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California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #17-50
June 26, 2017
Contact: Cynthia Butler
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Congratulates Winner of Special Education Learning Award

SACRAMENTO— State Superintendent Tom Torlakson today congratulated the Rising Sun Transition Program in the Patterson Joint Unified School District on winning the 2017 Grazer Outstanding Achievement in Learning (GOAL) award, which recognizes outstanding programs in special education.

Rising Sun Transition Program is an agriculture-based school that provides services to students ages 18-22 with moderate to severe disabilities.

“Rising Sun provides its students with 21st century skills that can help them succeed in life,” Superintendent Torlakson said. “These young adults are learning a vocation in addition to learning the kinds of tasks—shopping, cleaning and financial responsibility—that will allow them to live independently.”

The school opened in 2010 with the goal of teaching students to become self-sufficient, active, contributing members in their communities. These goals are in addition to the personal goals established by an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for each student.

“We call the young adults that attend our school, clients versus students,” said David Hodge, Executive Director of Special Education. “We do this because we are serving them and we want them to understand that they deserve to be treated and regarded with the same level of respect and maturity that their typical peers receive at this age.”

The school has seen its alumni achieve significant milestones. More than 45 percent of the students who have graduated have obtained paid, part time, or full time employment.

Rising Sun provides community-based instruction allowing students to assist at a business or organization. The school also enjoys a unique collaboration with agricultural professionals who share their time and expertise with the students on campus.

Rising Sun Transition Program serves between 16-21 students each year. In the last seven years, the school has quickly become an important landmark of the Patterson Joint Unified School District programs and initiatives.

California Department of Education Special Education Division Director Kristin Wright presented the prestigious $5,000 GOAL award to representatives from the Rising Sun Transition Program during the June 22 California Advisory Commission on Special Education (ACSE) meeting in Sacramento.

The GOAL award was established in the 2005-06 school year and was funded by Hollywood producer Brian Grazer’s family to recognize exemplary practices in special education and to celebrate programs that serve California youth with disabilities along with the professionals who provide them.

For more information about the GOAL award, visit the ACSE on the CDE GOAL Web page.

For more information about Rising Sun Transition Program visit their Web site External link opens in new window or tab..

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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Thursday, January 10, 2019
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