Transition program helps students gain work experience


Leah Niles

Freshman Kevin Mensah and sophomore Frank Castro practice sorting as part of the transition program to help them gain job experience for life after high school.

Sana Khan , News Managing Editor

Watkins Mill High School now offers a program to help students in the Learning for Independence and Autism Resource Services programs figure out a plan for what they want to do with their lives after high school.

Transition teacher Rori Silver wrote a grant through the Montgomery County Public Schools Transition Office. “That grant was in order for us to do job skills here that certificate students and some diploma students volunteer in the community,” Silver said. “Some of them need to learn the skills before they go out in the community.”

There are around 30 students in this program. Any student in the Learning for Independence or Autism Resource Services program has access to it. The majority of students who go out to get jobs are ones in their last year and in the ARS program.

In room E207, there are several teachers educating their students on skills to help them with getting real jobs. “They work at restaurants rolling silverware and doing some food prep,” Silver added. “At Lifetime Fitness, they fold towels in the laundry room.”

“No matter what we do in the community, we try to mimic it so that there’s a room upstairs and we can teach them any of the skills that they need to learn before they go out,” Silver added.

They also have sites in the community created to help the students follow certain steps. “There are different things for them to put together, so each site we have in the community, we have a pet store and a fish tank so they can feed fish here,” Silver said.

This program is done by a whole team of educators: Silver, Casey Burdette, Kerry Krammer (who runs the work program for ARS), Gloria Makosy (who runs the work program for LFI), Lois Parris, Kauri Martin, Paramita Lubis, George Bright, and Theresa Wheeler, who are all LFI and ARS paraeducators who take students out to work.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for these students because a lot of our certificate students are going to need these skills in order to function after high school and go to different adult agencies,” Silver said. “We are building a resume for them, so it’s important they are as independent as possible.”

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