Menta Academy Oak Park (Oak Park)

44 Madison, Oak Park, IL 60302
Contact: Anna Fink, MEd

2021-2022 School Calendar

Letter From Teresa Powell (PDF)

Newsletter (PDF)


The Pre-Transition Program is dedicated to providing a safe platform for young adults, ages 17-22. Working on a continuum of services, it is the goal of the pre-transition program to prepare young adults for their next transition. They are submersed in an environment rich in career exploration, skill development, health and wellness, behavior regulation, and independent living. Facilitators are committed to providing meaningful real world experiences that are truly individualized for each young adult to maximize their level of independence.

Program Description
Transitions occur for all individuals at various critical junctures throughout life as roles and environments change. To successfully transition from one role or setting to another, an individual and the people who support them must explore options in current or new environments and then determine the best match. For some youth, such as those with disabilities and others who face significant educational and vocational challenges, policy mandates and innovative practices are needed to ensure they learn skills that are needed to reach optimal outcomes as they transition from one life role or environment to the next.

When students enter a Menta program, there are certain skills that educators and families are asked to work on with students before students transition back to their home district, a transition program, or the community. Once the students have obtained their credits and demonstrate self-management of behaviors, students are taught to generalize classroom skills in a community setting. This continuum of placements within Menta allows students to acquire and practice new skills and behaviors in a safe environment. As students move from a Menta classroom to Pre-Transition, they are assessed on learned skills and behaviors through various methods such as student-led business enterprises and hands-on projects.

Students move on through the continuum when they consistently no longer need intensive supports and can successfully demonstrate learned employability skills such as:

  • problem solving
  • effective communication
  • time-management
  • self-advocacy
  • community integration and transportation
  • adaptive living skills
  • related work behaviors such as grooming, hygiene, communication skills, following dress codes and workplace schedules, completing tasks, and taking initiative

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, students with disabilities may receive public education services until their 22nd birthday. While some students may continue to work towards a high school diploma, program options for 18 to 22 year olds generally focus on achieving Individual Educational Plan (IEP) transition goals. The ultimate goal of transition is the last day of school should resemble the first day of the rest of an individual’s life.

Program participation allows students to diversify their training and increase endurance and stamina while working progressively longer periods of time on site with the teacher, paraprofessional, or transition coach.


Program Description

  • Employment First Team Transition is designed to assist districts in meeting their obligation of post-school goals and transition outcomes according to IDEA 2004.
  • The Employment First Team Transition Program is outcome driven. As a transition team, our goal is to engage youth and young adults in planning their own futures by providing youth with developmentally-appropriate services and supports, and involving students, their families, and other key players in a process that prepares and facilitates them in their movement toward greater self-sufficiency. Our objective is the successful achievement of their goals related to each of the transition domains – employment, career-building education, living situation, personal-effectiveness and quality of life, and community-life functioning.
  • The Employment First Team Transition Program endeavors to provide students with:
    • Enriching collegiate experiences
    • Interactive and inclusive environments
    • Learning activities that will transfer to lifelong independent living skills
    • Job skills necessary for gainful employment
    • Self respect and knowledge of individual strengths
    • Empowerment through education


  • To provide life skills training enabling the student to successfully live independently. Typically, students will complete the program within 24 months. However, completion time may be extended for students who need the additional time.
  • To provide job development and placement enabling the student to acquire employment during the program.
  • To provide realistic and inclusive learning experiences and activities while utilizing the natural progression of a community college campus as a higher learning opportunity.
  • To coordinate with the student, family, district, and agency personal, in the development and implementation of specific objectives that increase independence in the community.
  • To assist the student and family in coordinating the transition into independent life.

Anticipated Student Outcomes

  • At least 90% of the young adults participating in the program will leave the program with competitive employment.
  • At least 95% of the young adults entering the program will successfully complete the program.
  • At least 95% of the young adults entering the program will be able to coordinate and advocate with service providers independently.
  • At least 95% of the young adults entering the program will develop capacity to locate and access resources independently.
  • All students entering the program will show improved functioning in two or more life areas/transition domains (educational opportunities, employment and career, living situation, community-life functioning, and Personal Effectiveness and Well-being).

In 2014 our excellence in transition planning was awarded Illinois state recognition.
The overarching goal is transition, be that reintegration, employment, post secondary learning or vocational training designed to enable a young adult to be a fully functioning, participating member of the community. Students, teachers and staff, and family members are all important participants in the on-going transitioning process that includes high expectations and thoughtful planning.

44 Madison, Oak Park, IL 60302, 41.8803957, -87.776771

"When I first started at Menta Academy Oak Park I was iffy on college, but right now I am certain I will be going to college."

-Menta Academy Oak Park Student

Anna Fink, MEd

Cara Sullivan, MEd
Secondary Transition Specialist
Regional Director


Contact Us

To learn more about Menta Academy Oak Park, please contact us.