By Michael Hernandez
THOUSAND OAKS—Dr. Lisa Miller, Conejo Valley Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Student Services touted the Post-Secondary Program offered to 36 students (18-22 years old) in three self-contained classrooms at the Conejo Valley Adult School campus. The Post-Secondary Program provides academic instruction for special education students in transition from high school to adult life who have completed four years of high school and are working towards a Certificate of Completion.
The program curriculum focuses on:
- Independent Living/Self-Help;
- Career Development/Vocational Training;
- Communication/Social Skills;
- Functional Academics; and
The program features “real life experiences” and highlights mobility training (utilization of public transportation), vocational training and independent living training (self-advocacy, meal preparation personal hygiene, money management and social skills).
Currently, the program has nine community partners:
- Cisco’s Mexican Restaurant
- Salvation Army;
- Joann Fabric and Craft Store;
- Pizza Cookery;
- The Alamo Mexican Grill;
- Goebel Adult Community Center;
- Las Flores Community Garden;
- Thousand Oaks Public Library;
- Conejo Therapeutic Recreation and Park District.
The program is completed at the end of a semester when the student turns 22 years of age. Students can then participate in Adult Day Programs; Supported Employment; Full-time Employment; or Community College.
Approximately 11% of CVUSD students are receiving assistance from a wide variety of Special Education programs and services which are uniquely designed to meet the individual needs of each student with disabilities who reside within the district. For more information on the CVUSD Post-Secondary Program contact Erika Johnson, Director of Special Education or Shane Craven, Coordinator of Special Education at: [email protected]. Carole Shelton, a Post-Secondary Program parent, stated that her intellectual disabled child had been given a “pathway to success” and claimed she was the program’s “fiercest supporter.”
Cindy Goldberg, CVUSD Board Vice President, asked district staff to reach out to more companies to support students with “hands on learning” opportunities. Bill Gorback, CVUSD clerk, asked district staff to publicize community partners. While board member Jenny Fitzgerald asked district staff to have school sites share about diploma and certificate pathways at Individualized Education Plan meetings. Board President Betsy Connolly concluded board comments on the Post-Secondary Program by stating that a “point person” was necessary to assist companies to provide “job shadowing” experiences.
Some CVUSD board members reflect on past year events
Jenny Fitzgerald: “I want to thank our first responders who keep our community safe. I also want to thank the schools who changed things around for the kids (because of recent fires). When the request from Thousand Oaks High School came to bring food to the gym (house fire fighters) this is what our community does. I am proud of our community.”
Sandee Everett: “We were greatly traumatized by the shooting at the Borderline. I think about the heroism of young people. I know this is a hard time (the Borderline shooting happened in Thousand Oaks on Nov. 7, 2018). The loss and pain that still goes on for so many. This is a loving community. This is something that will never leave our thoughts as we see reminders especially for the fallen officer and his wife and family.”
Betsy Connolly: “Everything in this town that is great has a story about people that stuck to an idea (comments about the 30th anniversary of the Alex Fiore Teen Center founded in October, 1989 for free “drop-in” recreation). Our city leaders stuck together until the project got completed.”
Supt. Mark McLaughlin: Announced that three CVUSD elementary schools had been selected by California as Distinguished Schools eligible (pending school site application)—the only district with three schools selected in Ventura County. The three school sites: Acacia Magnet School for Enriched Learning; EARTHs Magnet; and Sycamore Canyon.
Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He has worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at Hernandez.M[email protected]