Letter From Teresa Powell (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.
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:
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.
Anticipated Student Outcomes
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.
-Menta Academy Oak Park Student
Anna Fink, B.A., LBS1
Cara Sullivan, MEd
Secondary Transition Specialist