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Educators from the Netherlands Tour Palmiter High School

Visitors Learn About Successful Transition Services for Students

Visitors outside a greenhouse, talking to teacher

SCOE Teacher of the Year 2023 Kevin Jordan (left) gave visitors a tour of Palmiter High School’s extensive horticulture program. The visiting educators learned about the school’s programs that teach practical skills and increase student confidence.

The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) hosted a group of 10 special education teachers, administrators, and job coaches from the Amersfoort region of the Netherlands at Leo A. Palmiter Jr./Sr. High School last month. The educators were accompanied by two officials representing the city of Amersfoort. The visitors are touring programs in California to learn about techniques and best practices related to special education transition services. A group from the same region also visited SCOE programs in 2012.

During their visit on February 27, the educators talked to students and learned about programs that teach practical skills and increase confidence. SCOE staff was also able to learn about some of the latest educational strategies being employed in the Netherlands. “It’s truly an honor to be able to host international visitors,” said Palmiter Principal Lauren Roth. “We were excited to share our program with them and highlight the results of our staff’s hard work and dedication. We’re all proud when our students succeed, and this was a unique opportunity for educators from two different countries to share new ideas.”

The visitors enjoyed lunch at the Culinary Café—prepared and served by students in the Culinary Arts Program—and toured the school’s extensive horticulture program, called the Urban Oasis Project.

“We are inspired about improving our transitional efforts by seeing what you [SCOE] are doing here,” said Rob de Bruijn, who arranged the group’s visit. “We’re talking about the same students. They may speak another language, but they are the same. We hope to host SCOE representatives in the Netherlands and provide the same inspiration.”

The Amersfoort educators met earlier in the day with representatives from the California Department of Rehabilitation, with whom SCOE collaborates on its Transition Partnership Program (TPP). The program teaches decision-making skills and helps students with interest assessment, career exploration, and job preparation. Students participate in on-the-job training with partner businesses in a “school-to-world” program, receiving additional job development services as needed.

Transition services, which are provided through SCOE’s Special Education Department, ensure that students with disabilities can successfully progress from school to adult life. The services are designed to help students acquire the skills and knowledge necessary for employment, postsecondary education, and independent living. Without adequate transition planning and support, students with disabilities may struggle to achieve their full potential and face significant barriers to success in adulthood.

About Palmiter High School

Leo A. Palmiter Junior/Senior High School serves students in grades 7–12 with the primary disability of Emotional Disturbance. The school provides highly structured behavioral support and a strong career technical emphasis. To meet the unique educational, behavioral, and mental health needs of its students, who are referred by local school districts, Palmiter offers a range of services that promote a positive learning environment. Core academics are paired with real-world experience in a variety of fields. In 1985, the school (initially called the Leo A. Palmiter Center) was named after Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools Leo A. Palmiter, who was superintendent from 1969–1980.

Student serving food to guests

Students of Culinary Arts Instructor Stephen Hazelton (standing, center) prepared and served lunch for the guests.

Student talking with visitor

After lunch, the visiting educators had an opportunity to talk with students about their experiences.

Visitors standing near tables full of plants

The educators got a tour of the Palmiter campus, including the Urban Oasis Project’s horticulture classroom.

Visitors inspecting a compost bin

Compost bins make nutrient-dense food for the plants. Many of the delicious fruits and vegetables the students grow are served at the Culinary Café.