Through the Department of Rehabilitation, the Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD) runs a summer Transition Partnership Program (TPP), through which special education students go out and work in the community.
This year, 23 students, ages 16-18, were involved with TPP.
The program started on July 8 and officially wrapped up on July 26.
MUSD’s Vocational Specialist Annette Rodarte, along with her staff of three, spent the last few weeks facilitating the program, and even worked to train students in soft skills like communication, professionalism, and teamwork.
The students in the program were divided into two groups — Group A and Group B.
In the beginning, Group A students, whose disabilities were less severe, were taught how to use the bus. They received a bus pass and also work clothes, paid for by the TPP.
Working from Monday to Friday at places like Big Al’s, Walgreens, Kaman’s Art, Poke Supreme, Grocery Outlet, and the City of San Jose, Group A students received work experience that challenged and evolved them.
Students were also evaluated by both employers and staff, and even completed their own self-evaluations.
"There was a handful of students who were offered permanent positions,” said Rodarte. “Also, employers commented that our students had great work ethic, even better than some of their regular employees.” Rodarte has worked in her field for 27 years. She first started out at the Eastside Union High School district, where she was for a total of 17 years. For the past decade, she’s been with MUSD.
“I love what I do,” said Rodarte.
Group B’s students had more severe disabilities and required 100% job coaching. A staff member made sure to be present during the students’ work experience, to support them with whatever they needed. B students love repetition, are very dependable, and like schedules. Since Goodwill is great when it comes to training and working with disabled individuals, it offered a terrific learning space for Group B students to get acclimated to working. Along with Goodwill, Group B students worked at Bounce-a-Rama, Walgreens, and Kaman Arts.
Group B students received no training on using public transportation, as staff actually drove them to their places of employment. This was the first year the program allowed for Group B students to participate — six of them in total.
During the regular school year, Rodarte and her team, which consists of two job developers and one transition assistant, continue to carry out their work, training students across various workshops. In general, they work with students from the 9th grade all the way up to 22 years of age, supporting them in things like self-advocacy skills and interviewing, and even taking them on field trips to places like community colleges. “And in the end, we do a career fair to wrap everything up,” said Rodarte. “The students introduce themselves and practice what they’ve learned.”
Workability, a grant offered through a state program, is a support service, highlighting areas such as work-based learning, work preparation, and collaboration. The TTP program is one of the programs that receives support from Workability.
"I always love a challenge,” said Rodarte. “And I know that these students, they can work. It’s just figuring out how to break down the tasks for them. And also, how to inform our community about them, so that they give them a chance and let them try.”
At MUSD, we’re focused on providing opportunities to engage students in ways that will grow them socially, emotionally, and academically. We’re proud to embrace programs that support our special education students in reaching their fullest potential.
Summer has been zipping by, and during these past several weeks, we’ve kicked off a series of bond projects across various school sites in the Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD).
Projects started getting underway on June 10, just one day after students finished up the 2018-2019 school year. Since then, a collaborative group effort has been in motion to bring our painting, roofing, and paving projects to completion. We’re in the homestretch now, as we push to have all projects finished before school’s back in session on August 15.
"We’re excited with the beginning of this bond through these kickoff projects. It’s the beginning of working to repair and improve the quality and conditions of our schools,” said MUSD’s Director of Maintenance, Operations, and Transportation Brian Shreve, who has been helping oversee the modernization plans along with the Bond department.
We’ve come a long way in such a short period of time. Since the school district wanted to ensure that students’ safety, health, and wellbeing were prioritized, and that there were no distractions cutting into school time, we opted to start and complete these projects during the summer. And though we’re not quite finished yet, we wanted to show the community how the bond money approved last November is already making an impact.
“We are eternally grateful to our Milpitas community for saying YES to our students and MUSD team members when they approved Measure AA last November. Visit MHS and see what a difference fresh paint makes in creating a welcoming learning environment that says, 'We Care!'” said MUSD Superintendent Cheryl Jordan.
Here’s what we’ve accomplished so far:
Sites: Milpitas High School (MHS), Pomeroy, Burnett, Curtner, and the Maintenance, Operations, and Transportation (MOT) Corporation Yard (which is located behind Russell Middle School)
All painting projects are nearing completion, and headed toward a final review process.
Sites: Pomeroy, Russell, Rose, Sinnott, and MOT Corporation Yard
Asphalt replacement has been completed at most sites, with striping to follow.
Sites: MHS, Russell, and Pomeroy
Across these three sites, portions of the roofs are being done. Currently, these sites are all in different phases, yet are on track for completion before school begins.
HVAC and Galvanized Piping Replacement
Spangler is the only school site this year where the Heating and Air Conditioning units, along with Galvanized Piping, are being replaced. HVAC units are nearing completion and the Galvanized Piping is in progress.
Next up: We’re deep in the final design stages of Phase 2 for Mabel Mattos Elementary School, and also finalizing the designs for the modernization of Randall Elementary School.
Also underway: We’ve been reviewing and finalizing design work for MHS and the second high school campus.
We are thrilled about all the progress and improvements across our school sites to date, and we know that all the work being done will only serve to enhance our ongoing commitment to education and supporting students’ success.
More updates will be forthcoming throughout the process!
This summer has opened up a wealth of opportunities for so many of our MUSD students...
Starting in mid-June, a group of 6th-8th graders became deeply immersed in the world of microbits, algorithms, and variables.
These students devoted 4 hours a day, from Monday to Thursday, to a summer Computer Science class at Cal Hills High School.
Led by an initiative through the Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF), the course was a Pilot Program, which ran throughout Santa Clara County.
“We have 10 classes, and this is one of them,” said Rosemary Kamei, Vice President of Innovation for SVEF. “We hope this is something that will grow in the future. We’ve partnered with schools like Milpitas, Alum Rock, Oak Grove, Franklin Mckinley, and Orchard School…”
Just a week and a half before the 2018-2019 school year ended, MUSD put out the call to middle school students about the Computer Science class starting on June 17.
“And within 2 hours, it was full,” said Greg Barnes, MUSD’s Director of Secondary Education. Barnes had been overseeing many programs throughout the summer, and offering logistical support.
One hundred and 50 students applied for the course, but spots for only 20 were available.
And right from the beginning, the accepted students hit the ground running...
They started out the course by creating Micro Pets. Initially, they interviewed a partner to find out what that person wanted in a pet. Then they took that information and used coding to create the pet their partner had described. Each day, they added more functionality to the result.
At the end of the course, they broke up into groups and created a final project to showcase all they’ve learned over the past month.
Each project incorporated 3 microbits — square devices that act as tiny computers. The students learned how to code these devices, using chromebooks. In doing so, they were able to create all kinds of fun, stimulating projects, like alarms, a golf course obstacle course, and even a dancing inchworm!
“I'm thrilled that we were able to partner with SVEF in providing our students with this computer science experience!” said Superintendent Cheryl Jordan. “At its meeting on May 28, 2019, the Board passed our Resolution to implement CA K-12 Computer Science Standards, and this is one example of our action steps in this initiative.”
Joy Brawn, who had been teaching the course, said she was thrilled about how things had gone over the past several weeks: “I’ve really loved it,” said Brawn. “It was an awesome class.” Brawn is a teacher at Westmont High School for the Campbell Union High School District, where she teaches Biology.
All the students had nothing but positive things to say about their time in the program. Many of them expressed how fun it was to learn how to make things they once never knew were possible for them to create.
The Computer Science course aligns to state and national standards for Computer Science. All the students who took part in this summer program have gained exposure to an educational pathway that simply wasn’t there before. An opportunity like this has the potential to awaken and deepen students’ passion for learning while propelling them toward inspired future careers.
MUSD is grateful to have been a part of this process, and extends a big thank you to the Silicon Valley Education Foundation for their partnership and support in helping to make this happen.