School District expanding transition programs for special needs students | News
Polk County, FL-- Polk County Public Schools’ students who graduate with a special diploma now have an opportunity to learn employable skills on site at The Lakeland Center. Students with special needs will be introduced to every job aspect of The Lakeland Center and will have an opportunity to learn janitorial, customer service and culinary skills. This program becomes the first to have a classroom located in a business the District has partnered with.
Senior Manager of Polk Transition Services Karen Toppin says she is proud of the new program that is currently in its first year. “There is such a lack of value of these types of students. Once they are given an opportunity to showcase what they can do, our clients love our kids and they want them to stay. We have some great kids. We in the Transition Services Department are working hard to provide more opportunities.”
The goal of Transition Services is to provide a continuous process that begins by the time a student turns 14 or is in the eighth grade, whichever comes first, and continues until the student graduates from high school. For students graduating with a special diploma transition services continue until the school year the student turns 22. Transition planning focuses on the plan and dreams that a student has for the future and provides the services and support that the student needs to make a successful move into adult life.
Polk County Public Schools currently has five off-site transition programs locations:
(1) Warner University
(2) University of South Florida
(3) Traviss Career Center
(4) Ridge Career Center
(5) The Lakeland Center
On-site transition programs are located at the following high schools:
(1) Mulberry High
(2) Lake Region High
(3) George Jenkins High
(4) Lake Gibson High
(5) Tenoroc High
Polk County Public Schools recently partnered with Vocational Rehabilitation Work Program to develop hands on training for students and adults with disabilities. These students will be able to take Basic Computer Skills classes and participate in a Customer Assistance Program at Traviss Career Center. Classes offered at Ridge Career Center include Culinary Arts and Automotive Services classes. These classes will begin in January of 2013.