Sisters High School’s Transition Program helps prepare students with special needs to lead independent and productive lives after they graduate.

The class is held off campus at the Belfry in downtown Sisters. Transition teacher Josh Nordell leads the group in discussions about what it takes to be a “grown up” with real world relationships and responsibilities.

Thanks to amazing community partnerships, the students have jobs or internships that give them hands on, real world experiences. Some of them are working at Rio restaurant, Sisters Athletic Club, Melvin’s Grocery, Ray’s Market and the City of Sisters. They are also learning to play golf with local pro Bill Mitchel, and learning Tai Kwon Do with black belt Sherri Hermens. Other opportunities include working in the community garden and woodshop at Harmony Farms Sanctuary. The class has a cooking lesson once at week as well.

“We are working on creating all the soft skills for being an adult,” Nordell recently told the Bend Bulletin. “We know they can do the job. We are helping them learn how to function socially within the job.”

The transition program includes younger students in some of their activities “We’re really trying to blur the lines of the building to get kids what they need,” said Nordell. “This way our younger special ed. students get to see the opportunities ahead and the transition students have the chance to be mentors and role models.”