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Closed Arroyo Grande school reopens for special education studen - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Closed Arroyo Grande school reopens for special education students

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A school closed for nearly a year is reopening with a new mission to help students with developmental disabilities.

The Lucia Mar Unified School District's Adult Transition Program has found a new home at the Mesa View Community School in Arroyo Grande. For the first time Tuesday, students and staff of ATP walked into their new facilities, which combine three previous locations under one roof.

The Adult Transition Program was created for students aged 18 to 22 with developmental disabilities to learn practical life skills. The program aims to increase the independence of the students in their daily lives.

While a portion of each class happens in the classroom, much of the instruction takes place in the community. Students are exposed to a variety of job opportunities, social interactions, recreational activities, and leisure activities. 

"Just like anybody else in the community, these students are people and people deserve to be out in the community interacting," said Dr. Paul Fawcett, Director of Special Education for the Lucia Mar Unified School District.

Dr. Fawcett said the ATP's students range from high-need to high-functioning but all enjoy the ability to interact and be a part of the community. It's also important for the community to meet and interact with the students, he said.

Faculty members of the program are excited about the opportunities afforded by the new facility. Students will have the opportunity to learn cooking skills in a home-style kitchen and a commercial style kitchen. A large gym will also give students the opportunity to take part in lifestyle activities. 

"It's very important because it helps these students gain transitional skills from transitioning from K through 12 education into adulthood and the skills they need to be successful there," Dr. Fawcett said.

There are no current plans to grow the program from the existing number of students, but Dr. Fawcett said it is a possibility. 

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