Step-Up Students Celebrate a Great First Quarter

Date posted: December 14, 2017

Stepping Stones Step Up Autism Education  I Cincinnati, Ohio

Jacob displays his model of the solar system.

As students of Step-Up prepare for holiday break, we wanted to share some program highlights and special milestones from the first quarter of our new school year. 

Launched in 2004, Stepping Stones’ Step-Up program was founded as the region’s first alternative education program for students with severe autism. Today, the program serves 26 students in four classrooms. Classroom selections are made by Director of Educational Services Kim Lanthorn to match each student to the learning environment that will best meet and support their abilities and areas of focus.

Every day, students of Step-Up receive one-on-one educational support and are discovering that learning is engaging, fun and empowering!


News from the Classroom

  • Cottage Annex Classroom
    Students are diligently working on Science and Social Studies lessons that incorporate object identification, sign language and literacy skills. While developing core skills, students are also working together in groups, planning and following a calendar and celebrating personal achievements week by week. The smiles across students’ faces as they celebrate their successes are contagious!
  • Cottage Main Classroom
    Thursday Martial Arts classes are a weekly highlight for students of the Cottage Main Classroom. These classes allow students to work on their fitness while developing self-discipline and confidence. In additional to honing their martial arts skills, students are mastering core academics with daily lessons on the alphabet, colors and counting. This fall, students also enjoyed stretching their creative talents with autumn-themed art projects such as collages made with leaves found on our beautiful grounds. 
  • Chalet Classroom
    Students of the Chalet continue to develop strong social skills and improve methods of communication. Through these avenues, they are replacing negative behaviors with the ability to better communicate personal wants, needs and interests. The class has also focused on the values of rules and how they apply to laws, government and social interactions.

    Every school day, students start their morning with a classroom meeting to discuss the weather, current events and the daily lesson plan. On Fridays, students enjoy cooking activities in the kitchen, creating delicious and nutritious recipes. During the autumn season, they really enjoyed mastering a variety of recipes using fresh apples!
  • Transition Classroom
    Step-Up’s Transition classroom prepares students with autism as they transition from the classroom to adulthood.

    This season, we celebrated important milestones as three students received their Certificates of Completion. Before their classmates, teachers and families, Mekonnen Fowler, Zach Howard and Justin Rawe were recognized for their outstanding achievements. We congratulate them on this major accomplishment and send best wishes for future success.
Stepping Stones Step Up Autism Education  I Cincinnati, Ohio

Erick learns to measure and pour while making a sensory bottle.

Stepping Stones Step Up Autism Education  I Cincinnati, Ohio

Thursday Martial Arts lessons allow students to work on their fitness while developing self-discipline and confidence.

Stepping Stones Step Up Autism Education  I Cincinnati, Ohio

Three students of the Transition Classroom received their Certificate of Completion this fall.
Congratulations to Justin Rawe on this outstanding milestone!

New Addition: Life Skills Room

For the new school year, a Life Skills program area was introduced, where all of our students are preparing for daily life outside of school and for future employment opportunities. This new space provides a real-life setting where students learn about healthy food choices, independent living skills and household responsibilities.

Pizza Hut, Fifty West, Schutte Cleaners, A-One Cleaners, Snappy Tomato Pizza, Frisch’s, La Soupe, Ronald McDonald House, Matthew 25: Ministries, and Plant World, along with other local businesses, have partnered with Stepping Stones this season by inviting students of the Transition classroom to practice on-site vocational skills. These outings allow students to develop important skills for employment in a supportive setting that boosts confidence and allows them to take pride in their abilities.

Stepping Stones Step Up Autism Education  I Cincinnati, Ohio

In the new Life Skills room, Mekonnen learns how to make a bed.


Stepping Stones Step Up Autism Education  I Cincinnati, Ohio

Students and staff of Step-Up celebrated Halloween together with a costume parade.


Coming Together

During the last week of each month, all of the Step-Up staff and students come together as one school community for a little fun and excitement. Here’s what we got up to this season!

  • In August, Field Day made for some great, friendly competition between classrooms!
  • The warm temperatures of September gave us perfect weather for an Ice Cream Social.
  • October was the ideal time for everyone to put their imaginations to the test with a school-wide Halloween Costume Parade.
  • With lots to be thankful for, we celebrated Thanksgiving in November with a traditional feast.

Class and Student Pictures

In October, Step-Up students had the opportunity to participate in traditional school and class photo days. Everyone did an outstanding job, and parents were able to order keepsake photos for home and family. All of the beautiful photos of our talented students are proudly displayed in Hillside Hall.
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