Life Skills

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All are welcome in Life Skills!

Working at the table with Ms. CarlsonThe Life Skills program at Barton Hills is designed to meet the academic, developmental and functional needs of students whose needs cannot be met solely in general education. We learn our fundamental academic skills in ELA and Math while mastering our daily living skills.


The Life Skills program is tailored to individual needs and appropriate for each student's developmental level. All students in our Life Skills program are an integral part of the Barton Hills Community and are receiving instruction in the best environment for their current needs. 


Ms. Carlson reading with studentOur favorite activities are interactive, and play based where we can feel successful and access problem solving skills. Legos, MagnaTiles, puzzles, games and more are where we shine! In Life Skills we use multimodal communication to express our wants and needs in the best way possible.

Our related service providers (Speech Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, Adaptive PE Teacher) make us successful in other areas and classes around campus. Find more information about AISD Special Education here.




Ms. CarlsonElla Carlson
Life Skills Teacher | 512-414-2013

Ms. Carlson has been teaching at Barton Hills for 4 years.  She moved to Austin from Minnesota 5 years ago after receiving her Master's Degree in Special Education.  Ms. Carlson has a lot of family and friends that still live up north and who love to visit her in the warm weather. Her favorite thing to do when she's not teaching is to try new food with friends, bake, read and watch Below Deck on Bravo!  Also, Mrs. Carlson thinks that plain M&Ms are underrated.



Mrs. SmithAndrea Smith
Life Skills Teacher Assistant | 512-414-2013

Mrs. Smith is in her first year teaching at Barton Hills Elementary. She graduated from Trinity University with an undergraduate degree in Sociology and Master of Arts in Teaching. Previously, Mrs. Smith taught Kindergarten for seven years in Leander ISD and taught at St. Mark’s Episcopal School while her son attended preschool there. She is excited to be back in the classroom with Life Skills and to be a part of the BHE staff!

Mrs. Smith and her husband have lived in the Barton Hills neighborhood for 12 years and their son is currently in 4th grade at BHE.  When she's not in the classroom, she loves to be outdoors with her family, trying out new restaurants around town, and traveling. Most weekends you can find her on the soccer field watching her son play or watching an Austin FC game!


Ms. Willemse

Chloe Willemse
Life Skills Teacher Assistant | 512-414-2013

Ms. Willemse is in her first year at Barton Hills and in Texas. She graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Communications and is in her 3rd year working in Life Skills. She loves being part of the Barton Hills Community and the students that she gets to work with every day.

The week before school started, Ms. Willemse loaded up a U-haul and her dog and made the 24-hour drive to Austin to start her new adventure.  Ms. Willemse has one dog named Gypsy that is her very favorite non-human.  She enjoys being active and trying new things, especially in our amazing new city.