As is the case at any school, our focus is helping each student toward their next transition. For some students that means preparing them for a continued academic journey, for others it is developing vocational skills for entering the work force, and for all students its cultivating daily living skills to maximize independence. Each Oak Hill student is on a different path, and our program is responsive to the unique needs of each student and his or her family. As part of the IEP process, an Individualized Transition Plan is developed for each student over age 16. We work with families to access resources and make plans for the practicalities of aging out of the school system.
Features of our transition programming include:
Meaningful Academics and Self-Advocacy
Students who plan to continue their academic journey beyond Oak Hill engage in course work that meets the requirements for their next stage. Working with their support network, they develop strategies for maintaining optimal arousal levels for learning, negotiating complex peer relationships, and managing distracting sensory input. They learn about the nature of their learning differences and how to advocate for themselves effectively. These students consider possible career paths and connect their current program with the requirements of each path.
Functional Skills and Activities of Daily Living
All students at Oak Hill work to develop skills that enhance their level of independence. They learn about hygiene and self-care, personal safety in the community, time management, how to navigate public transit, and how to take care of their personal items. Students learn about healthy lifestyles and how to prepare simple, healthy meals for themselves. Consumer math and functional reading are learned in the classroom and generalized in the community.
Prevocational skills are developed in each classroom as students participate in classroom jobs such as gardening, cleaning and classroom maintenance. Student-run businesses operate regularly at our school. These have included a tea shoppe, a car wash, a coffee and pastry shop, a turkey burger stand, a birdhouse sale, and an art gallery at a recent fundraiser. One former student translated his work at Oak Hill into an online business (www.ARTabas.com).
Oak Hill has partnerships with local businesses and organizations that offer supported job placement. We’ve had students enjoy retail and service positions in line with their individual passions and interests. We have had students placed at the pet store down the hill from our campus and Swirl Yogurt in the same shopping center. One student has a regular shift at Woodlands Market in Ross and another works the Friday lunch shift at Jackson Café in San Rafael. A group of students spend one morning per week volunteering at the Marin Food Bank. Our relationship with Fresh Start Culinary Academy has made it possible for a student with a passion for cooking to dedicate a portion of each day learning to cook and working towards certification as a safe restaurant kitchen worker.
A healthy lifestyle includes engaging and enjoyable recreation activities, and part of helping students prepare for adulthood means helping them identify enjoyable ways to spend their free time. We help our students explore different hobbies such as listening to music, dancing, collecting, arts and crafts, cooking, photography and reading about topics of interest.
We support parents through the daunting process of planning for the care of their adult children by connecting them to resources, offering workshops, and collaborating with organizations that support adults with disabilities. Issues such as housing, conservatorship, and continued access to services are important parts of the Oak Hill approach to planning for transition.