‘Amazing and Capable’ Students: Inside Golden Valley’s Adult Transition Program


Chris Melkonian

ATP students enjoying each other’s company at brunch.

Many students are not aware that Golden Valley has its very own Adult Transition Program offered on campus. This is a program that was made to help young adults, ages 18-22, with disabilities navigate their way in the real world, and equip them with skills upon graduation. It was introduced in 2019.

The program has a schedule structured on occupational guidance, as well as daily living and interpersonal skills. ATP also involves their students off campus by participating in community experiences throughout the week. The students create foundational relationships in the classroom with their peers, aids, and teachers.

Mrs. Castillo and Mrs. Webb are the two teachers for the Adult Transition Program here at Golden Valley. They are dedicated to giving their students the opportunities and knowledge they need to succeed in this world.

“I think independence and autonomy is important to everyone, and our students are no different. Some of them want to live by themselves or with roommates, and some will always live with their families, but they can be independent within that scope as well.” states Castillo.

With there only being two classes in the program, they know their students on a personal level. All students are unique in their own way, and this program creates as much independence that is appropriate for the individual.

An ATP student poses for her picture during brunch on a chilly February morning.

Mrs. Webb recently started her teaching in Golden Valley’s ATP in January of this year. Although she is new, she and Mrs. Castillo share the same goal; helping their students in the next step of their life.

Everything they do relates to assisting and helping navigate their students in life after high school.

Webb voices, “I wish people would know how amazing and capable our students are, and how motivated they are to do a good job. I think it’s important for students on campus and people in our community to be aware of our program”.

Recently, they have been working on job resumes, so they can reach the ultimate goal of obtaining a job and keeping it.

In the middle of their day, the classes switch rooms and spend time with the other teachers. It is like one big class rather than two separate ones. They create bonds with both teachers and students from different classes.

Both Mrs. Castillo and Mrs. Webb heavily take into account the emotions of their students. They have a system where they categorize how they feel with colors. If a student is feeling great and is having a good day, the color they correspond with is green. If the student is feeling like they need their own space, they correlate with the color red. This way, students are aware of how they are feeling, as well as keeping in mind how their peers feel.

In talking with two students from each class, they both shared the same fondness for how the program has helped them create friendships and learn fundamental skills.

When asked about his favorite part of the program, Wyatt Furuyama answered, “Seeing my friends and teachers, and being social with everyone”.

It is clear that both classes prioritize creating friendships and relationships in the classroom, as Alexander Romero responded similarly. He replied, “I like talking to my classmates and hanging out with them”.

Both Webb and Castillo do an amazing job at preparing their students for the world. They truly care about those in the program, and give them their all. They deserve the ultimate recognition for dedicating themselves to supporting their students, and prioritizing their success.