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LCSC and Lewiston School District to celebrate opening of SPARC apartment on Oct. 15

 LEWISTON, Idaho – Lewis-Clark State College and the Lewiston School District will hold a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 15 for an apartment, which will be used in a transition program supporting Lewiston High School graduates ages 18-21 who are disabled to become independent.

The ceremony will start at 9 a.m. at the apartment, located at 640 Southway Avenue, Unit 1, in Lewiston. The ceremony is open to the public.

For years, the LCSC Teacher Education Division and the Lewiston School District have partnered to run the Students and Professionals Accessing Resources in the Community (SPARC) program and help students with disabilities. Several locations, including LCSC classrooms, the LCSC Pi’amkinwaas Center, and area churches, had been used to host the program close to the campus so the students could participate in college experiences.

SPARC is a creative partnership that teaches key skills to the students that leads to independence, employment, and success. A student’s time in the program is individually based on preferences, strengths, interests, and needs. The curriculum is adjusted to fit each individual and includes vocation training, career development, improving social skills, self-determination, recreation and leisure, and improving personal independent skills.

Students in the program have the opportunity to take selected courses for credit at LCSC depending on their skills and interests. The students attend an academic and functional program each morning focused on skills related to the students’ post-school goals. In the afternoon, students participate in the work experience components of the program at job sites in the community. The program staff includes a certified special education teacher and an instructional assistant.

Students also receive an LCSC Warrior activity card that allows them access to campus events.

Enrollment in the program is based on applications and interviews of qualified students who are seniors in high school. The program can hold as many as 15 students and has nine currently enrolled.

The apartment will serve as a classroom/lab for the students, who will have expanded opportunities to learn other life skills such as housekeeping and cooking. The cost of the apartment is being shared by LCSC, the LCSC Teacher Education Division, and the Lewiston School District.

The program for Oct. 15 includes:

  • 9 a.m. – Welcome by a SPARC student
  • 9:01 a.m. – Brief comments on behalf of LCSC – Lori Stinson, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • 9:03 a.m. – Brief comments on behalf of Lewiston Public Schools – Travis Poulsen, Special Services, Lewiston School District
  • 9:06 a.m. – Ribbon cutting ceremony – Julie Bieker-Bender, SPARC coordinator for Lewiston School District, Michelle Doty SPARC coordinator for LCSC, a SPARC student
  • 9:10 a.m. – Tour of the apartment led by SPARC students
  • 9:20 a.m. – Refreshments

For more information on the SPARC program, contact either Doty at mddoty@lcsc.edu or 208-792-2265, or Bieker-Bender at jbiekerbender@lewistonschools.net or 208-790-3519.