It was a time to celebrate at the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SCJOE) Redwood School on Sept. 26.
Even though the San Joaquin County SELPA’s WorkAbility I program is celebrating 20 years of preparing and placing students with special needs in paid jobs for 20 years, that wasn’t the reason for this celebration.
The day was to celebrate the opening of The Den, a vocational skills training center. With room to have racks of clothes, shelves full of groceries, desks of equipment, and other stations, The Den simulated the stores, offices, restaurants, or warehouse WorkAbility I students might find themselves in the future.
“This provides the opportunity for students to develop skills that are the foundation needed before going out into the community into a paid program,” said Jennifer Barry, a special education teacher who works with students in the program.
More than WorkAbility I students will benefit from The Den. Other students at Redwood use the resources there to build skills that help them live more independently.
The opening of The Den was celebrated by students and staff at Redwood. They were joined by County Superintendent of Schools James Mousalimas, Assistant Superintendent of Special Education/SELPA Kathy Skeels, Special Education Division Director Brandie Brunni, and others.
WorkAbility I students, were there, too. They led the visitors on tours through The Den.
Redwood School is a specialized center, serving students ages 6 to 22. Programs emphasize functional curriculum with an independent living, vocational education and community based instructional delivery system. For the youngest students, motor development and communication skills are also emphasized. A variety of post-secondary vocational education opportunities are offered.