Few students here at Burlingame know about the Adult Transition Center on campus, also known as Burlingame University. There are two ATC classes taught here at Burlingame, one by Jenna Smith and the other by Jared Abbott. The classes work closely together, with each having 18 students for a combined total of 36 students. In addition, the program also has six additional staff members and three service dogs.
All students in the program are between the ages of 18 and 22. “We’re trying to prepare them as best we can for independence after they leave,” Smith explained.
The program focuses on the transition from academics to life skills. “Instead of sitting down and learning math, we open up bank accounts and they practice balancing checkbooks and making purchases in the community. Instead of just reading, we read bus maps and practice taking public transportation and planning trips around the community,” she continued.
Many students in the program also work in the community. Some, for example, are at Pet Food Express, Trader Joe’s, and Marshalls. It’s all part of gaining real world experience.
Having the F building has been particularly helpful this past year. “Having the new kitchen and the laundry facility has been great. We do cooking, cleaning, laundry, practice using the dishwasher, microwave, stove, oven- Every aspect. We have a shower across the hallway so we practice hygiene skills,” Smith said.
The hands-on learning experience is extremely valuable for these students.
In addition to practicing these skills in the classroom, they also go on weekly field trips, some of the most popular being their trips to Muir Woods and the San Francisco Symphony.
Burlingame University is an incredibly useful resource that BHS is fortunate enough to be able to offer to the community and students.