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A Road Towards Independence
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Did you know that your local library can help you find an apartment, file tax returns, even find a job? The Saratoga Public Library wanted Exceptional Learners to know that their services go beyond finding a good book. A wealth of information is available with just a library card and librarians are ready to help. They, along with AIM Services, Saratoga Bridges and Community, CWI spoke recently about the supports and services that are available to students after high school.
It was all part of Transition Day, organized by the School to Work program on May 7.
Teacher Debbie Beaulieu said she wanted to inform students of their options so they could self-advocate for what they want after graduation. “The number one thing parents ask at CSE meetings is - What is our next step? What is available to us?”
“This is a step towards learning what is out there,” added Beaulieu. “My hope is that kids will go home and tell their parents about what they learned.”
Beaulieu says she will go over all of the topics the speakers covered again class so the students become more prepared for the next phase in their lives.
Transition Day was the first such event at the F. Donald Myers Education Center. Organizers hope to grow it each year and have more information available from service providers.
Jodi Facteau-St. Gelais, a transition coordinator at WSWHE BOCES says, “we understand districts are working on the education piece and parents are busy with work and family life. So, we felt it was important to start educating the students on transition options, well ahead of graduation.”
Several students will graduate this June, but many still have a few years before they complete the program. The sooner they learn about the services and begin to understand how to get them, the more comfortable they will be when they have to make that move.
Continuing the theme, on May 15, students learned about public transportation options from Capital District Transit Authority (CDTA) Travel Trainer Onicela Cedeno, who came to the F. Donald Myers Education Center, along with a transportation supervisor and a bus driver. They brought a CDTA bus and talked about how they help customers:
Cedeno told the students about CDTA’s NAVIGATOR, a new smart card that makes paying for bus fares a lot easier and is cheaper than paying the cash fare. She also pointed out that students could possibly qualify for Half Fare discounts and offered to return to help get them signed up.
Cedeno said there may also be options for customers who do not live directly on a bus route to still get service.
Students noticed that the bus was not the traditional blue that they are used to seeing. That is because the bus they saw was a new state of the art BusPlus which provides express service from Albany to Schenectady and features complimentary Wifi, which was particularly exciting for the students.
Cedeno told the students about different attractions in Albany, Schenectady and Saratoga, such as the New York State Museum, the Art Institute, Proctors Theater. “There are so many things going on in the different counties. You don’t have to limit yourself just because you do not have a vehicle or you don’t drive.”
Understanding all of these opportunities will assist students to more fully participate in their communities and be productive adults.
Service providers tell students about the services they offer.
CDTA Travel Trainer Onicela Cedeno gives students information about riding on a city bus.
School to Work students learn about city buses.