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Community Living and Learning Program Description

Garnet Valley School District
Community Living and Learning Program

To develop a Community Living and Learning program, in an apartment at The Lantern, in order to assist GVHS students with significant cognitive impairments to learn and practice independent living skills in an authentic environment.


The passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) in 1990 and the subsequent reauthorizations in 1997 and 2004, mandates school districts to provide secondary transition services for students with disabilities in order to improve post-school outcomes for these youth. To help meet the requirements for secondary transition, many school districts and/or intermediate units across the country have developed community-based transition programs. These programs are designed to support students with disabilities who are working toward or who have met the requirements for graduation and continue to work on their secondary transition goals.

Secondary transition services can be thought of as a bridge between school programs and the opportunities of adult life. These activities consist of post-secondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), independent living and community participation including recreation and leisure activities. Community-based transition programs are one option for students with significant disabilities to achieve their transition goals.

 One recent study which highlighted the importance of the transition from school to adult life is the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2). The 10-year NLTS2 study data indicated the importance of better preparing students for transition (2011).

Grigal, Neubert, and Moon, (2002) identify specific program goals for community-based- transition programs which may include one or more of the following objectives:

  • Obtaining employment in a full or part-time paid position in the community
  • Participating in college classes
  • Increasing mobility in the community
  • Engaging the support of adult service agencies
  • Improving social and communication skills
  • Improving self determination skills
  • Developing friendships with other people of similar ages
  • Developing age-appropriate leisure and recreation pursuits

Community-based transition programs, such as Community Living and Learning, address these goals by providing hands-on, real-life experiences and training in the home and community. Students develop independent living skills, social skills, problem–solving skills, decision–making skills and learn to make use of available community resources. The community provides experiences that can not be delivered at school. An authentic living environment provides a setting in which students can learn skills that they will need outside of the school setting.

Target population:

GVHS students age 14 – 21, as identified through transition goals and objectives on their Individual Education Plans (approximately 33 students).  Students will spend 1-3 days at the site, per their IEPs.

Proposed Site:

The Lantern, apartment 1602


The site will house the Transition Support teacher and job coaches. Current high school teachers/staff will rotate days at the site. GVSD teachers and staff will be invited to participate on an itinerant basis to offer training.

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