Dragon Depot has opened its doors at Brick Township High School, but you won’t find many of the items that are found in a traditional high school store.
The store is actually a tool to help students with disabilities prepare for work after high school, while simultaneously kindling an entrepreneurial spirit. Dragon Depot, which was created after winning a $10,000 grant from the OceanFirst Foundation, transformed a self-contained special education classroom at BTHS into a modern vocational environment where students have the opportunity to develop workplace skills, officials said.
Stations are set up around the room, giving students the opportunity to sample vocational tasks that represent each of 16 “career clusters” that state has identified in its “work first” curriculum. The program as a whole was the brainchild of teachers Darla Novick, Sherri Ryan, and Tiffany Aguayo, along with Principal William Kleissler.
“We are honored and proud to have such dedicated, innovated supportive educators throughout our district,” said Acting Superintendent Dennis Filippone.
In this classroom-turned-store, students will learn vocational tasks such as running a business, organizational skills, and interactive, hands-on activities that are critical in preparation for life after graduation, according to school officials. In addition, they will be opening a fully self-sustaining gift shop, stocked with products made by the students. Some items that will be offered include jewelry, soap, candles, balloons and chocolates. Both staff and general education students will interact with the special education students, providing an additional opportunity for students to experience real-world situations.