San Bernardino City Unified Workforce Prep Program honored with state award

Photos SBCUSD: Two students in the Growing Hope program, which teaches students about farming, nutrition, and more, check on the herbs in the indoor garden.
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An innovative program that prepares Special Education students for gainful employment after high school has been lauded as a state model of excellence.

The California School Boards Association (CSBA) announced it will present the prestigious Golden Bell Award to the District’s Beyond Pathways Program. The Beyond Pathways Program provides job-skills training to students with moderate to severe disabilities. Overseen by the Special Education Department, the program includes the Business and Technology Pathway at San Andreas High School, the Community Integrated Program (CIP)/Bridge to WORC Program at Anderson School, and the WORC Program at Middle College High School/San Bernardino Valley College and Cal State San Bernardino.

A San Andreas High School student in the Growing Hope program records the progress of the flowers the students planted. Growing Hope is part of the District’s Beyond Pathways Program.

Students who participate in Beyond Pathways have opportunities to learn valuable life and work skills before reaching the age of 22. By the time students leave the program, they will have gained work experience, linked with community agencies, and have an extensive transition portfolio that will support them when connecting with post-vocational rehabilitation agencies such as Inland Regional Center and Department of Rehabilitation. For example, students in CIP will learn how to keep inventory, stock shelves, assemble and pack items, and other tasks they might be expected to do in a warehouse or retail company through Workability job placement and simulation activities in our PAES Laboratory. Students will also learn about self-advocacy, time management, and responsibility, which are vital skills needed as they transition into adulthood.

On-the-job training is essential to helping students with special needs lead productive lives, said Dr. Howana Lundy, director of the District’s Special Education Department.

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“The success of our program is rooted in the belief that all students can benefit from career pathways and community partnerships, especially students with special needs,” Lundy said. “We have students working in numerous businesses right here in our community who have a new lease on life because of our Beyond Pathways program.”

Each year, CSBA recognizes outstanding educational programs and school governance practices that effectively address the needs of California students. SBCUSD has earned several Golden Bell Awards in recent years, including one for its efforts to cultivate future teachers from its student ranks through the Grow Your Own program. The employee onboarding program, overseen by the Employee Development Department, and the Demonstration Teacher Program, overseen by Human Resources, have also won Golden Bell acclaim.

The Golden Bell Award will be presented on December 2 at the California School Board’s annual conference in San Diego.

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