PosAbilities Academy, an alternative high school experience for learners with documented disabilities in Landsdowne, officially opened its doors to the public today after operating a two-year long pilot program.
At PosAbilities, students learn vocational skills and receive guidance to integrate themselves into a professional work environment.
Claudia Skinner, the owner and founder, started the school after searching for such a program for her 17 year-old daughter, Grace.
“I had a really specific vision of what this should do for kids,” Skinner said.
Students go through a three-step process of exploring possible careers, preparing for a professional work environment, and on-the-job training.
Grace has an interest in animals, and is preparing to work with dogs. PosAbilities arranged for Grace and other like-minded students to work with the local company Summit Therapeutic Animal Services, caring for and assisting in training service dogs.
Skinner is thrilled her daughter is now on track to work in a field she is passionate about, and the family has observed how effective PosAbilities Academy is for students like Grace. The community cultivated over the past two years has become a second family for the Skinners.
“One of the biggest accomplishments we have made with Grace specifically is how social she is. She had a lot of anxiety but with the school she has grown so much, and she has made friends. One of the concerns I used to have is, ‘oh, there’s no inclusion,’ but I think if you feel like you belong, you’re included,” Skinner said.
Learners also study reading and math alongside their chosen vocational track. They also take classes in cooking, art, and music.
“I’m very happy we survived a pandemic, I’m ready to push it forward now,” Skinner said. “The next few years are going to be wonderful and then we will have our first graduates. In about three years we will have our first graduates. It’s all about their pace.”
PosAbilities currently has eight openings for its first official class. Tuition is $28,000 a year, though some students participate on a part-time basis. Pos-Abilities will host an open house Saturday, July 31 at 1 p.m. at its learning center, at 44125 Woodridge Parkway, Unit 100, in Lansdowne.