Award Winning Adult Transitions Program
“The child that is actually left behind is the one who leaves school without preparation for transition.”
-Dr. Louis Fulton
Benway School’s Transitions Program has partnered with William Paterson University’s “Pathway to Professional Careers” placing transitioning students 18-21 years old in a five-day, full-time college setting in order to acquaint them with a new environment much larger than that of their high school. The WPUNJ Transitions Program provides each sending district the ability to implement each student’s IEP transition goals.
The WPUNJ also has a Share Time Program: Professional Certification Dual Enrollment High School Credit Program that offers dual enrollment for students in 11th and 12th grades if the students credits allow. This program assists students by providing marketable professional certifications, job exploration, time management, healthy relationship management, public speaking skills, and goal setting.
The wide variety of course offerings, collegiate setting, and the economically advantageous aspect of this program motivates students to participate in self discovery as they set a solid foundation for their future. Benway provides this program to their students at no additional cost to the district, is free for the student and reaches over 150 districts within their geographical region. Therefore, students receive college level instruction, transportation to and from the college, and additional transitional services at the same cost of their undergraduate program. This cost effective approach allows Benway to expand its reach to students in Northern New Jersey who do not have access to such high quality instruction and support.
When Transition Planning, it is important to offer a broad variety of career exploration opportunities that cater to each student’s strengths and interests. Without explicit instruction on self-determination, executive functioning, and social emotional skills – in combination with the exploratory aspect – students tend to end their services which puts them at risk of not continuing their studies or reaching their goals due to lagging skills not being addressed. This program addresses all of these concerns by boasting explicit systematic instruction in both areas by providing professional certificates and training in addition to the aforementioned skills. The curriculum within the pre-college program addresses self-led Transitional Presentations, resume building, job coaching, Selective Learning Experiences, Community Based Instruction, Universal Design, and self advocacy skills with the support of WPU staff for IEP meetings.
We have been measuring the program effectiveness by comparing how many students complete the certification process and subsequently work within their chosen field. While the ASAH Outcome Study might have ended, we continue to use the same format to calculate effectiveness over time. Each year the reach and success grows with more and more students being accepted into the program after watching their senior peers succeed.
The original program idea was piloted in 2018 with a select few students by our LDTC and Transitions Coordinator collaborating with the college. As a result we have students attain an EKG, Phlebotomy, and Home Health Aide Certification with the others continuing their studies to the next year. This program has proven to be flexible as the students explore their interests and develop their awareness they are able to adjust their outcomes to their individual needs. Additionally, during the pandemic students were still provided instruction virtually.
Subsequently, the program has grown. Each year we place several students into the WPU program and, in addition, have placed students into a free immersive week during the summer months.
Examples of the certifications that Benway students have left the High School with include: Phlebotomy Cert., SORA, Graphic Design Level I & Level II, Illustrator and Adobe Certifications, EKG Tech, Medical Assistant, Serv-Safe, Child Development Assistant, and Home Health Care Aide.
Students who participate in the shared time program return to Benway in the afternoon to receive supplemental Transitional Services tailored to their specific needs. These services include therapeutic counseling, SEL programming to aid in problem solving, investigation of outside services like DVRS and assistance with connecting to these services.
Our LDTC and Transitions Coordinator, Joli Simpson, has been collaborating with various agencies over several years in a number of programs and committees that are dedicated to empowering post-graduate students and providing them with the innovative tools they need to be successful. Her reach in helping to develop programs does not only benefit the current students of Benway, but also graduates who are in need of assistance.
Additionally, Benway recently updated their classrooms with new furniture, Promethean Boards, flooring, and so much more. We were ready to welcome students back into the building in a new brighter school to lift their spirits and aid in their learning.
- Creating Growth Goals
- Resume Writing
- Informed Decision Making
- Google/Technology/Social Media
- Letter Writing
- Portfolio Assessment
- Building a Job Network
- Rights and Protections
- Work Skills
- Paying/Understanding Taxes