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CCISD oldest students learn community transition

The Copper Country Intermediate School District (CCISD) is responsible for providing special education services from birth through the age of 26. Last month I described what the CCISD does to help some of our youngest students. Now I would like to share what we do to service our oldest students.

The CCISD developed the community transition program (CTP) in the 2000-01 school year inside the Goodwill retail store. The CTP is now located above the Houghton Auto Value store.

The CTP is a curriculum-based program designed to help young adults ages 18-26 who have moderate cognitive disabilities learn the skills necessary to transition from school to adult life roles at home and in the community.

The program provides support to students and families in making the transition to post school life.

The primary goal is for CTP students to become as independent as possible with minimal support.

The curriculum areas covered are community transactions, domestic activities, career preparation and planning, and recreation and leisure. Within these areas, the students develop skills in budgeting money for monthly restaurant outings, time management, cooking, household skills, grooming and hygiene, public transit skills, reading, social skills, advocacy and communication.

Consumer training in the community provides the students with real-life experiences, such as retail shopping at Christmas, weekly grocery shopping with the student-cooking group, banking and mailings at the post office. The students also volunteer their time by assembling the Habitat for Humanity newsletter.

Another work skill area practiced within the classroom is the assembly of soy candles and Christmas ornaments. The students sell these products as a fundraiser for the program at craft shows and local businesses.

Many local establishments, such as Pizza Works inHoughton, Copper Country Community Art Center and The Office Shop support this project by allowing our students to sell their products in their stores, which the CTP is thankful for.

In addition, we provide the students with unpaid work-based learning experiences that match their preferences and work strengths.

Work Based Learning is a great opportunity to assist students with disabilities in their career exploration. The individual hands-on job skills currently being carried out in the community are washing tables and chairs, confidential document shredding, folding laundry, wrapping silverware, assisting elderly residents during recreational activities, sweeping, mopping and vacuuming floors.

A job coach accompanies the students and assists with training them in the skill set for the position, develops accommodations as needed, writes weekly assessments and fosters independence on the job.

The teacher establishes the community placements, visits the sites monthly to assess progress, problem solves as needed and provides additional support.

All CTP students have placements in local businesses. The CCISD is appreciative of the following local businesses that support this program by allowing us to place students with them and providing this valuable opportunity:

Auto Value, Burger King, The Bluffs, Country Inn and Suites, Houghton County Medical Care Facility, The Lighthouse of Hancock, Kangas Cafe, Krunch and Torch Lake Credit Union.

It is with the help of our community that the CCISD is able to help our young adult special education population with a means to become productive citizens within their community.

George Stockero Jr. is superintendent of the Copper Country Intermediate School District.

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