The staff discovered how much the students like this kind of thing from doing their talent show last year. COVID kept them from inviting anyone to the show, but a teacher had her class do this kind of dancing and they passed out light sticks to all the students in attendance, and the lights in the gym were shut off.
“It was amazing and the students loved the movement, so we decided to do something with that for all of them this year,” she concluded.