Vocational Programs at Clifford Academy

Clifford Academy provides students with the opportunity to enhance their middle school or high school educational experience with hands-on vocational training.  Students participate in on-site horticulture, small machinery and culinary programs as well as many different off-site opportunities.  The goal of these experiences is to develop the universal skills required for almost all workers. Focus areas include attendance and punctuality, following directions, communicating work-related issues/concerns, developing effective working relationships with co-workers, developing specific job skill acquisition, demonstrating increased independence in completing work tasks. Work experiences are based on student interest whenever possible.  Evaluations on work performance are completed by the job coach. Self-assessments are completed by the student.

With Signal Success curriculum, students develop important non-cognitive skills, explore careers and future planning, and build the skills and assets to compete for jobs and internships. The curriculum spirals through these three major content domains to allow students multiple chances to practice skills and deepen understanding. All lessons are designed to engage students with a multi-modal approach and strong emphasis on the application of skills and concepts. Students are introduced to new concepts through short case study readings and activities and then guided through applying these concepts to their own context. The curriculum includes a variety of assessment tools including competency-based portfolio measures, daily reflection options, summative reflection tasks, and survey tools for students and instructors.  Students will apply The Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards, Massachusetts’s Career Development Education Benchmarks, and the Massachusetts’s Career/Vocational Technical Education Frameworks which complement the content standards in each unit.  Students will increasingly build their engagement with the subject matter as they grow in maturity and expertise throughout the course.  They will also build on Massachusetts’ Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies in each lesson.  For students to meet the high academic standards and expectations, their vocational instruction incorporates individualized instruction, related services, supports, and accommodations to allow them access to the general curriculum.

Each student’s job experience and goals are individually tailored to address identified transition goals. Students are matched with work experiences as opportunities allow. Vocational experience builds upon the basic work skills developed in pre-vocational job training.  Students are supported in community internships by job coaches. Community internships allow for increased job independence and decreased direct supervision. While attending Clifford Academy, students are expected to be actively seeking job placements both on campus and off campus and maintaining appropriate volunteer and/or employment positions based on readiness and interest.

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Clifford Academy is a relationship-centered learning community where students, staff, families and community members work collaboratively to develop every student’s academic, social, emotional, physical and ethical potential in a caring and safe environment.