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Granby B.E.A.R. (Bringing Emerging Adults Resources) Transition Academy set to begin in the fall at the YMCA

Proposal of Post-Secondary Transition Program

At the Jan. 4 meeting of the Board of Education, Angela Ehrenwerth, director of pupil personnel Services, presented a post-secondary transition program for 18 to 22-year-old students for the 2023-2024 school year to be held at the Farmington Valley YMCA. The program is only for students in that age group who are entitled to receive services. The goal is for the Board to vote on this program at its Jan. 18 meeting. Dr. Grossman explained that this program was part of the strategic plan and an initiative for the Special Education Department. Ehrenwerth provided an overview of post-secondary transition programming that would meet the individual needs of a specific student population with significant special education needs after high school until the age of 22. The district is legally required to provide this programming to eligible students. Currently, referrals are made to neighboring programs, such as the Farmington Valley Transition Academy and The Rise Academy in Windsor Locks. This programming will provide greater continuity from high school to post-secondary transition programming.

Staffing, which would consist of an administrator, director of pupil personnel services, coordinator (special education teacher), and 2–3 job coaches. The program provides students with a local comprehensive transition program, and develops partnerships with community business and adult-service agencies, broken down as follows: Independent Living (20 percent); Community Participation (40 percent); and Employment/College (40 percent). Students will potentially attend this program for 3-4 years and benefit from potential community and employment partnerships with CT Adult Service Agencies; the YMCA; Top Drawer Consignment Shop; Lox, Stock and Bagels; Geissler’s Supermarket and Asnuntuck Community College.

The Granby program would have approximately 10-12 students. Enrollment is projected out five years.

Monica Logan inquired if this program would be open to students from other towns, and Rosemarie Weber asked if the Board had determined the difference in cost between the proposed program and the previous one. Grossman does not anticipate this program will cost any more than it currently does to send students out-of-district.

Approval of Post-Secondary Transition Program

At the Jan. 18 meeting the BOE continued to discuss and consider approval of the Post-Secondary Transition Program for 18- to-22-year-old students beginning in the 2023-2024 school year. Grossman reminded everyone that a proposal was presented at the last meeting for a transition program that would align with our goals to bring Granby students back into district. Inclusion in such a program would be dependent on a students IEP and would be offered as a choice. Grossman stated the YMCA is excited to have Granby Public Schools as a partner. The sole purpose for this program is for students to stay within a familiar community and if it happens to save money, that is a great thing as well.

He shared the current FY23 cost of $263K with next year projected to be $391K if students remain out-of-district; if a program is brought in-district, the cost would be approximately $264K, a savings of $130K. This projection is based on five students; however, it can be up to eight students and upwards from there if students from other towns are allowed to attend. Weber said, based on the numbers, the subcommittee was impressed.

David Peling inquired if students must attend this program and Grossman stated Planning and Placement Team discussions need to occur and when a transition plan is put in place, GPS can state that this is the recommended program. Grossman said the program would begin on Sept. 1, 2023. Kristina Gilton inquired when the program ends if a student turns 22 in December—mid-year. Director of Pupil Personnel Services Angela Ehrenwerth said the student finishes their public education a day before their 22nd birthday.

A motion was made by David Peling and seconded by Monica Logan that the Granby Board of Education approve the Post-Secondary Transition Program for 18- to 22-year-old students to begin in the 2023-2024 school year. This motion passed unanimously.