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Dublin High School Transition Students Celebrate an “End of Mission” at Camp Parks

May 23, 2014

Dublin High School Transition Program End of Mission Celebration at Camp Parks Group PhotoIn April, OneDublin.org shared the story of a chance meeting in a credit union that blossomed into a fully formed program for the students enrolled in the Transition program at Dublin High School. Transition serves students from the ages of 18-22 with developmental disabilities. The program exists to provide ongoing support to young people in the areas of budgeting/banking, vocational training and other life skills. It is not just a “safe haven” for these students. Rather, it represents a continuation in their development as young adults and a platform to expose them new experiences and opportunities as they move to the next stages of their lives.

Under the direction of teacher Bree LeMoine and Major Edward Worthington, the two of them began to craft and refine a bi-weekly visit to Camp Parks that would become a truly meaningful exercise. The officers of the I-363rd Training Support Battalion became immediate partners. Each visit produced a new and interesting experience for the Transition students. They were exposed to the life and responsibilities of being based at a Regional Forces Training Area (RFTA). Some of the activities included filing important personnel documents, maintenance on a Hummer and transporting Meal Ready to Eat (MRE’s). For Ms. LeMoine, the overall experience far exceeded her most modest expectations. So, it should not be a surprise that the 363rd would want to finish off the year with a very special ending. On Monday, the officers hosted a “End of Mission” send off for their honorary soldiers.

Dublin High School Teacher Bree LeMoineOur visit started with an inspection of various vehicles. They included a Parks fire truck, a Humvee and an Army recruiting RV. The students, parents and staff were treated to a slideshow that highlighted activities from the past few months. This was followed by a brief lunch in the conference room. Staying true to timelines, we reconvened to an awards ceremony. Each student was presented with a certificate of completion along with a photograph from the Special Olympics Basketball competition that was conducted earlier in the year. Conversely, the Transition students had the opportunity to present a personal memento to each officer that supported the program. The ceremony ended with one final gift. Two officers delivered a gift wrapped box to the front of the room. In their never-ending mission to support the development of these students, the officers presented a microwave oven to room J-209. All in the room completely the morning with a hearty shout of “Hooah!”

To round out this story, we reached out DUSD Director of Special Education, Angelica Thomas to capture her thoughts on this developing program. For the past +two decades, Ms. Thomas has dedicated her career to supporting students with special needs. After she attained her B.A. in Liberal Studies at California State University, East Bay, she also completed a Multiple Subject and Educational Specialist credentials. After stops in the Oakland and Livermore Joint Unified School Districts, she joined DUSD in 2007. Since 2010, she has served as the Director of Special Education.

OneDublin.org: DHS Transition is a relatively new program. Please explain how this offering has become an asset to DUSD.

Dublin Unified School District Director of Special Education Angelica ThomasAngelica Thomas: “When we were a smaller district, we had only a few students in this age bracket. We had to send them to transition-age programs outside of Dublin. As we have grown, we gained enough students and invested in building our own program and hiring an outstanding transition teacher who shared our vision of making all Dublin students life long learners.

“While we believe in achievement and high expectations for all, achievement does not always translate to four year university for students with disabilities. Some require a specialized plan that allows them to access the community and build life skills that will help them navigate life successfully and work around their disability after they leave our supportive care.

“The transition program is one of several options for students requiring specialized public education services beyond high school. It allows students the opportunity to receive direct explicit instruction and hands-on experience in a variety of job and life skills including banking, cooking, cleaning, and several trade industries.”

OneDublin.org: The relationship between Transition and Camp Parks has really blossomed this year. How has this partnership benefitted the students and the program?

Thomas: “We are privileged to have a military base in our community with leaders who made initial connections with our special education students through our partnership with Special Olympics of Northern California. That experience started what soon became a dynamic partnership between our student who are focusing on life skills and our soldiers who have so much to offer.  This partnership has allowed our students to receive hands-on experience in various aspects real world work on the military base.

“Many of our students see our soldiers as role models and heroes. The students look up to the soldiers and emulate the work ethic and dedication they model for them with each interaction. Our soldiers are equally inspired by our students’ love of life and tenacity as they diligently work to overcome their disabilities.”

OneDublin.org: Help our readers understand the state of services in DUSD for students with special needs from Pre-K to age 22.

Cutting the Cake with a SaberThomas: “The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the nation’s federal special education law that ensures public schools serve the educational needs of students with disabilities. IDEA requires that schools provide special education services to eligible students as outlined in a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). IDEA also provides very specific requirements to guarantee a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment (LRE). FAPE and LRE are the protected rights of every eligible child, across the United States. State and federal law mandate that we seek out and serve children with disabilities who require specialized services to access a free, appropriate, public, education. These students once identified, must receive services from school districts beginning on their third birthday and lasting until they exit the program, graduate, or turn 22 years old.

“Our programs and services range from speech and language therapy for an articulation need to specialized educational settings for the entire school day. Each student has an individualized plan that details his goals and the placement /services that will help him meet those goals.”

OneDublin.org: Anything else that you would like to add?

Thomas: “I couldn’t be more proud of our students, teachers, classified support staff, and community partners who are working together every day to make a brighter future for all of us.”

The developing partnership between a program at DHS and Camp Parks has been nothing short of success. It is amazing to witness what has been accomplished in a few short months. OneDublin.org would like to applaud the efforts of Transition staff: Bree LeMoine, Melissa Smith and Julie Dow. This rapid maturation of the relationship would not have been possible without the efforts of Major Edward Worthington, Battalion Executive Officer. Major Worthington has accepted a voluntary one-year deployment to Iraq in September. Hooah!

 

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3 Comments
  1. Teresa permalink
    May 23, 2014 2:30 pm

    I love camp park and my teacher for everything you do for us ….Hooaha

    • Michael Utsumi permalink
      May 26, 2014 6:52 pm

      Feel the same way, Teresa! Glad that it was a positive experience for you this year.

  2. Heather Soto permalink
    May 28, 2014 2:24 pm

    I like being in the transition class. Mrs Bree you are the best teacher I ever had. I like doing the monthly and weekly budgets on Mondays. Thank you for being the best teacher Miss Bree. I appreciate it.

Comments are closed.