The Special Education Post Senior Community Based Program is one of the many stellar programs offered by the Santa Cruz County Office of Education. The program works with teachers, students and local businesses to create a vibrant, educational, service oriented schedule that provides students with important life skills. Special Education students from throughout the 10 districts in North Santa Cruz County are eligible for this program. Students between the ages of 18 to 22 who have an IEP and have not received a high school diploma are enrolled. The program offers training in independent living, communication, learning, self-sufficiency and employment. Our Work Experience Specialist, Sally Beck, partners with various businesses throughout the county who agree to help our students learn “real world” job skills.
This year, Simone Hooker, one of our post senior students, is working at Chili’s at the Capitola Mall. She has received excellent support and training from her team which includes Anne Spoon, her teacher, Sally Beck, our Work Experience Specialist, Rona Sowash, her Speech Therapist, and Laura Hall her instructional aide. Simone was recognized at the May 19th COE Board meeting for her hard work and the progress she has made this year. Superintendent Michael Watkins introduced Simone to the COE Board and the large audience and presented her with a lovely bouquet of flowers. Sally Beck, Work Experience Specialist, and Anne Spoon, Simone’s teacher, spoke about Simone’s achievements in the Post Senior Program. Sally read the letter that Simone’s managers at Chili’s wrote to her:
You have been such a gift to the Chili’s Capitola Team that we felt it only right to recognize you.
We are so grateful for all the hard work you put in every day you are here. It is with great pleasure that we would like to recognize you as a member of the Chili’s Capitola Team with an official team member shirt. We trust you and know you will wear this shirt respectfully. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to the restaurant. You set such a great example for our team every time you are here.
Roya, David, Katie, Michelle & Andrea (all your Managers)
Rona Sowash, Simone’s Speech Therapist, also presented Simone’s aide, Laura Hall, with a bouquet to thank her for her dedication and contributions to Simone’s success in the program.
The Santa Cruz COE Special Education Department has been successfully administering the Post Senior Program for several years. Simone and all the students who participate receive significant training and preparation for transitioning to life after they graduate from the program. It was wonderful to see Simone getting recognized for all of the skills she has learned and the great job she is doing.