Board Presentation on Community Transitions Program
At the October Board meeting, the Special Education Leadership Team of Harold Louth, Maria Petsos and David Hauserman presented on the district’s Community Transitions Program.
“We have exceptional teachers, strong leadership and a wonderful curriculum for our Life Skills Program,” Mr. Louth stated. “But we realized we needed a better way to integrate our students into the workplace and the community, which was the genesis of the Community Transitions Program.”
The Ewing Public Schools have partnered with several community stakeholders to build the program, and integrate positive, relevant life experiences for Ewing students. These groups include the ARC of Mercer, Parents of Autistic Children, Rider University, the New Jersey Travel Independence Program and Advancing Opportunities.
“We recognized the importance of transitioning our students into adult services with meaningful work and life experiences,” Mr. Hauserman commented. “The Community Transitions program allows us to provide a dynamic curriculum and tangible, meaningful experiences for our students.”
According to Mr. Louth, the main focus of the program is to integrate the students into the community, provide opportunities to enhance and practice social skills, and to provide career exploration that will help the student transition to job post-schooling.
The program offers functional experiences, such as using HomeFront’s state of the art kitchen to build culinary skills, and students have the opportunity to take music lessons, art courses and develop technology skills. Community based activities and structured learning experiences are centered around the results from each child’s “Person Centered Planning” (PCP) and the program’s commitment to follow each student’s interests. Students investigate a variety of employment interests, such as janitorial, culinary, supermarkets, horticultural and technology.
Internships and work experiences have included Subway, IHOP, Shop Rite, Santander Bank and Home Depot.
Post-School Outcomes for the 2016-17 Ewing Schools exiters shows the value of the program. After graduation and moving on from the Ewing Schools, 45% of former students are enrolled in higher education and 24% are engaged in competitive employment.
“Active participation in our community means not only creating opportunities for our students but also encouraging engagement with local businesses and organizations through meaningful employment experiences,” Mr. Louth stated. “This emphasis on equity and inclusivity builds self-confidence and self-advocacy in our students.”
Please 'click' below for the Structured Learning Communities (SLC) Board of Education Presentation: