Transition is a process that assists students in the movement from school to post-school activities. This process builds on itself year after year as the transition-age students gain new insights into their strengths, interests, and preferences. The transition process assists students by creating a vision for the future, deciding what school courses to take, exploring employment options and experiences, participating in extracurricular activities, getting involved in different community experiences, researching whether outside agencies should be included, discussing post-secondary education and training options, and thinking about independent living options. Transition is make the connection for students between school, home and community.
Suffolk Public School offers students with special needs the opportunity to engage in a coordinated set of activities that support their post-secondary goals. This involves extensive planning and coordinator starting in the very early stages of each student’s academic and career planning process. Students enrolled in special education services have the opportunity to participate in community and agency sponsored programs such as the Virginia Youth Summit, the Virginia Youth Leadership Forum, Say Yes to College, Special Olympics, and the Suffolk Workforce Development Center. Special education personnel and vocational education providers work collaboratively to ensure that students are prepared for a productive and independent lifestyle.
Transition programs in place include:
Middle School Programs
Practical Assessment Exploration System
The PAES implementation is part of Suffolk Public Schools initative to focus on early skills assessment for students and proactive planning for their transition to community settings. Should a student’s IEP team determine that participation in the program would be of benefit to the student, instruction could be included in their educational plan.
This expereince gives students firsthand knowledge of the SEE/US program (Student Employment Experiences Under Supervision). Selected eligible 8th grade students will shadow currently enrolled students who are participating in the SEE/US program. Students will be escorted to different job sites to observe the SEE/US students at work.
High School Programs
The College and Career Academy at Pruden AC/CESS Evaluation
The College & Career Academy at Pruden provides students in Suffolk Public Schools with career opportunities designed to promote personal and professional development, life-long learning experiences and enhanced quality of life via career and technical instruction for preparation and integration into the global economic community. The center provides tuition free services for all high school students enrolled while providing opportunities to earn elective credit toward their high school graduation and college education. Students may begin attending The College and Career Academy at Pruden during their junior year in high school by contacting their high school guidance counselors.
AC/CESS is a career and technical education evaluation that provides students the opportunity to explore a variety of occupations by performing work tasks that are closely related to specific careers. Their performance on work samples, along with career interest, aptitudes, skills, and work behaviors are evaluated and used to assist with career planning.
Project Postsecondary Education/Rehabilitation Transition (PERT)
The PERT program is collaboratively administered by the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services. The program operates out of the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center (WWRC) in Fishersville, Virginia. PERT is a highly effective school-to-work transition initiative for eligible students with disabilities. It operates from a “best practices” model in which student and adult service providers partner to provide an integrated continuum of secondary to postsecondary transition services for participating students. Parents and former PERT clients are integral members of the program’s advisory committee.
Students who are found eligible for PERT services participate in a 10-day vocational evaluation at WWRC. During this evaluation period students are assessed in the areas of vocational strengths and aptitudes; independent living and leisure skills; functional abilities; and social/interpersonal/personal adjustment skills and abilities. Findings from these evaluations are forwarded to the referring parties, and are used by the student’s IEP team to address school-to-work options for the student.
Communtiy Based Instruction CBI
CBI programs are a vital part of vocational education services and research has shown that participation in such programs assists students in acquiring vital adult living skills. CBI allows students to participate in experiential learning activities within the community which reinforces the generalization of necessary skills across a variety of settings. CBI also affords students the opportunity to become familiar with the services offered within the local community and develops their ability for self-advocacy. Students who participate in CBI programs appear to become more competent and independent adults.
Student Employment Experience Under Supervision (SEE/US)
The Student Employment Experience Under Supervision (SEE/US) provides on-the-job training, enhancement of social skills and community awareness for students with disabilities. Students who meet the criteria for participation are referred to the program during their sophomore, junior, and senior years.
Participation in the program:
- Enables business partners in the community to employ studetns with disabilities who have developed specific skills for jobs in their businesses.
- Acclimates business partners and the business community to students with disabilities and their potential as successful employees.
The program’s current work sites include:
- Big Lots
- Hilton Garden Inn
- YMCA of Suffolk
Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services & Western Tidewater Community Services Board & DRS & WTCSB
DRS and WTCSB are community agencies that may provide a variety of services to persons with disabilities. These agencies provide a crucial link to the community for students who are receiving special education services. DRS referrals can be made within the student’s junior and senior years in high school; WTCSB referrals may be made at any time during a student’s educational career. Both programs provide case management services to qualifying individuals. If found eligible for serivces, they can link transitioning students with job programs, health care providers, and independent living options.
Practical Assessment Exploration System PAES
PAES is a state-of-the-art assessment of abilities, interests, and work behavior needs designed specifically for use in the school setting for students who are educated in a self-contained classroom setting. PAES involves the implementation of criterion referenced assessment procedures to pinpoint specific skills and abilities a student must have to perform certain tasks and to assess exactly how well the student can perform these tasks. PAES assesses the student’s ability to perform generalizeable skills and provides a profile of behaviors essential for success both in school and in the community. Should a student’s IEP team determine that participation in the program would be of benefit to the student such instruction could be included int he student’s educational plan.
Service Based Learning Experiences (On-Campus Work Experiences)
Service based learning experiences are an initative within Suffolk Public Schools that involve entrepreneurial activities for students receiving special education services. Program involvement allows students to expand their job skills, to participate in “real world” industries, and to develop a strong work and service ethic. Research efforts document that participation in such programs are extremely effective as they motivate students to strive toward personal success and independence. Should a student’s IEP team determine that participation in such a program is appropriate for the student the Transition Specialist at the student’s assigned school can assist the student’s case manager in the referral process.