The Arc of Los Angeles and Orange County

Project Name: School-to-Community Transition

Contact Information:
Luana Acuna
(562) 803-1556 Ext. 259
9501 Washburn Road
Downey, CA 90242

Project Goals

To develop a seamless transition service that will motivate and prepare high school students with disabilities for successful placement in a community job or service of their choice immediately following graduation.

Project Description

In an attempt to describe our high school transition project to 44 colleagues of The Arc it seemed only natural to use a fun and memorable analogy of what lies ahead for High School Students with disabilities. The analogy of going from school (Earth) to work (Mars) makes a lot of sense. These are two different worlds with their own set of issues, challenges and unknowns.

You can also not get to Mars (work) without a lot of help and support and thus the addition of the use of a “rocket powered California surfboard” (the project) supported by family members, The Arc’s advocates, counselors and trainers, local school district staff and the student’s desire to succeed. It is a simple and yet, powerful analogy displaying the awesome task that lies ahead for each student.

The Arc’s School-to-Community Transition (SCT) service consists of a high school transition coordinator, adult transition trainer, and a high school advocate. Under The Arc’s direction, the SCT team identifies specific issues that affect each participant’s successful transition, assists in breaking down transition barriers, and coordinates efforts to ensure successful outcomes determined by participants. The SCT team is joined by local school district transition coordinators to ensure its success.

The SCT team starts working with students during the transition high school years (ages 18-22) in order to get to know the students and their families and learn of their dreams and desires. The service continues through graduation and two years following school (ages 22-24) to ensure that the goals identified by the student and their families are achieved. A new SCT transition plan is developed which includes the additional resources and supports provided by The Arc’s SCT team.

Life has many challenges, but successfully transitioning from school to work depends on a commitment to get involved early with the student and family and assist in training and advocating for their rights – one student at a time. From Earth to Mars – we can do it together!