As the 2015-2016 school year began, the teachers and staff in the Transition Program set out to create a new pathway that would provide our students with a menu of educational opportunities. Our goals for the year have been to meet the scheduling needs of our students while providing quality curriculum and an interactive and collaborative classroom experience. We began this process by updating our program’s mission statement:
“SVHS Transition Program is dedicated to providing a safe and supportive environment in which we adapt our means of instruction to meet every student’s unique obstacles and bolster every student’s talents. We are committed to assisting each student in finding success that is defined on an individual basis and to guiding them in the development and pursuit of their academic and vocational ambitions.”
In order to achieve the goals in our mission statement, the teachers and staff have poured their time and energy into creating curriculum that is flexible, engaging, wrought with student choice, and adaptable enough to aid students in developing the skills they will find necessary as they move further along their paths toward their individual ambitions.
Perhaps the most significant enhancement to the Transition Program has been the introduction of “Focus Groups” – a new pathway dedicated to providing students with opportunities to develop the 21st Century Skills they will rely on as they move into higher education and into their future vocations. In their Focus Groups, students work in small groups on hands-on projects that deal with relevant, real world issues. Their assignments require them to move beyond the “right or wrong answer” type of responses and synthesize their knowledge, think critically about real-world problems, and through collaboration, arrive at a multi-faceted understanding of the topics being covered.
So far this year, students have explored:
- How our society defines what is fact and what is fiction through research.
- Abstract art, its meaning, influence, and the process of its creation.
- What it means to be “civically engaged” through exploring how to be involved in governmental processes.
- Societal issues that affect our lives through Dystopian Literature.
- Environmental concerns including climate change, deforestation, clean water, and more.
We will be finishing the school year with projects surrounding:
- The importance of making healthy choices.
- An exploration of educational and vocational pathways through the concept of “Ikigai.”
Throughout these projects, students have made significant gains in their abilities to recognize reputable and reliable sources of information, develop well informed perspectives on multi-sided issues, and express their perspectives through a variety of products including essays, digital presentations, zines, art projects, lab reports, and much more.
In the 2015-16 school year, our students have stepped up to the plate in a new learning environment and have excelled in their studies. The Transition teachers have an abundance of success stories about our students this year. Credit earning is at an all-time high and students who have struggled in past academic settings are finding success in our program that they can be proud of.
We are thankful for the opportunity to try new curriculum and various approaches to lesson delivery in our program this year and we are very proud of our students for rising to the new challenges we are presenting them. We are excited for what the future holds, both for our program, as well as for the future of our students’ lives.