Students who have special needs and their families got first-hand access to post-high school options and resources at the Transition Fair
Posted on 04/01/2019
Several of PWCS Transition Specialists Hundreds of area students and their families attended the 20th annual Transition Fair held at the Kelly Leadership Center on Saturday, March 9, 2019, getting in-person access to resources that will help them as they near the completion of their high school careers. More than 40 representatives from both public and private agencies and organizations were on hand to discuss the variety of support services available to youth and adults with disabilities. Breakout sessions offered additional information on topics such as Social Security, graduation requirements, guardianship, special needs estate planning, and other area services.

“Bringing together this many organizations in one place provides parents who have children with special needs an opportunity to connect directly with those who understand their concerns and know what’s available to help their child prepare for and feel more confident about the future,” said Dr. Michelle Roper, director of Special Education for Prince William County Public Schools.

Beth Bampton, who came with husband Matt and daughter Chloe, says her in-person visit to the Community Services Board table helped so much more than a phone call.

“It’s easier to discuss things,” said Bampton, who is also a teacher at McAuliffe Elementary School. “Within three minutes, we have what we need.”

Information from the Disability Support Services Office at Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) was a popular attraction for the many students planning to pursue a college education. For some, accommodations such as transportation, accessible parking, alternative technology, or interpreter services will mean the difference for their success.

Chloe will graduate this June and may attend NVCC after a gap year to build her fine motor skills at the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center in Fishersville, Virginia. Chloe’s mom says the family’s support system also includes Forest Park High School Transition Specialist Diane Nelson.

“[Nelson] has worked hard for both kids, getting them hooked up with the right resources,” said Bampton, whose son also graduated from PWCS. “She started in ninth grade asking to come to their IEP meetings and helping us to know what we needed to do next.”

Patti Moore came to the fair with her son, David, an 11th-grader at Woodbridge High School (WHS). David receives special education services and is also in the gifted program. Mrs. Moore spoke highly of their experience with the staff and programs in PWCS and praised Kim Albrecht, transition specialist at WHS, for her support during his high school career.

“They are always in communication,” said Mrs. Moore. “They have been nothing but helpful.”

David will graduate in 2020 with plans to attend NVCC. He and his mom came to the fair to hear about accommodations available for him at NVCC. They were also signed up to attend the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services breakout session.

David says his goal is to work at NASA someday. His mom said he’s got it all planned out with a career in mind she can’t even pronounce!

Connecting students to resources that will help them achieve success after high school is Positively PWCS.