The NFSSE Transition House
Over the past three to four years, North Florida School of Special Education (NFSSE) has experienced significant growth. NFSSE serves 220 students with intellectual and developmental differences (IDD’s), as well as a growing wait list. Hence, the very welcome addition of the Transition House! The Transition program has grown to more than 40 students from the ages of 18-22. This house sits directly across the street to the southwest of the current school. It is exclusively for our young adults who are learning life skills, getting their first internships, preparing for employment, and taking the steps to become as independent as they can. Just like any other typical student going away to college or moving out and getting their first apartment, our students love having their own place. One of our parents said, “This house is truly an amazing place and will allow our son to learn and grow in ways we never thought possible.”
It is because of partners like St. Gregorios Orthodox Congregation, Builders Care and Episcopal School volunteers that this dream was made a reality during the summer of 2018. To say there was a lot to be done is an understatement! The church and its leaders have been so very gracious to NFSSE allowing us to take up residence while Builders Care and Episcopal School volunteers put in the elbow grease to update the property. NFSSE is forever grateful for these partnerships.
Transition Coordinator, Cat Griffith, says the house allows the teachers to better prepare students for the application of the skills they’re learning. It’s one thing to learn a life skill within a classroom, but sometimes those skills don’t easily translate to a home setting. With this Transition House, it truly is a home setting which makes the tasks more familiar and easier to replicate at their own home. The house has its own kitchen where our students can learn how to make nutritious meals for themselves and will soon begin to make snacks for our new Extended Day Program students. They can also be engaged in more extracurricular-type activities which include PE, arts & crafts, and technology.
It’s our goal to not only create an amazing learning environment for our students with IDDs, but to also provide a place where they can become the best versions of themselves. Ultimately, NFSSE wants to build a community in which our students and typical students learn that we are all more alike than different. We are excited for the future and cannot thank our friends and families enough for working with us as we grow.