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Lyndhurst Students With Special Needs Could Get New Teaching Method

Mrs. Kimberly Hykey and Mr. Anthony Latti will be responsible for implementing the CBI program at Lyndhurst High School.
Mrs. Kimberly Hykey and Mr. Anthony Latti will be responsible for implementing the CBI program at Lyndhurst High School. Photo Credit: Sharon King Dobson

LYNDHURST, N.J. — The Lyndhurst School District is considering introducing community-based instruction (CBI) into its curriculum for special education students starting in September.

CBI is a teaching method for special needs students that helps them learn skills by allowing them to practice those skills in their naturally occurring environment, Lyndhurst School District Supervisor of Special Services Sharon King Dobson explained.

Dobson said CBI will work by teaching students skills in the classroom during morning classes, and then accompanying them out in the community in the afternoon to practice those skills.

"I can teach students how to write a check but to engage them in CBI instruction I would extend that learning by taking them to the bank to deposit a check," Dobson told Daily Voice.

The CBI program would be for middle school students and high school freshmen and sophomores. Dobson said students over the age of 16 will transition into a "structured learning experience" in which they will work in paid and unpaid jobs in the community.

"The whole idea with CBI is to have kids experience it rather than just be taught it," Dobson said. "These kids need to make their learning applicable to real-life situations."

The Lyndhurst Board of Education will vote on implementing CBI within the next month , and Dobson expects them to adopt a CBI program.

"It is best practice," Dobson said, noting that many other districts in the area embrace CBI.

There are currently 402 special needs students and 33 special education teachers in the Lyndhurst School District.

"Research shows that special education students graduate unprepared to go into the real world," Dobson said. "We hope CBI changes that."

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