The Haddonfield school district director of special education programs kicked off a March 17 board of education work session with a presentation on a new Transitional Instructional Program for students with disabilities who are 18 to 21.
According to Dr. Carmen Henderson, the plan allows those to continue their education beyond their current Community-Based Instructional Program (offered from 9th to 12th grade) on a college campus setting. The program would be run through the district rather than being outsourced.
The program has not been finalized and there were no actions taken during the meeting, but Henderson’s presentation was meant as an overview of the plan being created. More information will be offered in April
“We are creating a space where there is more value added for our students with disabilities, and they actually have a space to be contributors,” she explained. “Not only for their adult life, but for their education and their vocation that they sought.”
Henderson noted that because other programs cycle students through pre-established job sites, students are missing out on searching for and obtaining employment. So the school district’s Transition Instructional Program (TIP) would encourage students to take the lead.
“From running their own dream team meetings to pursuing their own internships, our learners are given the agency and support they need to pursue their goals for adulthood,” Henderson noted.
Other goals include increasing employment and financial independence; expanding professional and personal networks; increasing community involvement; and helping students graduate close to a fourth grade level in reading, writing and math.
Henderson said program applications for the 2022-’23 school year and the next are underway.
During his report at the meeting, Superintendent Chuck Klaus announced that in upcoming weeks, the district will begin holding charrettes – also known as workshops – with students and staff at all schools regarding Long Range Facility Planning to seek input on the bond referendum.
Meeting dates for community charrettes will be announced at the next board session on March 24.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Gino Priolo provided COVID updates and noted that the county is in green for the first time since September 2020. While the district is no longer doing robust contact tracing or social distancing, it does offer students the option of eating lunch indoors or out. As for the daily COVID-questionnaire, Priolo said that if things continue to go well, it might end around spring break.
He also announced that uninsured claims will not be accepted for COVID testing, and as of April 5, uninsured claims will no longer be accepted for vaccination as set by the federal government. The change does not affect a student’s ability to be tested in school, since testing is run by a different program.
Priolo said the district is working hard to accept students from war-torn Ukraine, five of whom have come to the district in the past few weeks.
The next board meeting is scheduled for March 24 at 7 p.m., at the Haddonfield Memorial High School. Presentations are available at the district website at haddonfieldschools.org.
This article was updated on March 28 to state that the new Transitional Instructional Program will take place on a college setting rather than through district schools.