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Next STEP Handbook


Next STEP is an evidence based program designed to maximize the potential of young adults in the areas of community based vocational experiences, positive social relationships and independent living skills

Next STEP - The Future Is Yours to Develop

Independent Living
Meaningful Work
Social Networking

Contact Information

33 West Main Street
Vernon, CT 06066

Peter Lynch- Program Director
Phone- 860-558-9861
Email- peter.lynch@vernonct.org

Lorin Charanian- Vocational Counselor
Phone- 860-870-3703 ext. 3
Email- lorin.charanian@vernonct.org

Joe Prignano- Transition Coordinator
Phone- 860-870-6050 ext. 4106
Email- josephprignano@vernonct.org


General Policies

School Year
Next STEP will follow the Vernon Public School Calendar. Please note, Next STEP does not follow the ½ day schedule for Professional Development Days. Participants will remain for a full day.

Program Hours
Next STEP Program hours are 8:00 to 2:00. Staff will be available for meetings beyond program hours when required.

School Cancellation/delayed opening announcements
Next STEP will follow the Vernon Board of Education announcements for school closings. This information is also normally run on a continuous basis on WVIT (Channel 30), WTNH (Channel 8) and WFSB (Channel 3) or other local networks. An automated phone message from the superintendent is sent to families. The district website will also have the most up to date information.

Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Statement
It is the policy of the Vernon Board of Education not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religious creed, age, marital status sexual orientation, mental disability or physical disability in any of its education programs, activity or employment policies.

Participants are expected to attend the program daily and to be on time. An absence shall be considered “excused” when a participant does not attend the program due to illness or injury, death in the immediate family, religious obligation, an emergency or other exceptional circumstance. Participants are expected to call the program as soon as possible the day of the absence.

Excessive absences will result in the following:
5 days- Meeting with Next STEP Program Director to discuss attendance
10 days- Written warning from Next STEP Program Director
15 days- Written warning from the Supervisor of Special Education
20 days- PPT meeting will be held to discuss programming including the possibility of exiting from Next STEP

Drug and Alcohol Policy
Board of Education policy prohibits the use or possession of alcohol, drugs, or drug paraphernalia on school property or at school sponsored functions. Any participant found in possession of, or under the influence of, any controlled substance must be reported immediately to the Program Administrator.

Electronic Devices
Electronic devices such as cell phones or iPods are NOT permitted in school buildings without the permission of the Program Director.

Medications, including over the counter medications, may be given during program hours only if ordered by a physician. A participant who requires medication must submit the State Medicine Authorization Form completed by the student’s physician and signed by the parent or guardian.

Student Searches
A student may be searched, according to a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, (New Jersey v. TLO 53 U.S.L. W. 4083-1085) if there are “reasonable grounds” for suspecting that the search will turn up evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or the rules of the school.

The State Department of Education has established all schools and all school grounds as smoke-free areas. Therefore, smoking in the building and/or on school grounds is strictly forbidden.

Sexual Harassment
It is the policy of the VPS to maintain a learning and working environment that is free from sexual harassment. The VPS prohibits any form of sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment by a participant, employee, individual under contract or volunteer will result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal or expulsion.

Any person who believes he or she has been the victim of sexual harassment by a participant, employee, individual under contract or volunteer is encouraged to promptly report such complaint to the Building Administrator. Complaints will be investigated promptly and corrective action will be taken when allegations are verified. Confidentiality will be maintained by all person involved in the investigation and no reprisals or retaliation will be allowed to occur as result of the good faith reporting of charges of sexual harassment.

Weapons and Other Dangerous Instruments
Board of Education prohibits possession and/or use of weapons and other dangerous instruments at any programs or functions that are part of the Vernon Public Schools System. This prohibition does not apply to material which is required as part of the participant’s work site.

Visitors are not permitted. Program participants may not invite guests to join them at any program site.

Code of Conduct
One of the goals of Next STEP is to encourage independence and responsibility which are characteristic of young adults. Participants are expected to meet the behavioral expectations deemed appropriate within their surrounding environment. Progressive disciplinary actions will be determined on an individual basis.

Dressing and Grooming
Next STEP requires participants to dress in clothing which is appropriate for his/her work site, school facility and is conducive to teaching and learning. Restrictions on freedom of participant dress may be applied whenever the mode of dress is questioned. Participants are not allowed to wear shorts, open toed shoe, sleeveless shirts, revealing clothing, clothing with words/phrases, ripped or torn clothing.

Time Cards and Wages
Participants must submit completed necessary paper work in order to obtain wages. Forms include those required by the IRS and Vernon Public Schools.

Next STEP participants earn hourly wages for time worked on the job site. There is a four tier hourly pay scale ($2.50, $3.00, $4.00, and $5.00). All participants will begin at the minimum level. Specific criteria for advancement to the next level will be determined on an individual basis. Students are paid for time worked at their job sites. Reductions in pay will be assessed for inappropriate vocational behaviors.

Emergency and Photo Consent Form
Each student is REQUIRED to have an Emergency Contact Form on file before attending community settings. Participants will be requested to complete Permission to Photograph Forms. If you have any questions regarding the options to be checked, please contact the Program Director.