WHITTIER – Whittier Union Transition Program student Frederick Bartz arrives at school each morning with a smile on his face and bursting with confidence. The 21-year-old, who is in his fourth and final year of the Transition program and known simply as Fred, brings a positive outlook and genial sense of humor to class that sets an excellent example for his younger peers in the program.
When Fred arrives on campus, he barely stops to take a breath before heading out to perform volunteer work at the Whittier Area Cooperative Special Education Program (WACSEP) or work at one of his many part-time jobs in the community.
For his progress and tremendous growth, Fred was recognized by the Whittier Union Board of Trustees with an Award of Merit during its Nov. 8 Board meeting. During the meeting, Fred used his communication device to thank the Board for the recognition. Whittier Union Transition teacher Darla Breiling, who joined Fred and his family, was effusive in her praise.
“I can’t say enough about Fred. He has grown tremendously in his willingness to try new experiences and work at new job sites,” Breiling said. “As a staff, we have been delighted by the great strides Fred has made in self-advocacy, independence and leadership. He has learned to use his communication device to self-advocate and share information about his day with the staff and other students.”
Among Fred’s employers are Smart & Final, the Santa Fe Springs Post Office and Lucky Treats Bakery in La Habra. At Lucky Treats, Fred is valued for his perfect attendance record and excellent customer service skills, greeting customers with a smile and holding the door open for them. Fred also packages the bakery’s popular cake nachos and prepares pumpkins for pumpkin pie.
The Transition Program, which serves students from the age of 18 to 22, is founded on the belief that the instruction of functional skills should be taught in the communities and locations the student will use throughout their life.
Students receive instruction in seven domains that have been identified by the Special Education Administrators of County Offices as the essential skills for a person to be an active member of the community.
The seven domains include functional academics, vocational, social-emotional, independent living skills, mobility, communication and recreation and leisure.
“Fred Bartz has brought so much joy to the Transition program, we cherish every moment we get to spend with him,” United Sierra Education Center Director Dr. Margie Moriarty said. “To see Fred out in the community working independently and establishing a foundation for his life makes us very proud.”
WUHSD_AWARD1: Whittier Union Transition Program student Frederick Bartz is joined by family as he receives an Award of Merit by the Board of Trustees on Nov. 8, recognizing him for his tremendous progress and growth.