Independent Living Skills

High School BudgetingIn addition to NMSD’s Student  Development Framework, seniors living in the Independent Living Skills Program (ILSP) cottage receive in-depth opportunities to prepare for life post-graduation.

The following three learning skills are intensively taught in the ILSP cottage.


Seniors fill out a mock rental agreement at the beginning of the year in order to reside in the ILSP cottage.  Throughout the year, the seniors have mock incomes and expenses.  They earn money being a student as their employment and they have usual bills such as rent, utilities, transportation, memberships, etc. They are billed monthly for all expenses by their Student Life Educators.  They learn to balance their personal budget through hands-on experience.

Weekly Cooking Projects:

Seniors in groups of 4-5 students (average family size) take turns to preparing meals including appetizers and desserts for themselves and their group. Groups work together to decide upon menus, create shopping lists, shop, prepare, cook and clean up their meals. The groups then discuss what they learned from these experiences with their Student Life Educators. 

High school students cookingSenior Apartment Program:

After demonstrating mastery in basic living skills, seniors take turns residing in the on-campus apartment in three week increments.  With minimal supervision and higher expectations, the seniors are responsible for themselves, their meals, their schedules and the cleaning and maintenance of their own apartment. This experience gives students the opportunity to actually live on their own in a controlled environment providing an invaluable life experience.
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