Ryan Laager

Ryan Laager

The SOAR program is in its fourth year. SOAR, Students Out Achieving Results, is a special education transition program at the District Office that prepares students for adulthood by focusing on post-secondary education, employment, and independent living skills to those who qualify for services beyond the students’ traditional graduation date. Students from Belle Plaine, Jordan and Tri-City United participate in this program.

Staff work to create an environment where students develop transition skills while working towards their individualized goals. The learning and curriculum are focused on the five transition area. The transition areas include; employment, post-secondary education and training, home living skills, community skills, and recreation and leisure skills. Students have opportunities to develop their skills and independence in each of the transition areas.

Employment skills include skills students need to obtain and maintain a job; completing job applications, interview preparation and practice, resume writing, work skills, social skills, work experience opportunities, and volunteering. Rachel Benson, SOAR teacher shares the Belle Plaine and Jordan communities have been wonderful to work with for work experience. Post-secondary education and training skills may include applying for colleges, training for jobs and participation in coursework geared toward a specific field.  

To ready students for real-life work experiences, students spend a portion of their day working in the PAES lab. The PAES lab is a researched based assessment system that identifies aptitude for community-based employment, functional skills, interest and work behavior strengths and barriers to success. Assessing work interest, work habits, and social skills needed for employment. The PAES lab is designed to simulate the real working world to help prepare the student for the transition from school to work and life. The work procedures of the lab are followed to simulate the real feel of a work environment, at the same time exploring a new career and vocational areas. In order to simulate a real work environment, students use a time clock and receive a simulated paycheck they can spend in the school store that is open twice a month.

The combination of the transition based curriculum, PAES lab, and community-based experiences, the SOAR program offers students a unique opportunity to develop skills, build independence and create a pathway into adulthood.

The SOAR program has been an excellent addition to our school community. It brings students from outside the District to Belle Plaine providing them with wonderful learning experiences that will serve the students for years to come!

Also, a reminder for all families that may or may not have received our email, we’d love to get your feedback on what you’d like the 2019-2020 school calendar to look like. Please visit our website at www.belleplaine.k12.mn.us and scroll down to the “quick link” section to find the survey. We appreciate your feedback!

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