MEET TRANSITIONS STUDENTS
Chantelle transferred to Transitions from Winston Prep NY in the 12th grade. Collectively it was determined that the approach and design of Transitions would afford her opportunities to explore her true creative nature and talents, while also providing a smaller learning environment that could address her academic needs in a more significant way. Chantelle’s struggles with Dyslexia and expressive and receptive language made learning slow and labored, but with the deep individualization and understanding through the use of Winston’s Continuous Feedback Process, she was able to fully tap into her strengths and gifts as an artist and problem solver to begin to build a foundation for success. It was identified early on in her first year that Chantelle needed to build confidence. To do so, her Focus Teacher guided her in the process of taking her artwork to the next level by helping Chantelle launch her very own Etsy page, providing her the opportunity to explore the world of an entrepreneur. Quickly, the self-design and production of her very own business cards followed, and the day they arrived in the mail was unforgettable. Chantelle’s internship experience over her two years at Transitions at Shalom International, an importer, and distributor of women’s, children’s, infant’s fashion jewelry and hair accessories, and general merchandise gave her the insight into not only the production and distribution side but also the design of such products. She engaged in many projects while she was there, but most notably, she designed an original gift bag for Transitions’ graduations (generously donated by Shalom) as well as a gift bag that hit the shelves of Burlington in 2019. Chantelle went through a rigorous editing process, having to go back to the “drawing board” numerous times leading her to develop a new understanding of the importance of feedback and what to do with it. The resilience that she demonstrated was impressive, and her willingness to look at her own work through a critical lens is a skill that she now has that is imperative to her life and success as an artist both personally and professionally. Chantelle’s deep connection with the community at Transitions developed through her desire to share her creativity and to help others connect to the creative process by taking on a leadership role in the development of the program’s first Art Show. She drafted a proposal, managed a budget, designed a theme, and enrolled a team of students and teachers to support her vision. It was an event to remember! The culmination of her experience was her acceptance to Pratt Institute’s Illustration Program where she is continuing to thrive and grow.
Lilly’s journey at Transitions was unique. She joined us after many years spent living in Hong Kong with her family. While there, her family was able to provide her with a tailored educational experience but was not confident that they would be able to do the same here. Acclimation back to the states for Lilly was also very important. After connecting with Winston Transitions through an acquaintance who had a child at our Norwalk, CT campus, Lilly’s parents were encouraged by what we could potentially provide through true individualization, our ability to focus on the greatest area of need for their daughter, and a very comprehensive exploration into what her future could look like as an adult. Given Lilly’s learning profile and social-emotional needs, there were many question marks. Was college going to be the right next step? What would employment look like? How could she build and maintain healthy relationships and have a happy productive life? Lilly and her family took full advantage of the Transitions experience. During her four years in our program, Lilly took four college courses through our partnership and Dual Enrollment Program with Landmark College, participated in three internships providing her with a full immersion into the world of employment and employability skills, such as professional work ethic, appropriate communication and advocacy skills, and taking the initiative to anticipate needs to complete job tasks. Lilly’s final internship at Concordia College assisting an elementary school music program resulted in employment post Transitions . Given her love of music and her talent as a singer, coupled with her newly developed skillset and abilities, it was a perfect fit. Although Lilly has found success, she participates in Transitions’ Support Program for Alumni to aid in her continued growth and goal setting for her future in a much more independent way. Lilly is living life as a more fully actualized adult and is thriving.
Jonathan joined Transitions after attending another local private school for students with learning differences. Historically, in more traditional learning environments, Jonathan’s difficulties with receptive and expressive language made his day-to-day learning challenging. The goal upon starting Transitions was to provide Jonathan with as many opportunities to develop stronger advocacy skills, break down goals, prioritize assignments and tasks, and express his thoughts in a more effective way, all designed to lead to greater independence. What was quickly discovered about Jonathan was that he is an extremely patient and empathetic young man with an incredible work ethic. Jonathan almost immediately fit very comfortably into the community at Transitions and quickly proved to be a source of support for the other students. Capitalizing on his strengths, but also paying close attention to areas of need, we set out on a process of exploration into what was going to make the most sense for Jonathan moving forward in his life. During his two years in the program, Jonathan had two internships–one at a commercial real estate law firm Cassin & Cassin LLC and the other at Imagine Academy for individuals with pervasive autism. It was clear based on his performance that Jonathan was very adaptable in workplace environments. At the law firm, he was responsible for organizing mailings, scanning documents, supporting the paralegal team, and general upkeep of work stations. This proved to be a great lesson in problem-solving and organization, as well as developing stronger communication skills and ultimately success. The following year working with individuals with pervasive autism at Imagine Academy is where Jonathan really shined. His natural empathy, calm demeanor, and capacity to be resilient under pressure proved essential to the work he was asked to do. This particular experience, coupled with his exposure to college level coursework through our partnership and Dual Enrollment program with Landmark College, and the skills associated with navigating the demands of that workload, all paved the way for what is currently a real success story. Jonathan is enrolled in Guttman Community College in New York City and still working at Imagine Academy, continuing to support the needs of their clients.
When Jessica began her time in the Winston Transitions program she had lingering difficulties with reading comprehension and processing information. Jessica and her family were unsure of what the next best step for her was after high school. When it came down to it, Jessica needed more time. Jessica’s Transitions program centered around continuing to strengthen her academic skills and self-confidence, while providing a variety of opportunities to discover what the next best step was for her. Initially, Jessica felt as though college was the next best step, but soon after she began taking a Landmark College WPS supported online course, she realized that her struggles with the comprehension may prove too great for a college curriculum. As Jessica began her second semester in the Transitions program the emphasis on increasing academic readiness continued; however, an additional emphasis was placed on preparing Jessica for a career. Through many discussions, feedback sessions and goal setting activities it became clear to Jessica that she truly enjoys helping others and was drawn to the health care profession. As such, she began the second year interning at Lenox Hill Hospital in the pre- and post- surgery department wherein she worked closely with the nursing staff and more importantly the patients. She was provided opportunities to work with the organizational side of a hospital, by keeping track of patient binders and filing, but she also was able to do more hands-on tasks, such as taking people’s blood pressure and completing pre- surgery interviews. Based on significant progress in her academic skills and internship experience, Jessica is now preparing to enter an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification course in the fall and will be working at a day camp for the summer.
Jarred spent the majority of his high school career increasing his problem solving, comprehension and expressive language skills. As he neared the conclusion of his high school career it was evident that his continued struggles with executive functioning directly impacted his ability to consistently apply acquired skills, remain goal oriented, self-regulate and respond to stimuli in a strategic and flexible manner. As a result, Jarred and his family were unsure of what the next step for him after high school should be. When he first joined Transitions, an immediate individualized and targeted program was put in place to provide Jarred with strategies to help him make strategic, flexible and appropriate decisions and manage impulsive reactions while strengthening academic areas of difficulty and work readiness skills. While much of this strategy instruction was targeted in the classroom, the key to Jarred’s success was the hands-on experience he gained through the internship prong of his Transitions program. Finding the right internship for Jarred was crucial to the process. His first year he was placed at Scratch DJ Academy, based on his social skills strengths and DJ enthusiasm. His time at Scratch DJ Academy strengthened his work readiness skills, while providing the opportunity to generalize and internalize the strategies he was learning to better self-regulate and remain goal-directed. In his second year of Transitions, Jarred’s internship placement was selected to link his talents and love of athletics to a real-world job experience. His internship at Studio 360, a spin and yoga studio in New York City, opened Jarred’s eyes to a whole new world of possibilities for a career in physical fitness. As Jarred concluded his time in the Transition program, he left with a deeper understanding of himself, a more developed ability to make strategic, flexible and appropriate decisions, and self-regulate his attention and reactions. As important, Jarred left the Transitions program with a clear goal to receive his certificate as a personal trainer and a permanent job with Studio 360.