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Secondary Transition Experience Program (S.T.E.P.)

The Secondary Transition Experience Program (STEP) is a training and assessment program that prepares students with disabilities for transition from high school to employment and community participation during and after high school. This program is funded through a grant from the Department of Human Services, Division of Rehabilitation Services. In STEP, students acquire not only good work habits, but also employability skills.

How Does STEP Work?

STEP is comprised of two phases. The first phase is a classroom course in which the student is taught about vocations that are of interest to the student. Emphasis is also placed on the acquisition of employability skills.

The second phase is the employment of the student in a field related to his/her interests and abilities. Job sites may be located on campus at the school or may be any place in the community that can offer adequate supervision on the job. Students must be paid at least minimum wage for community based employment. The student's work performance is evaluated quarterly. Additionally, the students receive a grade and a credit toward graduation upon successful completion of STEP.

Who Supervises STEP?

The Madison County Transition Program provides a Transition Specialist based out of the Regional Office of Education who oversees the programs in participating high schools within Madison County. The Transition Specialist acts as the liaison between the schools and DRS. Each high school provides a Certified Teacher/Prevocational Coordinator who is responsible for the supervision of both the classroom and job training phases of the program. The Transition Specialist and/or Coordinator visit the job sites regularly.

What is the Department of Human Services, Division of Rehabilitation Services?

The Department of Human Services, Division of Rehabilitation Services is the state's lead agency serving individuals with disabilities. All of the students enrolled in STEP become clients of DRS. The school and DRS have entered into a joint agreement in which they work together to help students with disabilities become employable.

During the school year, DRS contribute funds which are used to help operate the work program. These funds may also assist with medical, vocational testing, and placement services. During this time the Transition Specialist becomes familiar with the abilities of each student. Upon graduation, the Transition Specialist can continue to work with the student to assist him/her in making informed choices to achieve full community participation through employment, education, and independent living options. Should a student be ready for adult services provided by DRS, the student's case will be transferred to a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor at the local DRS office.

How Does a Student Become a Part of STEP?

Students are identified for consideration for participation in STEP by school personnel or by self or family referral. The STEP Coordinator for the school district will gather the following documentation to be given to the Transition Specialist:

• Consent for Release of Information – to be completed by the parents if the student is under the age of 18
• Consent for participation in STEP – to be completed by the parents if the student is under the age of 18

Once consent is obtained, the STEP Coordinator will gather the following documentation to be given to the Transition Specialist to help determine eligibility:

• Most current IEP or 504 plan and subsequent IEP's or 504 plans as they are developed
• Most current Psychological Report and subsequent reports as they are developed
• Most current Support Services reports and subsequent reports as they are developed
• Student Health Records
• Student Social Security Number

Once this information is compiled, it will become a part of the student's case record for DRS.
The Transition Specialist will meet with the student and parents to do an Intake Interview. Once a student is found to have met the eligibility requirements, he/she will be certified for services through DRS and will become a part of the Transition Specialist's caseload and will be enrolled in the work related class at the participating high school.

Services Provided To Students

Guidance and Career Counseling Meaningful Volunteer Work Experience
Career Exploration Opportunities Development of Desirable Work Habits
Paid Work Experiences Job Training
Supported Employment Social Skill Development
Realistic Career Goal Development Information and Referral
Linkages to Adult Service Providers Coordinated Planning with IEP Teams


Participating School Districts

Joe Michalski
Alton High School

4200 Humbert Road
Alton, IL 62002
Phone:618- 474-2700 ex 12185
Fax: 618- 462-2128
E-Mail: jmichalski@altonschools.org

Christine Wright
Civic Memorial High School
200 School Street
Bethalto, IL 62010
Phone: 618- 377-7230 ex 334
Fax: 618-551-7816
E-Mail: cwright@bethalto.org

Cathy Kulupka
Collinsville High School
2201 S. Morrison
Collinsville, IL 62234
Phone: 618-346-6320 ex 1240
Fax: 618-346-6341
E-Mail: ckulupka@cusd.kahoks.org

East Alton-Wood River:
Mary Walker
EAWR High School
777 N. Wood River Ave.
Wood River, IL 62095
Phone: 618-254-3151 ex 2649
Fax: 618-254-9113
E-Mail: mwalker@eawr.org

Allyson Morrison
6161 Center Grove Rd
Edwardsville, Il 62025
Phone: 618-656-7100 ex 20681
Fax: 618-655-1037
E-Mail: amorrison@ecusd7.org

Granite City:
Kellie Hutchings
Granite City High School
3148 Fehling Road
Granite City, IL 62040

Phone: 618-451-5808 ex 2523
Fax: 618-451-6296
E-Mail: kellie.hutching@gcsd9.net

Gayla Stirewalt
Highland High School
12760 Troxler Ave.
Highland, Il 62249
Phone: 618-654-7131 ex 4231
Fax: 618-654-6548
E-Mail: gstirewalt@highlandcusd5.org

Tara Holbrook
Roxana High School

401 N. Chaffer
Roxana, IL 62084
Phone: 618-254-4107
Fax: 618-251-7015
E-Mail: tara.holbrook@rcusd.org.org

Meaghan Jaeger
Triad High School
703 E. Highway 40
Troy, IL 62294
Phone: 618-667-8851 ex 7127
Fax: (618) 667-8851 ex 7127
E-Mail: meaghan.jaeger@tcusd2.org