The West Hempstead School District recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new PAES Lab. PAES stands for “practical assessment exploration system” and will serve as a simulated work environment for middle and high school students with specific learning needs.
The PAES Lab consists of five different areas of industry: consumer service, processing and production, construction and industrial, business marketing and computer technology. There are six levels to each industry and students can progress by completing assigned tasks adequately. Tasks become more in-depth as the student moves from level to level.
The PAES Lab is meant to reflect a real workplace and students refer to their teachers as “supervisors.” To begin each session, students are required to follow an alphanumerical system to determine specific tasks. Then, they are prompted with specific duties within the task. Upon successful completion, students are assessed by their supervisor.
Students are evaluated in areas such as the amount of time it took to complete a task, the quality of their work and overall behavior within the lab. Assessments are used to gauge areas in which the students are most successful in. They are also utilized to help students determine what industries and jobs they might be interested in pursing post-graduation.
“Students who participate in PAES may exit high school on a different pathway, therefore they use the lab for job training,” said Sheila Dempsey, a special education teacher and supervisor in the lab. “They take ownership of their tasks and really enjoy their time in the lab.”