GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.-
Students in the Grand Valley have been back in school for nearly a month now. However, in this short time, students from the program In-STEPS have already learned skills that will help them become more independent.
From learning how to grocery shop and budget money, to discovering how to ride the GVT, the group of young adults with special needs is learning life-long skills through the help of hands-on lessons.
"This program is more student driving than others,” said Christine Kisselburgh, teacher at In-STEPS. “The young adults actually drive what we learn and what we do in the community."
The program, which is a part of School District 51’s Career Center, consists of 11 students and is currently in its second year.
The newness of the class, however, doesn’t seem to be slowing down the learning process.
“Through elementary school and middle school, they were learning skills and when they get to this age, we finally get to see all the results, all the hard work the teachers have done,” said Kisselburgh.
Kisselburgh says the students then take into practice what was learned in the classroom, and make sure they can apply it to a community setting.
“We’re really seeing them become independent adults in the community, who are contributing citizens and that's amazing,” said Kisselburgh.
For the parents of 19-year-old student Summer Kent, this program is a dream come true.
“It really is an exciting thing because eventually she will be independent,” said Leslie Kent. “She’s learning to trust others besides Mom and Dad.”
When the program didn’t exist, the students, who range from 18 to 21, were walking the halls with young teenagers, making for a difficult learning environment.
However, now these young adults are able to learn in a more professional and appropriate setting, one that officials say even generates money for the district because the students would have left the area if it didn’t exist.
For more information on the program, click here.