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 Getting to Know SDCOE: Transition Technician Steers Students to Continue Education

Araceli Scholl knows the importance of connections, and can relate to her students.

The student transition technician with San Diego County Office of Education's Momentum Learning schools attended one of those schools herself as part of a pregnant teen program when she was 16.

"I was on my way to being expelled in Vista because I stopped going to school," Scholl said. A social worker pointed her to Momentum Learning.

She looked to her Momentum Learning teachers as role models.

"I've always been an observer, and I knew there was always more for me," she said.

She joined SDCOE as a teacher's aide in 1998.

"It was everything I wanted to do," Scholl said.

She calls for honesty with her students when creating a transition plan. "I tell them, 'You need to do this for you. Show me your potential.' "

On any given day, she may be pulled into a classroom to answer a student's question about a transcript or missing credits. Teachers sometimes invite Scholl to speak to a class of older high school girls to share her story.

Scholl tells her students, "I'm going to be here. I'm going to bug you. You're going to have to get rid of me."

Her work time is split between Barrett High School and Momentum Learning classrooms in North County.

Momentum Learning's student transition technicians also focus on post-secondary options, through career discussions and research, guest speakers, college and certificate program field trips, and one-on-one planning

"We're pretty unique in what we're doing, especially with our focus on career and technical education," Student Support Supervisor Stephanie Austin said. "It is so rewarding for our staff to aid in this discovery process."

The transition technicians know their students' strengths and areas of need to guide them in developing a personalized learning plan. A critical piece of their work is to support students transitioning from a court schools back into their home schools. The technicians work to ensure that there is not a lapse in student education, and that students continue with needed courses.

"Our student transition technicians provide invaluable support to our students as they navigate into, through, and beyond our schools," Momentum Learning Senior Director Sean Morrill said. "They collaborate with school districts, Probation, parents, and community-based organizations to ensure the most appropriate placements for all our students."