In-STEPS changing lives in School District 51
By Kathleen Goddeyne
The Individual Student-Centered Transition Employment Program Services (In-STEPS), an extension of D51 education, is receiving praise from parents. The In-STEPS program is a transitional program for School District 51 students ages 18-21 with significant cognitive impairments.
Christine Kisselburgh teaches the program Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The student-centered planning based on strengths, preferences, and interests ensures that every student is a part of the community and has the skills necessary to live a quality life as independently as possible.
Students are supported in their least restrictive environments and learning age-appropriate content with their peers. This program has a large community-based component to promote rigorous lifetime learning, employment skills, friendships, and community inclusion.
Summer Kent, a student in the In-STEPS program, started taking classes because she was finished at Central High School, located at 550 Warrior Way in Grand Junction.
“She [Summer] was 19 and just ready to be done with school, but we knew she could get some kind of services until she was 21,” said Leslie Kent, Summer’s mother. “I started calling the district to find out if there was anything else out there.”
Summer and her classmates are currently learning how to use the Grand Valley Transit, balance checkbooks, make grocery lists and go grocery shopping, cook meals, and job interview skills.
“My daughter has only been in it [In-STEPS] for two weeks and she loves it,” Kent said.
According to Leslie Kent, the program is great for helping the young adults find jobs. An assistant accompanies the student to the business they volunteer for and help them become fully trained in the position in hopes of future employment. Three In-STEPS young adults from last year’s class have already been employed.
“I want to give big kudos to this program. With the budget cuts, we as parents appreciate what the district is doing for the program for these kids,” said Kent.
Several places are still available for the In-STEPS program. For more information, visit cc.mesa.k12.co.us/InStep/index.htm.