Secondary Transition/North Haven Transition Partnership (NHTP)
The transition from school to adult life is challenging for all students, and even more so for students who have significant disabilities. Federal law requires special education services designed to address the unique transition needs of each student who require these additional services.
Secondary Transition is a coordinated set of activities designed to be a results-oriented process, focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of young adults to facilitate their movement from traditional schooling to post-secondary activities. In North Haven, we formally address post-secondary transition in the middle school by focusing on the skills needed for academics as well as independent living and employment. Throughout high school, we continue to develop these skills with a focus on what our young adult's post-secondary aspirations are as a collaborative effort with the young adult, their parents if appropriate, their high school team, and any outside agencies that may be involved.
North Haven provides further opportunities beyond the walls of a school building, in community-based settings, which are the most appropriate and typical place for young adults to receive such services. Our program is called the North Haven Transition Partnership (NHTP). Almost all activity is done outside of the classroom in real-life, community-based situations.
NHTP offers community-based transition services designed to educate North Haven young adults with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 21, who have completed their senior year of high school. Young adults with disabilities receive special education services per the PPT (Planning and Placement Team) recommendation. Some young adults attend full time, and others are part-time depending on the PPT recommendation.
Young adults in NHTP work on skills needed to prepare them for post-school adult life in the domains of employment, postsecondary education and/or training, and independent living. These are all addressed through community participation and in accordance with their IEP (Individualized Educational Program). The program is centrally located in town, at the Community Services and Recreation Department building. Young adults meet there to receive a portion of their instruction and then apply what they've learned in a variety of community-based sites such as local businesses, college campuses, stores, laundromats, the public library, etc. They also go to their job sites in the afternoon at locations with employers that have agreed to support our young adults, with the supervision of a job coach, in a true employment experience. Some examples of job sites our young adults have worked in are the Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Petco, CVS, TJ Maxx, and North Haven Health and Racquet.
The program strives to use the community and resources around it to the maximum extent so it is replicating what our young adults will have to be able to do once they exit public schools altogether. We also partner with the state's Department of Development Services (DDS), and the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services (BRS) to access supports outside of the program and help young adults in the program transition to adulthood.
Benefits for young adults:
· Opportunities to learn and socialize with same-aged peers and adults
· Community work-based learning, vocational training, and employment opportunities
· Improved self - determination/advocacy skills
· Increased independent living skills
· Improved community access and mobility in and near their hometown
· Engaged with community resources and adult services to prepare for next steps
· Improved social and communication skills
· Developed recreational interests and leisure skills
· Ability to access adult education, post-secondary education/training opportunities, and/or other lifelong learning pursuits
· Improved decision making and problem-solving skills
· Increased functional academic skills, which support independence, in reading, writing, and math
Staffing: There is one Special Education Teacher/Transition Specialist and Job/Educational Coaches who are the primary support for our young adults in the community. Related services such as social work and speech-language services come into the program to provide our young adults with those services per their IEP.
Liability: Young adults in the program are covered by the school district’s insurance policy under the same provisions as they would be during any instructional activity conducted in the schools or in the community. Additionally, NHTP young adults in the program are covered by the Town of North Haven’s Workers Compensation insurance policy while in employment settings.
Transportation: Transportation is provided to and from the program site by the school district (M&J Transportation) in the morning and afternoon. As much as possible, travel to community-based sites is via public transportation (CT Transit), but school buses are employed when safety dictates their use. Young adults in the program are accompanied by staff at all times during the hours of operation of NHTP.