GALLIPOLIS — Special needs students in Gallipolis City Schools soon will have a new program to assist them with their future careers.
David G. Perry, former Assistant Principal at Gallia Academy Middle School, was recently hired as the Career Development Transition Coordinator for the program, and he’s developing the plan. The program is one of only four in the state of Ohio.
With guidance from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and Rehabilitation Services Commission (RSC), Perry will be writing the project details that will aid students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), from age 14 to age 25, thanks to Senate Bill 316. The program will be particular to this area, and will include assistance for students in their choosing a career and in their transition from being students to being employees. This program is the first in the area to assist a student until age 25.
Students will be learning about different careers and how to handle themselves in the workplace. Subjects such as “what are work ethics?” “how to get promoted,” and “is my pay appropriate?” will be covered with the students, as well as many other workplace situations.
While the program is not definitive as yet, Perry noted that he will be exploring ideas that will benefit the students, with an eye toward the community. One possibility he mentioned was the building of a greenhouse, with the students running and operating it. Another idea to be considered is a school store, with students selling items, and stocking and tracking inventory.
Perry will be meeting with representatives of the ODE and RSC on a regular basis to get further guidelines and to submit plans. The ODE and the RSC will be approving the final document.
After the foundation program is approved, Perry said that students will be selected. While the ODE and RSC told Perry that they would be satisfied if there are five or six students in place by the end of January, Perry is working toward getting started sooner. Students with IEPs at Gallia Academy High School and Gallia Academy Middle School, as well as GAHS student at Buckeye Hills Career Center, are eligible to be considered for this pilot program.
“We want kids to be successful, not just now, but for life,” Perry stated.