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February 2023 Featured Student Artist: Shaila L.

Making Choices in Art and Life

Student lifting dumbbells

Artwork from Shaila L., a Foundations Academy student in the Young Adult class at Galt High School, is featured for the month of February in the SCOE Student Art Calendar.

Shaila L. used vivid marker colors to fill in the shapes on a pattern she chose to complete in her Young Adult class at Galt High School. Her artistic masterpiece is featured for February in the 2023 Student Art Calendar published by the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) Communications Office.

Part of the SCOE Foundations Academy, Shaila and her 18–22-year-old classmates enjoy morning stretches and light weights, cooking, reading, playing games, creating art, and making a shopping list—all part of Special Education Teacher Allen Walsh’s carefully planned schedule.

“In the classroom, we focus on skills that will help students learn to function in their day-to-day lives, like reading directions on a pizza box, cleaning, and doing laundry,” says Walsh. “The more skills we’re able to build in the classroom the easier it’s going to be for their families once they graduate and transition from our program at age 22.”

Shaila and the other students in her classroom are particularly engaged during art lessons. The process of making something, seeing the finished project, and taking it home to show their family creates a deep sense of accomplishment. Many foundational skills are embedded into every art session, including motor, language, and social skills, decision making, risk taking, and creativity.

Shaila’s next art project? A slithering snake made from a foil base that she’ll form with her own hands and paint with a color she chooses.

About the SCOE Special Education Department

The Special Education Department serves students with moderate to severe needs from birth to 22 years of age. Foundations Academy students, ages three to 22, attend programs in SCOE classrooms throughout Sacramento County. The classrooms are on comprehensive school campuses where students have more inclusion opportunities.

SCOE’s highly trained teachers and paraprofessional educators work closely with students and families. They all have direct access to designated instructional support staff (nurses, speech therapists, teachers of the visually impaired, orientation and mobility specialists, physical therapists, and/or occupational therapists).