Lucerne Valley High School special education teacher Jessica Haecker was named the Outstanding Teacher of the Year for the Desert/Mountain Special Education Local Plan Area’s (SELPA) Transition Partnership Program (TPP) at its beginning of the year meeting on September 29.
All TPP technicians, teachers and Department of Rehabilitation representatives were present at the meeting. Ms. Haecker has worked with the TPP since she started as a Lucerne Valley High School teacher in 2011. Prior to her coming to the school, involvement with the TPP program was limited.
The TPP is a SELPA program that works with the state Department of Rehabilitation. The program has several technicians employed by SELPA who coordinate workshops for students and paid work experience. The region’s TPP technician Shannon Sweda visits school sites and conducts 10 workshops with the school’s juniors and seniors who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
The workshops cover a wide range of workplace skills from job application completion, mock interviews, self-advocacy, workplace expectations, and how to problem-solve while on the job. After completing the workshops, students are offered the opportunity to gain paid work experience with employers that have an agreement with TPP. They can earn up to 100 hours of work experience.
TPP works with 25 high schools across the high desert, the mountain region, and even as far out as Needles. TPP also includes Workability and Generation Go! which are additional programs geared toward work experience and transitioning to adulthood. Many schools have one or more TPP teachers who have a class period dedicated just to this program. Lucerne Valley High School incorporates TPP into its classes in addition to day-to-day curriculum.