Karleigh's Coffee cart How peninsula school district supports all students

Karleigh Boyle, former Peninsula High School student, will move into the Peninsula School District's Community Transition Program (CTP) next year. CTP supports young adults as they transition to life after high school.

Karleigh loves going to school, and has been the most excited high schooler that has ever ridden the bus according to her mom, Theresa. She is so happy to go. When there is no school, she points out the window looking for the bus. She loves her teachers and friends and is a very active, always-busy kid. Karleigh was diagnosed with CP and Epilepsy she functions about a two year old level.

Karleigh’s parents moved to Peninsula School District based on the reputation of the special education program (SPED). Her mother, Theresa Boyle said, “The school district reputation was very attractive for SPED parents and her grandparents live in the area. So we moved a month after she was three years old. We have loved being here for the last 16 years. We are not the only ones who moved here for the program. Many of Karleigh’s friends have moved here for it as well. Wendy [Karleigh’s teacher at PHS] understands the concerns we parents have for these kids’ futures and loves every single one of them. She gets the “what's next” concept and preparing parents as well as the kids.”

CTP teachers like Wendy Christiansen work with students to set up individualized goals so they will have a plan for after they turn 21 and exit school services. Goals are based on each student’s needs, strengths, preferences, interests, work experience, and plans for after graduating high school, CTP, or both. Peninsula School District is able to facilitate a smooth transition from school special education services to other agencies and community programs after students like Karleigh exit the program.

The three main components in CTP are work skills, personal management, and community access. High school diplomas are earned after students complete the program and/or their Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals. Students placed in CTP utilize volunteer community placements in preparation for adult life.

As an example, Karleigh operates a coffee cart that allows her to travel and interact with people. Karleigh does not charge for her service or the coffee, as her family provides financial support for the business. Karleigh is able to do her own shopping with minimal assistance and makes sure she has the supplies needed for the coffee cart.

The coffee cart is supported by her family. Karleigh’s dad works at Starbucks and helps provide coffee and treats for her cart. Her grandma sewed the apon that she wears, which has pockets to store stir sticks and sugar packets. The partnership with her family and the district, as well as the strong relationship with her teacher, means Karleigh has a team of people who love helping her plan for her most independent future.

In order to run the business, Karleigh goes out with a para educator to shop for the items and learn life skills such as shopping at Costco and using her debit card.

Karleigh uses her iPad as a communication aide to take orders and asks people if they want coffee, cookies, or art. This summer, she brought her coffee cart to the Educational Services Center three Wednesdays in July. Brooke Finnigan, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent, said, “Having Karleigh at the district office is a great example of how students have meaningful learning experiences all year long. I keep her artwork on my wall to help brighten up my workspace.”

CTP will be a big move for Karleigh, as it serves as a bridge to help students and parents access needed services for adult life with the most independence after school services end. The video below was made by Peninsula High School Student Lena Janson and shows how much Karleigh is loved by everyone in her school community.

Karleigh will be continuing her coffee service at Henderson Bay High School and the business park around CTP. If you see her, be sure to say hello!


Photo's courtesy of the Boyle family

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