COPPERAS COVE, TX — Renee Nash at Copperas Cove High School has transformed her classroom into a simulated Walmart experience. Hoping, this problem-solving task, can prepare her special education students for their life's beyond the classroom one day.
“The students are working on independence skills and employment. One of the skills the students are currently learning in this lesson is learning to count money, purchase items they would need in real life to survive on their own, and making sure they have enough money,” Nash said.
“The goal is to teach them to be independent and be able to shop for themselves.” she added.
Student Kelsey Jones, excited, grabbed more than one chocolate Ding Dong box in her basket.
Nash, spoke with Jones, guiding her on how to calculate her expenses and ensure necessary items are purchased before luxuries such as desert.
“They are learning about counting money and needs verses wants,” Nash said. “My goal is to teach them total independence verses someone counting their money and shopping for them.”
On Fridays, Nash's students get to purchase real snacks that they get to take home and eat. Students are given a real allowance and must stay within budget to purchase their treats for the day.
“They look forward to Fridays. At the end of the week, they must total how much they spent for the entire week,” Nash said. “The parents are really excited about the student's progress and so am I.”
Walmart provided the signs that Nash hung from her classroom ceiling and placed on racks. All to resemble an actual grocery store; this is done so her students can easily apply their skills and not feel so foreign in an outside uncontrolled environment.
“I like that it’s fun and we get to learn too,” Jones said.
Student Kaleb Dwight enjoys browsing through the make-shift store in his classroom.
“I like the counting and I like talking to my friends,” Dwight said.
A Texas high school student is eligible for special education services up until the age of 22 as long as they have not graduated with a standard diploma.
The National Center for Special Education Research reports that 85 percent of students with disabilities were reported to be productively engaged in the community. Either through being engaged in employment, post secondary education, or job training since leaving high school.