The first days of school this year were a bit different for a group of high school students. While most were becoming accustomed to classroom routines, the new Transition Program for Park City High students participated in an app-based scavenger hunt via Park City Transit. As part of the hunt, they had to locate all the community businesses and organizations they will frequent this year in the community-based program.
Thanks to funding approved by Park City School District, special education services are now provided a comprehensive program that assists them in transitioning into the workplace. “The curriculum is focused on job readiness, independent living skills, and functional academic high school classes,” said Kara Brechwald, Special Education specialist. “Students will also create individualized transition portfolios thanks to a career and college readiness grant from the Park City Education Foundation.”
Already, the high school seniors have developed resumes and cover letters and are in the process of applying for employment or internships in their career field of choice. “Our sophomores and juniors are learning about self-determination, including their strengths and interests, to begin the process of outlining their plans for career exploration,” said Brechwald.
“We are so excited to be able to offer extended support for our students who need help making successful transitions,” she said.
Students in Sue Crawford’s Content Link class at Treasure Mountain Junior High starts its daily class routine with a dose of instruction of executive function strategies, or skills for success.
She helps students identify their strengths and challenges in this area and offers tools and strategies in both academic and social, emotional areas. Students learn time-management and self-advocacy skills, as well as dealing with emotions, taking other perspectives, and recognizing impulsivity.
According to Crawford, the cornerstone of this instruction is giving students a voice to communicate effectively with their peers and the adults they interact with daily. She does this through daily mini-lessons and teachable moments. She has also found success using circles where students have a safe and supportive opportunity to help each other problem solve and find solutions to challenges they are personally experiencing in the executive function areas.
Crawford has implemented this instructional practice with her students for several years as a secondary Special Education teacher. She has seen first-hand the increase in confidence and motivation when students are given tools and strategies that they can use to find success.
Park City School District’s Learning Academy transition teacher Paislee Schreiter and Park City High School’s special education teacher Tara Bacon have teamed up with Lucky Ones to bring coffee to the Christian Center of Park City.
Students at the Learning Academy’s adult transition plan will now have a coffee cart at the Christian Center of Park City.
Coffee carts allow our students to apply a variety of academic skills in an on-the-job setting. From turning in job applications to accurately counting money, the coffee cart will empower students to work within a community in a setting that is welcoming to persons of all abilities.