Published October 21, 2014
Volume 22, Number 10

New Tutoring Center Helps Students Succeed in Life
Transition Learning Center
Founder and Director, of Transition Learning Center, Melanie Bailey-Bird.

By Zoe Francis

Transition Learning Center offers tutoring for life.
The new center tailors its support to help middle and high school students transition successfully from school to the real world.
“It’s a lot different than any other academic programs,” Melanie Bailey-Bird, founder and director, explained. “It’s an avenue to build their own unique profile and planning. They’re building in areas of need so they can catch up to graduate with their high school diploma or meet the pre-requisites to get into college.”
The learning center focuses on students who are not necessarily college bound, while also offering college preparation courses and guidance for students who will ultimately tackle college.
“I’ve seen a lot of kids with high anxiety who drop out of high school due to the high work load,” she said. “The program is meant to be a fun program. We help them remember what they’re working toward.”
Bailey-Bird, who specializes in speech, language and audiology, holds a master’s degree in special education. It was during her many years working with school districts that she saw the critical need to support students not just academically, but in life skills that will help them become successful working adults.
“It’s not just academic tutoring,” she said. “It’s a mixture of everything, including career planning and vocational life skills, pragmatic social skills and research-based academic curriculum with built-in social integration.”
That means some students learn basic life skills, such as how to balance a checkbook, dress for a particular job or interview and be successful in a chosen career.
“We do a vocational assessment that shows what their strengths are,” she said. “The program (analyzes) the students based on aptitudes. It matches them with what kind of career choice they want to head to so we can develop a plan for them. We used research-based curriculum that’s individualized to the student. We don’t agree with a one-size-fits-all type of curriculum.”
Students may choose the whole array of programs offered or choose specific programs needed to help them reach their goals. Some students, for example, may prefer the math, reading and writing courses to help them pass required state testing, such as the high school exit exam.
The three-step vocational program helps students plan for and be successful in a chosen career.
“It’s vocational life skills like how to perform on a job, hygiene and leadership skills,” Bailey-Bird said. “There are different courses they can take. They can follow the whole program or take the classes of interest.”
“We also have social skills program to work on pragmatics,” she continued. “It’s concepts like eye contact, taking turns and conversation. A lot of kids with Asperger’s, autism or (attention deficit disorder) have a lot of trouble with these concepts. We use a lot of self-esteem-building activities because usually they are dealing with issues like making friends.”
All of the center’s instructors are credentialed teachers or para-educators specially trained to work with students.
“I pay high salaries for my teachers, so I expect quality,” she said of her well-trained staff. “I taught all grade levels and students of all types of abilities. I have a strong background and understanding of what works and doesn’t work.”
The program, she added, “is based on student interests and strengths, as well as working on the weaknesses. It’s an individualized program tailored to the needs of the student.”
Learn more about the many services offered by Transition Learning Center at transitionlearningcenter.com.

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