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The class of 2021 - 2022.

Featured Article

Boerne ISD's 18 Plus Transition Life Skills Program

Tailored For Those Needing Extra Assistance To Enjoy Life In The Community

Article by Connie McFall Clark

Photography by Kate Cooley/Cooley Portraits

Originally published in Boerne Lifestyle

Enjoying a third year in its own portable office/classroom, the 18 Plus Transition Life Skills Program for graduates of Boerne and Champion High Schools is growing. Led by BISD teacher Jennifer Ratcliff, the program is for young adults ages 18 through 22 that have completed their academic credentials and are adapting to life after high school. The program bridges the gap between high school life and adulthood independence by providing living skills and/or job-related and workplace skills. 

On Mondays the students are in a classroom- and efficiency apartment-type setting to acquire computer skills, research jobs, complete applications and resumes, as well as learning to budget and shop for food and be able to prepare it. They learn how to use appliances and complete household chores. They learn how to file, do mailings and other office tasks. Every other week the group enjoys lunch out, shopping and leisure activities – getting accustomed to independent living.

The rest of the week the coaches and students are out at job sites. Some work with one of the four job coaches, some have moved on to work directly with a supervisor of the business and some shadow the job roles at a business. “I am amazed at the generosity and collaboration of the community’s businesses with us,” exclaims Jennifer. “Depending on the interests of the students, I can just call up a business and ask if they would work with us. Baskin Robbins/Dunkin Donuts management paid for some of the students to get their food service certification."

“We are out in the community and we also provide volunteer hours to some of the non-profits like Hill Country Daily Bread. Happy Tails, The Texan House and Faith and Funky Junk are happy to assist our efforts in teaching these young people life in a community and how to maintain a job. Carl’s Cleaners and Walgreen’s will place our graduates, whether with a job coach or on their own.” The Empty Vase owner is allowing a student to shadow her to learn flower arranging. Some of the students have part time jobs and also participate in the program, adjusting their hours accordingly.

Jennifer and the job coaches stay close to the young people in case of issues that may arise; in a small city they can get there quickly. They are taught the soft skills like taking initiative and healthy work ethics. “I work with both high schools' life skills teachers and hope to expand working with the middle school group.” The program is very highly regarded.

Jennifer has an Amazon wish list account for those wanting to donate items to the program.

  • Yolanda Hernandez, Julia Cortez, Jennifer Ratcliff, Thomas DeMore
  • The class of 2021 - 2022.
  • Job coach showing students how to prepare a salad.
  • Students working on computer skills.
  • Helping a student log on to a job website.