Achieving Transition Goals Through School-Based Enterprise

three students with autism seated at a table together smiling at the camera while selling hot pretzels

Students with disabilities in the Cupples Center classrooms at the Education Center Sewickley work to build the skills necessary to prepare for their transition into adulthood. One of the ways students put these skills into practice is through a school-based enterprise (SBE), the Cupples Corner!

Students in the Cupples Center range in age from 14 to 21 so they are focused on transition-related goals and activities. Many are working to learn skills that can help them navigate the workforce once they graduate. The Cupples Corner provides students with myriad opportunities to practice social skills, communication, money counting and making change, among others!

Every month the Cupples Corner team selects the item(s) they’d like to bring to market. They select projects that require teamwork and communication to complete so students have additional opportunities to practice these skills.

Projects to Improve Vocational Skills

The beginning of the 2022-2023 school year saw the Cupples Corner students work on vocational skills by producing phone or photo holders made from popsicle sticks, mummy magnets, fall-themed tea towels, snowman ornaments, and monogrammed coasters! Students also made gourmet seasoned popcorn and hot pretzels to sell to their peers and staff members in the building!

Every student is assigned a job that comes with a specific set of responsibilities beyond just making the items for their sales. Students are responsible for creating ordering forms for each item, entering all of the returned order form data into a sales spreadsheet for tracking purposes, as well as filling and packaging the orders to meet sales deadlines.

When the items are sold in person at school, students work on their social skills, greeting customers (their peers and staff members), counting money and making change for sales, and working cooperatively and communicating effectively with their classmates. Throughout these activities, students are able to work on functional and social goals!

Transition services are an integral part of students’ educational programming at the Watson Institute starting at age 14. Each school provides transition-related activities through a variety of programs both in school and also in the community by partnering with local businesses and organizations, providing students with hands-on experience in real-world settings.

Learn more about our special education transition services for students with special needs!