"The mission of the Southwestern Central School District is to develop student's potential for positive contributions to society as self-sustaining individuals. To accomplish this mission, the administration and staff will be models in the pursuit of excellence and will provide appropriate learning environments which encourage respect for self, others, school, and community."
Since Southwestern is committed to our student's success and to fulfilling this mission, we have developed a creative program to meet the needs of classified students within the high school. Transition services and program planning is mandated by the Federal and State laws under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, also known as the IDEA. The student's transition from a supportive school environment to a world of adult services can be stressful and confusing if plans are not made in preparation for this milestone.
This program is designed to give students an opportunity to explore the world of work through volunteer experiences within the local community. Students gain knowledge and skills in behaviors expected at the workplace such as, following directions from supervisors, interacting with customers, completing given tasks, wearing appropriate dress and displaying attitudes associated with success. Volunteering is a perfect way to ease a student into such situations. While gaining needed experiences, the student also provides a valuable service to the community. They gain a higher level of self-esteem while becoming a productive member of society. They are supervised by a job-coach, who is employed by Southwestern, and learn new skills in an actual workplace setting. At the present time the students have the opportunity to gain work skills and behaviors at the following locations: The Joint Neighborhood Project, Habitat for Humanity, Personal Touch Food Services, St. Susan's Soup Kitchen, WCA Hospital and Family Health Clinic, The Salvation Army, The Post-Journal, the SPCA, Tanglewood Manor/Memory Gardens, The Jamestown Ice Arena and Luv Toyota. Students also have the opportunity to participate in job shadowing in order to investigate various career choices.
One of the participants made a statement upon his return from working at the Salvation Army:
"This was the best day of my life."