Special education prepares students for life after high

WORTHINGTON — Secondary transition is a required portion of special education services and is part of the process for preparing students for their lives beyond the walls of our K-12 classrooms. It also provides a number of opportunities, including but not limited to: post-secondary education and training, employment training and assistance, as well as independent living support.

School staff work with students on various activities that allow them to progress toward their transition goals, such as earning a driver’s license, applying and attending college, or seeking employment opportunities within the community through transition coursework and collaborative work with local agencies.

Emily Ruml, special education teacher at Worthington High School says “transition services has been a great asset for our special education students here at WHS,” and that the partnerships with many county agencies has proven successful.

District special education staff have worked with a number of county agencies such as Nobles County Community Services, Southwestern Center for Independent Living (SWCIL), Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS), Southwestern Minnesota Private Industry Council (PIC), and The Achievement Center to form a county transition team that focuses on meeting student needs, providing opportunities for work experience within the Worthington community and help build transition plans for post graduation.

Given these strong partnerships, Ruml said, “We are able to provide a wide range of opportunities for our students with special needs to help them and their families feel comfortable with post-graduation plans by keeping the student’s goals and needs at the center of focus.”

The Worthington High School special education department offers a transition class for special education (as well as general education) students preparing for graduation. The course will use the Workforce Solutions curriculum, which guides students through the process of identifying their strengths and weaknesses, engaging them in career exploration activities, and providing instruction in employability skills and job search skills such as networking, resume development and interview skills.

Workforce Solutions provides age appropriate, sequential skill building that follows a scope and sequence centered on college and career readiness.

In addition to this course, District 518 staff have partnered with PIC and Hope Haven to work with students and case managers to offer various work experience opportunities within the community in order to gain necessary employment skills and on the job training.

“This has been a huge success to help students gain employment skills needed for after graduation,” Ruml said.

We are grateful to Worthington and the numerous Nobles County services that have helped establish our transition programs at Worthington High School to provide ongoing support for our students beyond graduation. We look forward to a successful school year ahead!