A Day in the Life at Transitions @ Terra Verde
At Transitions @ Terra Verde, we believe successful learning takes place in a supportive environment where teaching is thoughtfully personalized and real-life connections are discovered. Individualized lessons are developed utilizing students’ preferences and strengths, creating avenues of success for all students. Teachers foster students’ independence using experience-based curriculum to teach life, social, communication, and vocational skills, as well as functional academics. Through intentional instruction, students learn to value healthy living, give back to the community, and build relationships with peers. Please explore a typical school day at Transitions @ Terra Verde below:
* Each morning when students arrive, they are greeted by faculty and staff at their on-site living-learning center and classroom to begin Morning Meetings, where students receive life skills training by learning to prepare and clean up meals, manage personal hygiene, fitness, and nutrition. Twice a month, students take part in Family Groups, a multiage group of students from Transitions and Terra Verde.
* Following arrival routines, students engage in supervised on-campus jobs including teacher’s assistant, office assistant, snack sales, recycling, campus beautification, animal care, horticulture, or kitchen prep.
* Direct academic instruction incorporates individual and small group functional academics, which are taught through real-life activities based on students’ ability levels and needs. Varied methods of research-based practices are used, including access to current technology to facilitate communication and life skills instruction (banking, grocery or restaurant ordering, movie showtimes, etc.). Individualized instruction includes math, language arts, science, social studies, and foreign language, with technology integrated throughout the academic curriculum. One-on-one reinforcement of academic skills is based on areas of need.
* For example, students may participate in a collective reading of sales ads from the local market. Activities will be individualized to meet all students’ needs, differentiating the depth of knowledge in comprehension questions, level of expectation in written responses, and math calculation in creating a budget for our next group community trip to the grocery store. Alternatively, a lesson in Spanish may include conversational Spanish for a student who has been learning Spanish for many years, whereas another student will work on basic Spanish (i.e. colors, numbers, nouns).
* Lunch is spent engaging in meaningful conversations and building relationships with students of Terra Verde. Following lunch, students have free time to play games with peers or hang out in a sensory-friendly room.
* Afternoon activities are extracurricular and vocational, focusing on job skills training on and off-site, as well as building students’ leisure repertoire.
* Students have the opportunity to explore vocational interests and learn skills to prepare them for future employment. Community-based instruction (CBI) is an integral component to vocational training, and community trips are made weekly. CBI occurs throughout the community, including the grocery store, library, theater, animal sanctuary, restaurant, and many more locations where students learn a job skill, practice a social skill, and/or involve themselves in a leisure activity.
* Leisure activity options include photography, 2D/3D art, music performance, dance, equine care, sports such as bowling, swimming, or soccer, and much more.
* Social skills and communication are woven into the daily curriculum and activities, so students learn appropriate social skills and how to interact with peers, adults, and community members continuously throughout the school day.
* Once students are eligible and prepared for employment, they are placed in jobs at locations where they will have access to supports and on-the-job training. Students will work for at least one hour daily, earn a competitive wage, and receive paychecks. Partnerships with community businesses are established through service providers (i.e. the Department of Rehabilitation Services) and Transitions @ Terra Verde.
* When the school day is complete, students spend time with their teacher to review the day. One way home-school communication is facilitated is through the use of agendas, where students are taught to be responsible for communicating school needs with their families.