FAIRPORT, N.Y. — Students helping other students can be a pretty powerful curriculum. Inclusive strategies in a Career Technical Education class at the Eastern Monroe Career Center in Fairport included a lesson on accessibility to help students with disabilities.

What You Need To Know

  •  Creekside School is a Monroe One program in Fairport for students with disabilities ages 5-21

  • Multi-Occupational/FOCUS is a Monroe One program that introduces students of varying needs to CTE

  • Students enrolled in Multi-Occupational/FOCUS programs are supported in developing professional workplace skills

Creekside School student Salah Al Ismail said he has been using a wheelchair to help get around most of his life. He jokes he's a good driver but has kind of a tough time backing up.

"Sometimes I run into things," said Salah. "But, this thing helps me get around easier."

CTE comes to the rescue because right next door in the 21st Century Tech Skills Class at the Monroe One Eastern Monroe Career Center, the teacher tasked students to visit other classrooms and look for any problems to try and solve. Senior Pierce Lanagan connected with Saleh who explained his challenge. Pierce knew he could come up with something to help him back up his wheelchair more safely. He designed and 3D printed a wheelchair mirror mount.

"This thing can see behind you," said Pierce. "It can attach to the wheelchair part where it can stick up."

Once he installed it on Saleh's wheelchair he was backing up like a champ. 

"I think this really helped me. I don't know what I would do without this being on," said Saleh. "It's a lot easier, a lot easier."

It works so well that Saleh told his classmate about it and now Pierce is making another mirror mount for his wheelchair. 

"I felt like it was amazing to see this mount on his wheelchair. I was so impressed with what I'd done. He was so excited to believe that like he wanted a mirror so he wouldn't trip anyone and he can back up easier," said Pierce. 

This assignment turned out to be so much more than just a classroom task, but a lesson on accessibility, appreciation and the value of helping others.