The Arc of the District of Columbia
Project Name: Beyond High School: Navigating the Future
415 Michigan Ave, NE
Washington, DC 20017
The Project aims to increase transition outcomes for students with I/DD and Autism with employment, post secondary education, independent living and community activities through training and support in the District of Columbia Public Schools.
The District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) are facing significant challenges in transitioning youth from High School to the community in jobs, education and greater independence for life after high school. More than 500 students ranging in ages from 17-22 years of age have left the school system with limited awareness of how to transition their lives from school to community programs. In addition, families need knowledge on how to navigate the government systems and understand next steps in assisting their family member in becoming more self sufficient. Youth and families need direction, transitioning education, navigation skills to move forward with a sense of empowerment.
The Arc of DC implemented a one year training model for 34 youth and families to include benefits training, transition planning, referrals for post secondary education, connections to government agencies and family support meetings to guide students and family beyond high school.
The Arc of DC convened a Community Advisory group to guide and direct the mission of the project, designed the training curriculum and solidified partnerships with the public and charter schools, as well as the District of Columbia Government Department on Disability Services (DDS) for the 2010-11 school year.
The project also collected significant data on the effectiveness of the training with students and teachers for transition planning. Project activities included counseling and referral for individuals and families, one-to-one support navigation and outreach. Data gathering and assessment tools were developed to track progress and measure student and family satisfaction.
In the 2011-12 school year, The District of Columbia Public Schools contracted with The Arc of DC to expand the Walmart project to continue their efforts from the prior school year. The Arc of DC is now working with 100 plus students in 8 different schools throughout the Washington area.