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Higley Transition and Access Program prepares students for life after high school

HTAP Students with Governing Board Members

The Higley Transition and Access Program (HTAP) in Higley Unified School District serves to prepare students with unique learning styles for the real world.

Brittany Wittenberg runs the HTAP program at Higley High, as well as Higley High’s Best Buddies program. Her goal is to show students with unique learning styles strategies that they can use in life after high school.

Wittenberg left her old school five years ago to come over to Higley and work on a transition program. When she first got here, she was teaching one class period of transition skills each day. The program has grown exponentially since then, as Wittenberg now has the students for almost the full day and has started taking students from Williams Field High School, as well.

HTAP is a one-year program for students who are seniors on Higley’s two Gilbert campuses. Students spend a good portion of their school day doing activities that teach them how to handle work situations and solve problems in the real world.

Wittenberg said the students work on skills in the classroom, such as job applications, how to interview, how to grocery shop, and how to cook.

The students also do activities away from the classroom. They go to Gateway Pointe Elementary on Fridays and sell candy and other items to staff to teach them how to make change. They recently started working weekly at a Clydesdale Barn in Gilbert and do a wide range of jobs there, such as feeding, watering, sweeping, and bathing.

The students work on a new set of skills each quarter to try and build their repertoire in order to prepare for the real world, Wittenberg said.

During the first quarter, students focus on their job interests, skills they are good at, and things they can improve on. After that, they work on communication and how to build relationships, as well creating good interpersonal skills. Then they go into a quarter where they work on daily living skills, such as doing laundry and preparing meals. The students learn how to prepare meals in a recently redesigned portable. They will also take turn taking HTAP towels home to practice doing laundry.

Wittenberg is very excited for the future of the HTAP program and believes that it can grow even more than it already has.

“I want to help students not only academically, but prepare them for out of school,” Wittenberg said. “The goal is for it to be either a one-year program for students their senior year or they stay an additional year and just do HTAP.”