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State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Congratulates Winner of Special Education Learning Award

June 24, 2018 - por

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Congratulates Winner of Special Education Learning Award


State Superintendent Tom Torlakson congratulated the La Sierra High School Adult Transition Program in the Fullerton Joint Union High School District on winning the 2018 Grazer Outstanding Achievement in Learning (GOAL) award, which recognizes outstanding programs in special education.

La Sierra High School Adult Transition Program is located on the California State Fullerton Campus and provides community, vocational, and social opportunities to students ages eighteen to twenty-two with moderate to severe support needs.

“This program is a great example of how to prepare students to become self-reliant and self-sufficient,” Torlakson said. “Providing students with career training that can lead to a job, exposing them to real world social activities, and teaching them how to live independently will enable these students to become productive, contributing, and thriving young adults.”

La Sierra High School Adult Transition Program started in 2009 with one teacher serving 12 students at a single location and is now districtwide with over 100 students enrolled. The program’s innovative practices are based on a planning structure that exposes students to a vast array of vocational, social/recreational, and independent living experiences.

The goal of the program is for every graduating student to be engaged in meaningful, competitive integrated employment or continuing education or participation in adult programs one year after completion and beyond.

Since 2009, the program has tripled its partnerships and collaboration with support agencies that assist students with placement to adult programs after graduation, offer paid work experience after graduation, and provide a variety of other supports.

In 2014 the program started tracking student outcomes, and in four years the percentage of students in educational, job, or adult programs one year after graduation has grown from 31 percent to 96 percent.

The support of the professional community is critical. Students rotate through 32 job training sites, including retail sales, food service, elder care, and child care to develop their career interests. Students also receive speech and language services to improve their communication skills in the workplace and the community.

The program has also incorporated a college pathway with the addition of an Adult Education Block Grant counselor. The counselor assists students who would like to take Career Technical Education courses at adult education and community colleges while in the program and after completion.

Tom Adams, deputy superintendent of the California Department of Education’s Teaching and Learning Support Branch, presented the $5,000 GOAL award to representatives from the La Sierra High School Adult Transition Program during the June 21 California Advisory Commission on Special Education (ACSE) meeting in Sacramento.

The GOAL award was established in the 2005–06 school year and was funded by Hollywood producer Brian Grazer’s family to recognize exemplary practices in special education and to celebrate programs that serve California youth with disabilities along with the professionals who provide them.