Pictured above are Williamsville students who participate in the District's transition program. A reception was held on January 8, 2015 honoring local employers and businesses that support the program by providing opportunities for our students.
The Office of Transition Services assists building teams with transition planning for students with disabilities. A wide range of opportunities and experiences are available; all designed to address long range goals related to employment, post-secondary education and/or daily living. For example, community work experiences are considered a major component of our program. This involves utilizing the community as a classroom by providing students with the opportunity to intern at job sites chosen in accordance with individual preferences and interests. We currently have over 60 work sites that have been job developed specifically to host our students in employment situations. Placements in these settings allow staff to promote the development of essential vocational skills such as: time management, organization, following directions, social interaction, hygiene and appearance, body and space awareness, mobility, communication, initiative, productivity, quality of work, safety guideline awareness, and teamwork. Students typically begin his or her internship series at the age of 16, generally completing 2 internships per year at the outset and sometimes increasing to 4 different internships per school year if appropriate as the student comes closer to exiting high school. Time on-the-job is guided by the student’s individual goals and their academic schedule. District bussing is utilized to transport students to and from internship sites.
Students may also be provided with opportunities to participate in community integration activities, job shadowing experiences, employer-led interviews, presentations, and community-based transition centered field trips. Field trips of this nature are designed to augment work experiences and address Individualized Education Plan goals such as: banking and money management, mobility or Metro training, communication and social skills, dining and restaurant etiquette, or any other related IEP goal that may be appropriately generalized to a community based work setting. Examples include attendance at events promoting self-advocacy, mentoring, and disability awareness, along with college and employment informational fairs and various adult agency sponsored transition planning programs. All transportation to and from these community-based trips is accessed by our Metro Bus/Mobility Training program.
Transition planning also facilitates consideration of the needs of students exiting high school to post-secondary education. Team members work with students, parents/guardians, administrators, school counselors, school psychologists, special educators and other personnel, to promote awareness of the types of services available from campus disability offices and/or Acces-VR (Adult Career and Continuing Education Services -Vocational Rehabilitation). The areas of challenge most often experienced by students as they transition from one level of education to another are discussed in an effort to define appropriate plans of support.
The transition services team regularly assists students with adult agency referrals, college tours (coordinating meetings for students with Disability Services Coordinators at the local college chosen by the student), and/or residential housing tours. The goal is to familiarize families and students with agency resources, Acces-VR applications, transition planning timelines, Social Security updates, Benefits/Trusts/Estate planning guidelines, and any other information the student might derive benefit from. The District Transition Team meets individually with each student and his/her family at the time of their referral to the department.