Gateway to Adult Transition Education

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Most high school students transition seamlessly into higher education, the workforce and life. For students with substantial learning and physical disabilities, the transition from high school to independent living can be far more difficult.

Since 1993, the Gateway to Adult Transition Education program has unlocked doors for 18- to 21-year-olds with developmental disabilities. GATE teaches skills for everyday living and skills to be productive in the workplace. Operated by Vancouver Public Schools, it serves approximately 40 students from districts in Southwest Washington.

Students who graduate from the GATE program are better able to handle the world. Many will have jobs and independent living arrangements. All GATE graduates are well on their way to becoming productive community members.

GATE goals

  • To provide students with opportunities to improve their self-concept
  • To develop communication skills and competencies through guidance and work experience which will prepare students for employment and job maintenance
  • To develop human relations skills, personal traits and work habits for transition into the work environment and social community
  • To develop appropriate leadership skills to promote productive and responsible personal involvement in school, on the job and in the community
Photo: Gate studentsStudents enrolled at GATE have the opportunity to interact with age-appropriate peers with and without disabilities. They acquire organizational skills for daily living and employment. Students have different opportunities to explore work experiences. With employment, students gain a greater sense of independence.
Christopher Trout grad 0012Students spend all or a portion of their day on a job and/or job training site. This may include work experience, employment and/or a training program. Students may take an active part in community activities as appropriate.

Students will engage in a variety of daily skill training/education activities conducted by school and/or community agency staff. Training activities may include community access, independent living, time management and self-advocacy.

Thanks to partnerships, GATE students can have the opportunity to experience on-the-job training at many local organizations and businesses. GATE staff often will accompany students to job sites to assist with job-related training. Students will gain documented work experience through our community partnerships.

Photo: Gate living skills

Under the guidance of GATE staff, students will have a chance to participate in hands-on, activity-based instruction. They will build on learned skills to gain greater independence. Also, students will continue to learn how to access public transportation. Students will have the opportunity to develop responsibility, build self-esteem and move closer to independent living.

Applications are accepted during the fall semester (October through February). Applicants must be students with an individualized education plan, 18 to 21 years of age, who have participated in a high school program but have not earned a high school diploma. Students from Vancouver Public Schools and other districts (except Evergreen, Camas, Washougal and Woodland) are invited to apply. Students in the Evergeen, Camas, Washougal and Woodland school districts are served by their district programs. Home-schooled students with documentation of a developmental disability also may apply.

For an application, contact Intensive Academic Classroom or Learning Support teachers in any VPS high school or Leslie Morrison at the GATE program. Applications may be mailed or delivered to Leslie Morrison at the Gate House. Once applications have been screened, families will be interviewed and notified about placement.


Leslie MorrisonTransition liaison teacher
GATE House
3100 E. 18th St.
Vancouver, 98661


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