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CSD to Evaluate Programs For Preparing Special Education Students For Life Beyond School

Making the leap from childhood to adulthood isn’t easy, especially for students with disabilities.

“Everyone has hopes and dreams for a happy, meaningful life. Most of us want a job that pays the bills and fulfills us, close relationships, freedom and independence,” said Linda Hall, an administrator in Canyons’ Special Education Department. “Our special education students are no different. Sometimes they just need a little extra help planning for life after school.”

Canyons District is partnering with the U.S. Department to evaluate two promising “transition” programs designed to help students do just that.

Through a federal “Charting My Path for Future Success” grant, the District will be test piloting the two programs at each of its five high schools, starting in the fall of 2024. Students are eligible to participate if they will be entering the 11th grade in 2024, have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and are planning on graduating in 2026 with a regular diploma. 

Both transition programs involve mentoring and goal-setting to help students:

  • Get a job or enroll in college
  • Explore employment opportunities and career interests
  •  Attain job skills
  • Take advantage of social supports
  • Prepare for independent living

“This is part of a national effort to ensure all students have an onramp to college, careers, and independent lives,” Hall said. “It’s a more purposeful approach to goal-setting. These students will be developing action plans, monitoring their progress, and making adjustments as needed. We’re fortunate to be participating in this project.”

Participation in the programs is completely voluntary, but Hall anticipates interest will be high. 

Nationally, students with disabilities tend to lag behind their general-education peers when it comes to taking the steps needed to live on their own and manage household responsibilities, such as earning a driver’s license. 

They have poorer employment outcomes and enroll and graduate from college at lower rates than students without disabilities. 

The aim of Charting My Path for Future Success is to determine which types of transition supports work best. Participating students will be randomly placed in one of the two test programs or into a third group who will receive the transition supports already provided by their school. The American Institutes for Research, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization, will analyze data to determine the success of the programs.

“The data will be kept strictly confidential,” Hall said. “We won’t have access to it either. But the families and students who participate will not only benefit from these programs, which were chosen because they show promise, they will be improving the odds of success for students well into the future.”

Dozens of schools across the U.S. are taking part in the Charting My Path for Future Success research project.

In addition to the American Institutes for Research, the project team also includes the Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities, Social Policy Research Associates, and University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Information Nights

April 15: Corner Canyon High School, cafeteria, 6-8 p.m. 

April 16:  Jordan High School, Tech Atrium, 6-8 p.m. 

April 17: Alta High School, cafeteria, 6-8 p.m.

April 23: Brighton High School, cafeteria, 6-8 p.m.

April 24: Hillcrest High School, cafeteria, 6-8 p.m.

Interested in Learning More?

Information nights are being held at CSD’s high schools in April (see schedule below). Interested families should plan on attending the information night that best fits their schedule. To access the application for signing up for the program, email Linda.Hall@canyonsdistrict.org.

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Lucie Chamberlain

Alta View Elementary

If a movie about super teachers were ever made, Lucie Chamberlain would be a prime candidate for a leading role. Fortunately for her kindergarten students at Alta View Elementary, she already thrives in a supporting role for them. Parents thank her for being a “super teacher.” She is also described as an “amazing colleague.” Whether students need help in the classroom or from home while sick, Lucie goes above and beyond to help them learn, overcome fears, and feel important and cared for. Lucie is the reason a number of kids went from hating school to loving it, according to parents. The way she exudes patience, sweetness, positive energy, and love for her students with special needs melts is appreciated and admired. One parent noted: “Both my kids wish she could be their teacher forever.” Another added:  “She treats every student like their learning and their feelings are her priority.” Super teacher, indeed!

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