Transition Planning Helps Students Prepare for AdulthoodApril 16, 2021
At Green Chimneys, we work with students of all different abilities and all need to plan for the future, whatever their path may be. Transition Planning is critical to helping students get on that path and ensuring that they, and their families, are well equipped. When we talk about transition, we mean moving to the next stage in life; from school age to adulthood.
Transition planning begins with each family
“What’s important for people to understand about families of children with special needs is that they want their children to succeed, they would like them to be independent, and move toward a productive adult life. And that’s where the K-12 system comes in; to help prepare students, and their families, for that level of independence,” says Green Chimneys Executive Director Ed Placke. “But navigating the state system is not easy and it’s critical that families get a roadmap to help them ensure their child gets what he or she needs. That’s a prime focus for us.”
Incorporating vocational education into transition planning
Vocational Education is a large component of Transition Planning and focuses on exposure to career options and the skill sets needed to access them. As part of the standards designated by New York State, Green Chimneys’ High School curriculum includes Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS). Both encompass learning standards and work readiness skills that are introduced as early as 9th grade. Specific disciplines such as agriculture, business and marketing, family and consumer sciences, health occupations, technology and trade/industrial education are covered, as are the wide range of interpersonal and “soft skills” one needs to be successful in any workplace.
Helping students strengthen skills
Soft skills are a particular focus for Green Chimneys students, many of whom struggle with the behaviors and communication typically expected in day-to-day interactions. From active listening and learning to managing time to collaborating with others, our students work on these basic, necessary skills both in regular classroom settings and other daily activities, such as jobs at the farm, dorm resident meetings, community service projects, and even recreational activities. The next level of development incorporates awareness and hands-on experiences in various career options.
Partnering with Putnam County businesses
Partnerships with diverse businesses in the community are helping Green Chimneys students gain experience in a variety of settings. Several are working as sanitation specialists at Applebee’s and take great pride in putting on their uniforms and going to work each week. Students are also learning skills at other well known locations such as Gappy’s Pizza, the Brewster Elk’s Lodge, Palmer’s Hardware Store, and Brewster Shell gas station. In keeping with Green Chimneys’ nature-based focus, students also have opportunities at Boni-Bel Farm, with jobs in landscaping, farming and harvesting, and learning customer service and retail operations in the Country Store.
Expanding learning beyond Green Chimneys
“Off-campus opportunities allow our students to forge their own relationships with the staff and become an integral part of these teams,” says Transitional & Career Program Coordinator Christina Henriquez. “These local businesses have been a tremendous asset to furthering the lessons taught in the classroom and on campus.”