The Role of Transition at The Bridge School
The Bridge School is not designed to be a permanent placement for any student. Central to the design of The Bridge School educational program is the goal to return students to their home school district with documented multi-modal strategies and systems for communication in place as well as documented strategies for academic and social participation.
Through its Transition services, The Bridge School continues to provide long-term support to students who have graduated from our program and have returned to their home school districts. Planning for each student's eventual return to his/her home school environment takes place from the very first Bridge School IEP meeting. Families and staff work together to identify a set of future educational directions for each student. Potential future educational environments are considered throughout the time a student is in our program.
In addition, a portfolio is developed for each student. This is a tool developed specifically to foster successful transitions of students who use AAC across educational settings. The portfolio contains a collection of educational documentation and video examples depicting effective, individualized teaching strategies in the areas of literacy, math, general knowledge and language development; effective communication modes, methods and strategies; recent work samples; assistive technology equipment information and resources.
As the student develops his/her communication skills within The Bridge School environment, work also moves forward in the area of Transition. When the IEP team determines that a student is ready for transition, The Bridge School collaborates with the family and the student's home school district to cooperatively plan for the transition. While at The Bridge School, each student spends a percentage of his or her day in a general education classroom environment. Our partnership with the Hillsborough City School District gives each Bridge School student the opportunity to participate in a classroom at North Elementary School and Crocker Middle School. The general education curriculum is modified to meet the specific needs of the students. Modifications may include alternate forms of testing, extra class time to complete assignments, reading materials aloud to students or adjusting the goals and objectives of assignments. Participation is enhanced by building routines, layering communication strategies, and modeling support strategies for peers and staff.
Prior to leaving The Bridge School, Transition Team members work with the student's team to:
- consider potential placements
- document effective strategies used at The Bridge School
- identify appropriate expectations for academic and social participation
- provide guidance to staff and families to navigate the transition process
Upon transitioning, many former Bridge School students experience success in the general education environment with support, appropriate modifications, and the aid of instructional assistants. However, for a small number of students, an alternate program placement is still most appropriate. In all school districts, a continuum of services must be available. The Bridge School Transition Team is available to work with former students and their educational teams, regardless of choice of placement.
After graduation, the Transition Team supports students and their receiving educational teams by:
- providing suggestions for adaptation and modification
- helping with the set-up of adapted materials and equipment
- training staff in the unique AAC and educational strategies developed and implemented at The Bridge School
- maintaining an active role in the educational team process
The services of the Transition Team are available, at no cost to the parent or the school district, to provide support as needed for the duration of the child's public school education with the home school district.