Lake Zurich High School Student Media

Bear Facts

Lake Zurich High School Student Media

Bear Facts

Lake Zurich High School Student Media

Bear Facts

Transition program moves forward

Photo by and used with the permission of Lauren McArdle
Students, staff, pose in front of new Young Adult Center for students with IEP’s aged 18-22 who elect to stay on for transition services. The 25 students and staff in the program moved into the three-story building on March 6.

Transition program for 18-22 year olds with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) moves to the new Young Adult Center. Transition services were previously offered in the high school, but starting March 4, the 17 transition students currently in the program will get a new home for their program.

After a year and a half of construction on the building that used to be the District 95 office, the ribbon cutting on the refurbished building was held on February 9. The space was completely remodeled according to Lauren McArdle, assistant superintendent for student services.

“Nothing really looks the same. When we redid it, we had to bring it up to code,” McArdle said. “They have even expanded the green space around it. Nobody who had seen it before the construction will recognize it, but in a good way.”

This Young Adult Center comes as a welcome departure from the two classrooms in the high school the transition program was previously housed in. The students and staff of the program are excited for their move to the new building, though Charlie Sims, fourth year transition student, has some worries about the change.

“I’m gonna be missed at [the high school] but hopefully I can come and visit,” Sims said. “I’m excited about [the new building] […] it will be nicer than what we have [at the high school].”
The decision to create this center came from unanimous votes from the Board of Education and the Village Board. Lake Zurich was one of the only districts in the area without a building for their transition program, according to McArdle.

“I think the more we educated people on what the purpose of providing these services is, people totally understood why it was necessary to look at something different. We really want to make sure that all of our learners in district 95 are [learning] as best they can [and] that looks different for this particular group,” McArdle said.

The transition program focuses on “employment, daily living and leisure opportunities for students with more moderate to severe disabilities,” according to Brittany Yates, one of two transition program teachers. The new building has a model bed, a workout area, a kitchen, and classrooms to allow the students to work on these skills.

Illinois law states that students with disabilities are entitled to a public education and that they may continue to receive transition services until they are 22 years old. Any student who meets the criteria for special education and receives an Individualized Education Plan has access to services such as job exploration, counseling, work-based learning experiences and instruction in self-advocacy. Students who stay on for transition services can graduate at any point from 18 to 22 years old.

“It’s going to affect the program in a very positive way. Our students [will be] able to walk into the building without staff. [At the high school] we met them at the door and usher them into the classroom and make sure we’re not interrupting anybody else’s learning,” Yates said. “Being able to have their own space is huge, they get to walk into the building and know they’re safe. It increases their independence; they walk in and know [what] is available [and] what [they will] do.”

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About the Contributor
Emma Harper
Emma Harper, Magazine Editor-in-Chief
For her third and final year on the Bear Facts staff, Emma will be serving as Magazine Editor-in-Chief for the first time. After high school, Emma hopes to major in journalism and pursue a career in the field. When she’s not frantically writing or editing articles, Emma enjoys singing in her two choirs, participating in drama club, and volunteering with NHS and Tri-M. Outside of school, she loves reading fantasy novels and sewing.   

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