Randolph Township Schools Open Transition House
Randolph students in the district's 18-21-year-old program are learning life skills in the district's new Transition House.
The new house, which will enhance the district's life skills program for special needs students ages 18-21, was made possible through a special partnership between the Randolph Board of Education and Randolph Township.
On September 5, more than 75 students, parents, teachers, administrators, Randolph Superintendent Jennifer A. Fano, Special Services Director Walter Curioni, Randolph Board of Education President Ron Conti, Vice President Joe Faranetta and members Anne Standridge, Sheldon Epstein and Chris Treston, Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, Randolph Mayor Mark Forestenhausler, Councilman Jim Loveys, Township Manager Steve Mountain and other district special services staff and township employees enjoyed a ribbon cutting ceremony at the renovated home on Millbrook Avenue.
Superintendent Fano welcomed everyone to the celebration and thanked everyone for their support for this wonderful project which will benefit students in the district's program for years to come. "This opportunity provides room for the program to grow in a space all its own, and also offers the opportunity for additional students who have gone out of district for their education to come back," she said. "This place is amazing! Our staff has worked tirelessly to complete this project and the students have taken part in some of the projects as well. I'd also like to recognize our teachers and staff who will be working there day in and day out. I appreciate your dedication and believe you truly make a difference!"
The students will enjoy gardening, cooking, doing laundry, cleaning, house upkeep and maintenance, paying bills amnd learning how to make a household budget. It will also help prepare them for internships at local businesses.
"The Transition House symbolizes the district’s vision that learning is best achieved when students are provided with authentic experiences in their community," Curioni said. "The initiative, led by Superintendent Fano, is a far cry from the standard 7:30 to 2:30 high school curriculum. The district’s goal is to create independent thinkers who harness their unique talents to procure quality employment."
Transition Coordinator Brianne McBreen welcomed everyone to the event. "The new transition house affords our students an opportunity to learn life skills in an authentic environment," she said. "Simulating daily living activities provides strategies and skills for a successful post secondary experience. The transition house is unique to Randolph as few other programs offer this type of facility. The combination of life skills, community based instruction, and job sampling ensures students are being exposed to the skills necessary to be contributing members of our society."
Students, many of whom planned the ribbon cutting ceremony and barbecue, offered tours of the house. One student worked as a dj and played music as guests arrived. Some helped with the home's renovation while others are already helping in the garden and enjoying learning in the new house. The transition program was previously housed in an area at the high school, which resembled an apartment.
Special Education Teacher Richard Eva said the program is thrilled to have a house for our 18-21 year old students. "It provides endless opportunities for our students, allowing them to become successful independent members of our society," he said. "They will maintain the entire property, inside and out, which will enhance valuable daily living skills that will help them succeed in their future. Students will also have the opportunity to experience various jobs that may lead to paid employment."
The home is ADA compliant and will also offer the opportunity for students who have studied outside of the district to return to Randolph.
Board of Education President Conti said he was very impressed with the new Transition House as well as the district administrators, teachers and aides who support the program. "The transition house provides an amazing opportunity in an authentic learning environment that is available only in Randolph," he said. "A program like this is not available anywhere else in the county. After being presented with the vision of using 565 Millbrook for the transition program, the Board of Education gave it their unanimous and overwhelming support. The town council’s funding for purchasing the building got the ball rolling; and the BoE frequently asked for updates on how the house was progressing."
The transition house could not have happened without the coordination and help from the town council as well as the vision and dedication of Walter Curioni, superintendent Fano and many others, Conti noted. "Seeing the transition house in action makes me proud to be a member of the Randolph community."
Randolph Mayor Forestenhausler said he was proud that the township was able to secure the property in a timely manner so that the school district could open the transition house. "Working together, we have been able to positively impact these young adults lives in a very real way," he said. "I was especially gratified and impressed when one of the young men was able to give me a tour. He took me from room to room and explained the purpose of each. The satisfaction and pride that he felt in this space was very evident in his voice and facial expressions. Thank you so much for all that you do for them."