Students are in "STEP" as they Work to Acquire Life Skills
December 20, 2016
Based on the smiles from the faces of students in Rebekah Fuss’ classroom, Selah School District Special Education students are definitely in “STEP” as they are working hard to acquire the life skills to live independently.
As the 2016-2017 school year began, the District welcomed students into its new Selah Transition Education Program, “STEP.” Based at the administrative building under the guidance of Fuss, STEP serves students 18-21 years of age with special needs. The goal is to help the District’s young adults transition into life after school, so they can live as independently as possible.
"This program was established for students who continue to receive special services through age 21," said Fuss. "Instead of staying at the high school after graduation, they can attend a program in a different building where there is more independence. STEP students have the opportunity to develop their independent living and work skills in a community-based environment which has shown to be effective in helping people with disabilities earn competitive wage jobs and live as independently as possible."
Built from the belief that each student is gifted and a valuable asset to the workplace and community, the foundation of the STEP curriculum is to provide students instruction in independent living skills such as social and organizational skills, cooking, budgeting, and transportation. Also, students work at various businesses within the community and gain confidence, independence and authentic job skills so they can lead an active life.
Throughout the fall, Fuss said many students in the program have completed job experiences at two different locations. Additionally, they plan and make their own lunches and participate in community activities like volunteering at the Arboretum and Capitol Theatre and exercising at 24/7. Also, Fuss said each student is developing a resume, with references, that they will use to obtain a competitive wage job when they are finished with the program.
"I am so proud of our students," said Fuss. "They have grown so much since September. Many of them have discovered new interests and strengths that they have and we try and match the students with experiences based on those interests and strengths. The students are also getting to know people in the community through their experiences and in turn, those people are benefitting from knowing our students."