JCFS TDS Transition Student Ania recently celebrated a very special milestone! She voted for the very first time, receiving a round of applause from the workers at the polling place.
Ania, like many of our students in the Transition Program, has been focused on increasing independence and life skills within school and the community at large. This program helps develop these skills so that upon graduation from school, she is more prepared to enter the workforce. Ania shared some of her thoughts about the Transition Program. “I like being in this program because I get a chance to learn life skills. My favorite place to work is the Chesed house because I get to help the Jewish community as well as people from other communities.” Ania participates in the off-site job program where she works in various locations, gaining valuable skills specific to those sites.
Ms. Mfaume, Special Education Teacher, has been involved with this program for more than 2 years now. “A transition program for any student pursuing college or a job post high-school will benefit from participating in this training. The students are learning how to be professional at work that include communication skills, how to meet job expectations, and how to understand intrapersonal dynamics that play out in a work setting.” Ms. Mfaume works closely with her students. She learns about their strengths and interests and lets those aspects help determine the focus of their work together.
The Transition Program
Students who have met all or most of their high school academic requirements but need additional time to develop skills related to daily living and employment are eligible to participate in the Transition Program. Students in the Transition Program perform job tasks around the school such as recycling, attendance collection, school store operations, laminating and much more! Select students also participate in offsite workplaces in the local community where they receive a small stipend for their work. Some job sites include a local library, a candy store, a hotel and a local community center. The Work Development Coordinator oversees each student’s placement to assesses and track their progress.
Ongoing life skills instruction addresses hygiene skills, money management, time management, and social skills to help youth transition to adulthood. The Life Skills Room also provides a space to teach cooking and other independent living skills. When applicable, outside referrals are provided to connect students with social activities at local park districts, community centers and YMCAs. For students requiring additional support to develop life skills, the Transition Team encourages families to add their student to the PUNS List, a supportive resource that provides funding for different types of services and programming.
Transitional services are provided both in and outside the classroom by the Transition Specialist and other educational and clinical staff. The student has an opportunity to create a Post-High School portfolio that helps them explore career interests and post-secondary options. Their IEP team facilitates discussions and work towards securing programming or other services post-graduation. For students requiring linkage to adult services, they are connected to their local Department of Human Services’ Division of Rehabilitation Services.
Work Development Program
The Work Development Coordinator provides individual vocational counseling and workshops to high school students looking to build job readiness skills. Weekly counseling activities include creating a resume, assisting students in completing job applications, and walking the student through the complete interview process from start to finish. Vocational workshops provided to the students focus on relevant and useful information related to career exploration, interviewing skills and important job skills.
In-house School Job Program
Through the in-house School Job Program, students in middle and high school have the opportunity to gain work experience and develop pre-vocational skills through supervised, school-based work opportunities in their classroom and around the school. They also have the opportunity to earn a small hourly wage.