HPS STEP Program Guides Young Adult Students through Transition to Job Market

HPS STEP Program Guides Young Adult Students through Transition to Job Market

The educators of the Hartford Public Schools STEP Program (Student Transition Education Pathways) are advisors who nurture and mentor our young adults.  The STEP Program is a job transition program for 18-21 year old students with an IEP.

As teachers they value open collaboration with families and partners to create a safe and inclusive learning environment.  The program supports participants as they utilize the resources within the community to foster their independence. They do this work to promote self-advocacy and encourage continuous learning.

Delivery Model

STEP is broken into core focus areas outlined below.  This allows for both implementation of individualized goals in the IEP as well as additional learning opportunities that may not be directly outlined in the IEP.  Individual skills are assessed using the Assessment of Functional Living Skills (AFLS) to determine areas of strength and weakness and to inform the development of the IEP.  Skills are then taught using evidence-based strategies in a multi-disciplinary approach and progress is monitored for all students.

The target skill areas include:

  • Transitional Literacy – Money & Banking
  • Independent Living and Home Skills – Community & Travel
  • Job Skills and Internships – Fitness & Health
  • Advocacy & Social Interactions – Post-Secondary (as appropriate)


Connection with Future Supports

The State of Connecticut provides services and supports to many adults who had IEPs in their high-school and transitional years. The specific needs of the adult will help to determine which service will be most applicable.  These include the Department of Developmental Services, Department of Rehabilitation Services, and the Department of Social Services. It is important to begin the process of registration prior to the age of 18, however, the STEP team will help to support families in ensuring the proper steps are taken.


Job Internships and Training

All students within STEP will receive job shadows and training internships that may support future job opportunities.  These internships and job shadows will be offered both within the school building and out in other community based settings. Students will work on job readiness skills such as interviews and professionalism as well as specific job skills. Attempts will be made to connect adults with future employment, but cannot be guaranteed through this program.

Job Connections

In addition to job internships and shadow opportunities, STEP may be able to connect adults and/or their families to additional training opportunities outside of the program.  Some of those opportunities include:


School-based Community-based
Cafeteria & Kitchen Support Mark Twain House
Mail Room OPP/ Billings Forge “The Kitchen”
Building Maintenance HPS Central Office Print Shop
Daycare Support Goodwill Resume & Interview Workshops
Mail Room Knowledge2Careers
Office/ Clerical CTWorks
Job Corps Walgreens Warehouse


Community Based Experiences

A variety of community based experiences are scheduled throughout the year.  This not only gives students the opportunity to connect with their community but also practice transitional skills (e.g., communication, transportation, navigation, purchasing) in real-world settings. Additionally, several volunteer experiences to give back to the community are also included.

Some community outings that have been offered include (subject to availability):

  • Wadsworth Atheneum
  • Elizabeth Park
  • Riverfront Recapture
  • Wickham Park
  • CPTV/Hot 93.7
  • Westfarms Mall
  • Capital Community College
  • Tunxis Community College
  • Manchester Community College
  • Goodwill Toy Drive
  • Foodshare
  • Asnuntuck Community College


In-house Community Connections

Various community organizations provide presentations and trainings at STEP when possible.  This includes both one-time presentations as well as multi-visit curriculum based workshops.

Some connections include:

  • Planned Parenthood
  • Bank Workshops (CAHS/ People’s Bank)
  • Billings Forge/Cooking Matters
  • American Job Center
  • Kennedy Center Travel Training
  • Hartford Police and Fire


Learn more from a STEP PROGRAM student.



To learn more about our STEP Program, visit their webpage, or contact:

Special Education Director: Sherlye Jackson (860) 695-8000

Teacher: Janelle Marella (860) 695-1010                               

Teacher: Cathy Pelkey (860)695-1423

Teacher: Beverly Resto (860) 695-1010                         

Teacher: Geraldine McHugh (860)695-1010

Speech and Language Pathologist:  Katie Callaghan (860) 695-1579

Social Work: Chantelle Paris (860) 695-1445