REACH was established at Chancellor High School in 2008 to address the mandated transitional component of the Federal Law. When the program opened there were 2 teachers, 1 para-educator, and 12 students from 3 of the 5 county high schools. The program was housed in a small custodial office. Since then, the program has grown to include 3 teachers, 2 para-educators, 1 job coach, various college interns, and 30 students from the 5 county high schools. The space dedicated to the program has also increased to include a classroom and a small office. The REACH program has its own bus to transport students to and from job-placement locations and recreational facilities within the community.
Culture of Community Collaboration
- REACH teachers are active members of the FACT (Fredericksburg Area Council on Transition) Committee that educates and supports individuals with disabilities, their families, and community members regarding transition from secondary education to independent adult like in the community.
- REACH teachers work collaboratively with Rappahannock Area Community Services Board (RACSB), Department for Aging and Rehabilitation Services (DARS), Goodwill Industries, and the Disability Resource Center (DRC).
- The REACH program strives to ensure that 70% of the participating students aging out of the school system will participate in some type of employment opportunity, sheltered workshop, adult activity center, or is actively involved with an adult agency to assist with individual needs.
- Currently, the national average for adults with Intellectual Disabilities being employed within their communities is 32%. For students participating in the REACH program, the average employment placement rate to 63%!!
Students in the REACH program participate in a variety of work-related activities in order to develop skills need for employment. Job experiences include:
- Grocery store
- Retail store
- Maintenance and grounds keeping
REACH students also participate in a variety of recreational activities including:
- Area 11 Special Olympics (Tennis, Track, Soccer, Basketball)
- Various outdoor activities