As educators, we know one of the more challenging times in a secondary-aged student's life can be preparing for adulthood after high school. This can be especially true for students with disabilities. To say that leaving a support system which feels safe and familiar is overwhelming and scary is an understatement.
Fortunately, there are services available through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that disabled students and their parents can continue to rely on to help with a smooth transition into postsecondary education or training, employment, and independent living.
The Adult Transition Program (ATP) at Community High School District 218 in Oak Lawn, IL serves a mission to do just that, and with the help of the VariQuest® Visual and Kinesthetic Learning Suite, their students with disabilities are learning valuable real-world skills, while building confidence, courage and spirit!
At the heart of ATP is Kerry McNicholas, Vocational Coordinator and Alison Wilde, District Coordinator. Together they have been preparing approximately 105 students with disabilities, ages 18-22, for self-sufficiency since 2008, and continue to see growth in their program year-over-year. With their guidance, ATP focuses on life and vocational skills some students still need to develop after high school through a student-run apparel and greeting card business called High 5.
High 5 gives students actual hands-on experience using the VariQuest Suite of tools consisting of the Perfecta®Poster Design System, Cutout Maker 1800 and Motiva® 400 Specialty Printer to create apparel tags, greeting cards, bumper stickers, posters and much more. These student-created assets not only support their business but also their local community, all while advancing a student's skill set in reading, math, communication, listening, and problem-solving.
"It's an entire program embedded into their day, students are learning functional skills needed for community college, a job, everyday life", says Ms. Wilde. And they're having fun while they work and learn!
Watch this video and hear firsthand what ATP student entrepreneurs are saying about their work experience at Community High School District 218, and the difference the VariQuest Tools are making in their program!
Read more about how Community High School District 218 runs their Adult Transition program, and discover some of the remarkable things their students are doing since completing the program. It is truly inspiring to see the business knowledge and independent life skills they have gained, thanks to the dedicated ATP staff, and the hands-on experience provided by the VariQuest Learning Tools!
Contact us today to schedule a no-obligation consultation and learn more about how the VariQuest Suite could benefit a student-run CTE program in your school!