Life Skills ACE

Life Skills ACE

Overview

Life Skills ACE provides post-secondary transition services for students 18-21 years of age, who have an IEP and have completed or are on track to complete their high school graduation requirements. The program focuses on building independent living skills, social skills, career/employment skills, community based education and functional academics. There are three different pathways in the LSACE program including community based, vocational and college/career.  Students qualify for services based on their needs to work towards attainable post-secondary goals.

Connect with your student’s current case manager to learn more.

What are Transition Services?

St. Vrain Valley School District’s transition program, Life Skills ACE (Alternative Cooperative Education), provides educational programming for students 18-21 years of age, who have met graduation requirements yet continue to require specially designed instruction to work towards post-school goals due to their disability. The term ‘transition services’ means a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability to facilitate the child’s pathway from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living or community participation. Services are provided in collaboration between the district and outside agencies. 

The program focuses as a bridge to building independence and to connect families to community agencies in order to support employment skills, independent living skills, and continuing education opportunities. 

Transition services: 

  • Serve as a bridge from K-12 education to post-school/adult life.
  • Provide community-based programming with a focus on connections to adult services, supported employment, and/or alternative or inclusive education opportunities. 
  • Clearly identify programming with specialized instruction and activity objectives aligned with individual students’ transition needs and goals.
  • Provide flexibility for school and community experiences based on individual preferences, interests, strengths and needs aligned with postsecondary goals.

Transition Services ARE NOT: 

  • A continuation of High School 
  • Located in the student’s neighborhood school, nor the building/location of parent or student choosing
  • Full day/full-time programming
  • Respite care (short term relief for primary caregivers)
Why make a transition plan?

School districts, including SVVSD, help all students with a plan for transition from high school to post-school planning through an Individual Career and Academic Plan (iCap). In addition to completing an iCap through the general education curriculum, students with disabilities who meet criteria for an IEP also engage in Transition planning through their Transition IEP. A transition IEP shifts the educational programming lens to target goals, services and supports as they relate to living in the adult community as successfully as possible. The ultimate goal for all students is to acquire the highest level of independence possible so that they are best prepared to live a successful adult life.  For some students, after exiting high school,  complete independence will be possible.  Other students might need support throughout life and St. Vrain will continue to strive to help every student develop the skills needed to live as successfully and independently as attainable.

Parents have an equal role in transition planning and should consider exploring and applying for various outside agency supports and services based on their student’s needs. Linked here are some considerations for families to explore. Not all resources/considerations are appropriate for every student.

The decision for a student to receive additional educational services beyond the minimum credits needed for a high school diploma is a team decision based on an overall educational plan that will assist the student to move as close as possible to their identified post-school outcomes. See “Determining if LSACE is Right for Your Student (Process)” below.

St. Vrain Valley School District’s LSACE Program offers training to students and information to parents to prepare them for post-school opportunities. Successful transition programming relies heavily on the cooperation between parent engagement and school based specialized instruction.

Parent and District Roles of Transition Planning
 Community Based Independent Living Skills may Include: appropriate social behavior and communication skills, interpersonal relationships, personal organization and time-management, safety skills, knowledge and use of community resources, using public transportation, money management.
Determining if LSACE is Right for Your Student

Student eligibility for transition services and programs such as LSACE is an IEP team decision. Parents, Students or the Case Manager can request an IEP team meeting to review assessment data, and discuss the student’s needs and determine if the student will continue to require specialized instruction to continue to meaningfully work towards their post-secondary goals after they have met district graduation requirements. The LSACE eligibility discussion should begin during the annual review meeting in a student’s Junior year. In any situation where the team is considering a student’s eligibility for LSACE, the case manager should invite the overseeing district special education assistant director.

To access transition services: 

  • A student must be enrolled in a St. Vrain Valley school, have an active IEP, and meet criteria for services as determined by the IEP team.
  • A student must have earned (or be on track to earn) the minimum academic credits required to qualify for a St. Vrain Valley School District diploma, yet continue to have unmet goals pertaining to post-secondary outcomes in the areas of either education/training, employment, or independent living that require specialized instruction. Students have needs related to independent living, work, and general community access.
  • Students must be able/ready to travel out into the community either independently or with adult support and supervision.
  • Have skill deficits impeding fulfillment of attainable post-secondary goals prior to satisfying graduation requirements. 
  • Most have a moderate to significant disability and are focused on learning skills to engage in supported employment, community based independent living and/or inclusive education opportunities.

Students may participate in a ‘social graduation’ but cannot accept their high school diploma to receive transition services. Free and appropriate education (FAPE) ends once a diploma has been issued to the student. The student’s diploma is issued at the end of the traditional academic year when they exit from transition programming. The diploma will reflect the date that the student exited transition services–not the date of their high school graduation ceremony.

Once a team determines that the student is eligible for LSACE, someone from the transition program will connect with the team to determine the student’s pathway and further discuss services and planned continuation date.

Junior Year (11th Grade)Senior Year (12th Grade)18-21 Services
Case manager will invite the assistant director/transition coordinator to the student’s annual IEP review

Team will determine appropriateness of post-secondary goals and if transition services are needed

It is highly recommended that families apply for their Community Center Board and have an active case with DVR.
Parent will have the opportunity to attend an LSACE Open house to learn more about the program (Spring)

Transition staff will attend the student’s annual IEP and determine pathway, services and schedule.

Student participates in a social graduation with their current school.

It is highly recommended that families reconnect with their Community Center Board and have an active case with DVR.
Transition staff will provide services related to the student’s pathway and post-secondary goals.

Transition staff will provide semesterly progress reports and notify families when a student is nearing exit (goal achievement/ 21st birthday)

LSACE services will be faded out, and adult services will be faded in as a natural bridge to adulthood.

Student engagement in adult services is highly recommended.
LSACE Pathways

St. Vrain Valley Schools offers three pathways within the LSACE program. Students participate in pathways according to readiness and their post-secondary goals. 

  1. LSACE-Community Based Education
    Community Based services provide students with classroom and community experiences that will provide opportunities for students to find their talents and gifts and contribute to their environment by giving to others.  Students in the Community Based Education strand will increase their independence, supporting increases in confidence and advocacy.  The exploration of post-graduation living options, recreation/leisure activities, and the development of personal and social skills are included in this strand. The program offers sessions from 9:30-2:45, Monday through Friday. Most students participate in partial day sessions for 2-4 days per week.
  2. LSACE-Career Exploration and Work Experience
    Career Exploration and Work Experience services will provide classroom and community experiences that will support students with identifying a career/work path that is attainable.  Students will identify needed skills for the world of work and receive direct skill instruction and practice of those skills to prepare them for work.  This could include career/technical classes, vocational instruction, and integrated/supported employment exploration. The program offers sessions from 7:45-10:45 and 11:45-2:45, Monday through Friday. Students participate in either morning or afternoon sessions for 2-3 days per week. 
  3. LSACE-College and Industry Readiness
    College and Industry Readiness services will support students who have chosen a career path and are preparing for public community college, technical trade school/industry education, or four-year colleges/universities.  Students will continue to work on academic skills, interpersonal relationships, application and acceptance process, and possible participation in the program supporting their college/industry path. The program offers sessions from 7:45-10:45 and 11:45-2:45, Monday through Friday. Students participate in either morning or afternoon sessions for 2-3 days per week. 
Program Details, Schedule & Services

A natural step toward adulthood involves leaving the extended hours per day of an academic high school schedule and entering a schedule that consists of less in class time per week.  Services could be accessed anywhere from one to six semesters depending on when a student meets the exit criteria. The goal of transition services are to bridge towards a student’s goals as soon as possible. Transition programming services are structured to gradually fade out, and adult services (outside agency services) fade in. It is the parent/family’s responsibility to initiate and engage in adult services. Students are exited from LSACE when the first of the following occurs: 1.) the student has the skills and abilities to meet their post-secondary goals or 2.) the student reaches the end of the semester of their 21st birthday, or 3.) the student no longer chooses to participate. 

Transition Services start and end dates follow the St. Vrain Valley School District calendar for 12th graders. Days and times of attendance vary, based on a student’s tailored program designed with individual identified transition needs in mind. Most students receive a minimum of 5 hours and a maximum of 21 hours of services per week. Students who attend closer to the full 21 hours generally have more significant needs and are focused on improving community based independent living skills. Hours of support for all students will naturally decrease as students demonstrate proficiency and move toward adulthood. 

LSACE operates the Community Based Education programs from 9:30am-2:45pm and the Career and College/Industry Readiness programs from 7:45-10:45 and 11:45-2:45. Most students attend 2-4 days per week for a morning or afternoon session based on needs. It is highly recommended that parents partner with outside agencies to engage in adult services during times when the student is not at LSACE. The district will be as collaborative as possible to support the student’s access to both service models. 

Related Services

Related services, similar to transition services, are provided under the lens of access to career, education and community based independent living skills. Related services will be phased out in order to connect students with outside services so that they can continue receiving adult services once they have finished with LSACE. Most students in LSACE should be connected with or on a wait list with their county’s community center board (Imagine! For Boulder County; Envision for Weld County).

Transportation

Transportation is provided by the school district to and from school. When appropriate, students may access public transportation via RTD, Via, or Call-n-Ride for work experiences.

Connecting with Adult Services

For more information on Adult Services visit our Outside Agencies and Resources webpage.

St. Vrain Valley Schools