Work Exploration Lab Brings Smiles to AMS Students

On an afternoon in late December, students from a local school brought a special delivery to 3020 Tremainsville.

A large box packed full with games, books, toys, DVDs, gift cards, headphones and more. Fourth graders at St. Joan of Arc collected these items to donate to the Autism Model School’s job training program.

St Joan of Arc Buckeyes

The story of how their act of kindness brightened the faces of students at AMS involves a lab, checklist and payday.

PAES stands for “Exploration”

Situated on the second floor of the school’s annex, the PAES Lab resembles a small workshop. The lab is furnished with a time-card station, worktables, computers, typewriters and shelves of colorfully labeled boxes.

PAES–Practical Assessment Exploration System–is a job training curriculum which provides exploration and assessment.

PAES Lab SD Threading

Students are charged with completing work boxes across several units including business marketing, industrial and computer technology. Each work box contains detailed written and visual instructions.

As AMS students complete their assigned jobs, teachers collect data using a checklist that focuses less on accuracy and more on appropriate workplace behaviors. For example, when students have a question or need to have their work checked, they are taught to request their supervisor’s attention by raising their hands.

At the end of each session, students are paid PAES “bucks” based on their performance.

It PAES (“pays”) to Save

Money management is another teaching target of the lab.

Students are able to cash in their bucks at a store stocked with their favorite stuff. Items are priced based at 10x their actual retail value and students learn the value of banking their money for more expensive–but highly prized–items.

PAES Lab Store Rack

And this is where the generosity of St. Joan of Arc Students comes into the story.

Their donations have not only kept the PAES Lab Store stocked with everything  from Pokemon cards to wristbands to NCAA ball caps.

They’ve also kept a smile on the faces of AMS students who are learning the value of appropriate workplace behaviors.


–Luke Reed

Development Director @ AMS

If you are interested in supporting this program by donating items for the PAES Store, please contact me at