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    click on this link below to view information about the 2023-24 PHS RISE Transitions Program 

    RISE Program PPT


    Welcome to Mr. Kness's Class Pages!

    I have been teaching in the Peekskill school district for 26 years, having taught at Woodside school, Hillcrest school and Peekskill middle school.  The partnership between the school and the home is a crucial part in helping to enable a student's success.  Please don't hesitate to reach out to me at any time and for any question or concern. 



    914 737-0201

    PHS RISE  Transitions GOOGLE CLASSROOM CODE   dtrgtjn

    Peekskill High School R.I.S.E. Transitions Program

    "Reaching Independence through Skills Education"

    The RISE Life Skills program educates and empowers students who have diverse needs and abilities by providing a curriculum that promotes the life and social skills necessary for each learner to achieve greater levels of independence and reach their full potential, thereby becoming confident and contributing members of their community.  The goal of this educational program is to prepare students to become as independent as possible in their home communities. The program focuses on functional life skills that are embedded into daily activities. 


    The emphasis is to increase students’ levels of independence by decreasing levels of staff support across all environments.  

    Students in the RISE Life skills program participate in a variety of activities to promote independence and improve functional academic, social, communication, vocational and self-help/adaptive behavior skills.  Evidence-based instruction is a vital part of the Life skills program, fostering independence by providing students with the opportunity to generalize skills learned in the classroom across a variety of modalities.

    RISE Life Skills classes are designed to meet the needs of students whose intellectual, developmental and academic levels are so delayed that participation in the general education program, even with modifications and accommodations, is unfeasible. The focus of the RISE program is to teach functional skills in literacy and math, activities in daily living, vocational/work related skills, recreation/leisure and community participation for students, at their individual ability levels.  Instructional lessons in the classroom will be rigorous and reflect appropriate levels for each student.  

    The students will be actively engaged in learning throughout the school day and the teacher will collect data on each student’s progress. The data will be used to plan lessons, to create the next IEP, and to determine the need for Extended Year Services. The classroom activities will be functional and age-appropriate, and will change to meet the needs of the student. Classroom instruction will include individual, small group and community-based experiences.

    The RISE Life Skills Program’s Broad and Specific Strands of Functional Academics

    The broad strand of functional academics focuses on the academic knowledge and skills that are necessary for a student to live independently in their post-secondary lives. With a focus on numeracy and literacy that relate to real world and everyday experiences, functional academics provide students with the framework to be able to complete basic tasks independently, and at higher level outcomes, learn skills necessary for meaningful employment after secondary school.

    Functional Literacy -Specific areas of development: Comprehension of texts, purpose of texts, applications to self, building vocabulary, literacy in the community, and citizenship and world awareness.

    The learner outcomes under the specific strand of functional literacy focus on reading, writing, communicating, and understanding the English language. Learning to read a flyer, a map, or a menu is the focus of the most basic levels of the functional literacy strand. Learner outcomes at higher levels focus on reading and understanding short stories, using a dictionary or thesaurus, comprehending information read, developing graphaphonic and syntactic knowledge, and analyzing texts using higher orders of thinking. Exploring the world around them, and the various media and texts that it encompasses is also part of this strand, developing critical thought and becoming a more knowledgeable member of society.

    Functional Numeracy-  Specific areas of development: handling money, budgeting, time, schedules, basic math (Shapes, addition, subtraction, multiplication), kitchen math (fractions), measurement

    Functional Numeracy in the life skills program focuses on the basic mathematics skills necessary to live independently, such as counting, adding and subtracting, using money, budgeting finances, and understanding time. At upper levels, learning to budget finances and skills necessary for working in a retail environment are also part of the curriculum. Using tactile manipulates alongside worksheets and interactive activities, students will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve the numeracy goals set out in their IEPs.

    Daily Living/Activity Skills-  Specific areas of development: Eating, Drinking, Dressing, Shopping & Food Preparation, Personal Hygiene, Cleaning, Navigating the community, Utilizing community resources, Job awareness, Following a schedule,  Transportation, Managing communication with others:

    The broad strand of daily activity skills focuses on socialization skills and practical knowledge necessary to excel in ordinary society. These skills include being able to self-regulate their own behaviour, socialize with others in a variety of settings, advocating for their rights and needs, and all the skills necessary to survive on one’s own, such as using home appliances, cooking, cleaning, and basic hygiene. Daily living skills such as how to fill out an envelope and paying your bills also tie into the other strands such as numeracy and literacy.

    Social Skills / Vocational Skills- Specific areas of development: Self-regulation, types of harassment, communication skills, job knowledge, jobrelated skills, self-advocacy and human rights.

    The social skills strand gives students the opportunity to learn how to engage each other, self-regulate themselves, and create meaningful relationships that are mutually beneficial. This strand encompasses mostly what would be considered the hidden curriculum, but also includes some direct instruction, role-playing, and discussion seminars to guide students along the way. The learner outcomes that the student will be focussing on will largely depend on the student’s behaviour and social needs. In the upper level learner outcome, students will learn about their rights, and get a general idea of citizenship and a sense of community. Several vocational skills, such as writing a cover letter and a resume, fall under the functional literacy strand. Vocational social skills include how to dress and act professionally, how to ask and answer appropriate questions, and exploring a variety of careers that they may be interested in.

    Personal Living Skills- Specific areas of development: Hygiene, cooking, healthy eating, laundry, knowledge of medication, public transportation, public facilities, use of technology, personal information.

    The strand of personal living skills involves the required practical skills to survive on one’s own, apart from reading, mathematics, and interpersonal skills. This strand includes basic hygiene, use of small and large appliances, travelling on a bus, grocery shopping, folding laundry, and taking care of pets. Students need to have the minimal skills required to live on their own with assistance in order to pass the level one outcomes of the personal living skills program. In the upper levels of the program, students will learn skills required to find success at a work situation, buy their own groceries, go to the bank, send and receive mail / emails, use a computer, and utilize other public services independently.

    Physical Literacy-

    The broad strand of physical literacy focuses on the student having the knowledge of him or herself to stay safe, be healthy, and have a good understanding of their physical self. Students in the life skills program need to be aware of what makes them unique, both physically and psychologically from others, so that they can excel on their own terms. At the very least, the students will have the self-awareness to not put themselves in danger and be able to explain their behaviour, and some students will be able to name and describe their diagnosis, if they have one, and the particular challenges and adaptations to their lifestyle it requires.



    Our vision is for all people to be valued and respected, to be full participating members of communities, and to lead meaningful, enriched, and self-determined lifestyles.


    Our mission is to support all the students in RISE and their families in planning, coordinating and developing resources that meet their unique needs and preferences. We hold that listening and collaborating with individuals and families is paramount, and by exchanging knowledge, information and skill, we will develop partnerships of mutual trust and respect.

    We Believe

    • All people are valuable and contribute to life in their communities.
    • Communities benefit from the unique abilities, talents and gifts of all people, including those with disabilities.
    • All people should have opportunities to be full, participating citizens of their communities.

    We Strive to Develop Support Which:

    • Provide opportunities for people to form and develop meaningful roles and relationships.
    • Utilize person-centered and/or family-centered processes that are developed with affirmation, trust and sensitivity.
    • Promote self-determination and honor personal choice.
    • Utilize only positive approaches that are based on the highest standard and best-practices models.
    • Value human, cultural, individual, and family differences.

    The RISE program focuses on teaching the students necessary Life skills which equips the students with the social, emotional, academic and interpersonal skills that help enable them to cope with the demands of everyday life. The objectives of this program are to build self-confidence, encourage critical thinking, foster independence through functional activities and to help the students to communicate more effectively.

    The specific Areas of Focus for PKMS  RISE are:

    • Confidence
    • A primary objective of the RISE life skills program is a focus on students becoming more assertive, communicating effectively with others by developing good listening skills and learning to handle stress and deal with disappointments and setbacks. Our therapeutic classes help people to explore their beliefs and attitudes through group discussions and confidence-building techniques such as positive visualization. We encourage the students to play to their strengths by engaging in creative activities at each of their levels and abilities. 
    • Independence
    • The RISE life skills program enables students to become more independent. For example, a student who learns about budgets and money in class doesn't have to depend as much on other people to help manage money. Students who learn to improve their functional skills in both reading and writing don't need to depend as much on others to perform basic tasks like writing letters or filling in forms.
    • Communication
    • The RISE life skills program helps students to communicate better with the outside world and to enjoy a better relationship with family and friends. Computer literacy, for example, is viewed as a life skill because information technology is an important part of daily living. People use computers to shop online, communicate with friends and coworkers, search for jobs and complete work-related tasks using computer software like documents and spreadsheets. 
    • Healthy Living
    • The RISE life skills program teaches our students to be physically and emotionally self-reliant.  Someone who is assertive and confident is more likely to enjoy nurturing relationships by being able to express his feelings and negotiate successfully with others. They will be better equipped to make rational decisions that will benefit them and others.  Staying healthy and making good eating choices while maintaining a level of physical activity is another crucial component in helping our students become more successful and developing a positive self-image.