The Lake Oswego School Board voted Monday, June 21, to approve an additional year of the Community Transition Program for students who would have aged out in 2021.
The program provides students with intellectual disabilities the tools they need to perform life tasks. It also assists them with job placement and transportation. The 13 students who would have aged out this year were unable to get job placement and transportation assistance during distance learning.
With that in mind, parents of these students pushed for the Lake Oswego School District to extend the program.
Executive Director of Student Services Scott Schinderle told the board Monday that all 13 students' families have met with their Individual Education Plan team to determine the extent of recovery services they will need next school year. He said all but one student will be participating in job placement opportunities.
In a board meeting June 7, Schinderle said the recommendation to extend the program for recovery services was based on input from staff, students and parents.
"Of course we've got unique circumstances due to a global pandemic and some interruption to the educational programing for the past 16 months which was specifically impacting this group for their community job placements and transportation," he said.
Extending the program for these 13 students has its limits, and its costs.
The extension is only available for the 2021-22 school year. Since the program was extended for recovery services, the students are unable to add new goals to their IEP.
To accommodate all 13 students, the program will need additional funding from the district of between $400,000 and $650,000, as well as space to accommodate the extra students and staff.
Schinderle said he is working with Lake Oswego School District Executive Director of Project Management Tony Vandenberg on finding additional space.
At this point it's unclear where the additional funds would come from.
"We will find it and pull it together because I think the community would not accept anything else," board member Kirsten Aird said at the June 7 meeting.
Board members thanked Schinderle for creating a plan for the CTP students who need an additional year.
"I think student representative (Liza) Wadell in our last meeting really pointed back to our strategic plan and our vision and our values. We need to give each and every student what they need to succeed, and I know that's what you're all about," board member John Wallin said at the June 7 meeting.
Schinderle thanked the board for approving the additional year at the June 21 meeting.
"I know that this particular group of students has been impacted pretty significantly, so the team's ability to add additional services or offer continuation has been a big relief," he said. "We're working on some growing pains of additional staff and space but overall it's worked out well and I'm pleased we're able to offer this for the upcoming school year."
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