The Woodridge Local School District is one of several districts partnering with the Summit County Board of Developmental Disabilities, known as Summit DD, to support students with special needs as they transition from school into adulthood. This initiative is being funded by local tax dollars that Summit DD set aside in 2017 specifically to create and foster innovative programs.

"I am so excited to partner with the Summit DD to provide this opportunity for students," said Valerie Riedthaler, director of pupil services for Woodridge Local Schools. "Our middle and high school students with disabilities will now have access to a number of different areas of transition, such as career exploration and local authentic work experiences."

The program, called the Transition Services for Youth pilot program, will help young adults with developmental disabilities prepare for the professional world after graduation. Students from age 14 to 22 will be able to participate in community-based career exploration activities, including workplace tours, internships, job coaching and volunteer opportunities.

The program is currently scheduled to run until the end of 2018. Throughout the pilot, Summit DD Service and Support Administrators (SSAs), private providers and school faculty members will help guide students through a discovery process to determine their individual goals. By fostering individualized goals for these students and ensuring quality services that meet their needs, Woodridge Local Schools and Summit DD will make the district a stronger and more inclusive place.

"We are very pleased to be able to better help those students who need specialized support," said Superintendent Walter Davis. "It is our priority as a district to ensure the success of every student, and with the partnership of Summit DD, we will be able to increase the level of support available to them."