Des Moines Schools’ ‘STRIDE’ Program Gives Students Extra Support

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DES MOINES, Iowa – The Des Moines Public School District has created a new program for its special education students.

‘STRIDE’ is part of a four plus program where students have the credits to graduate high school but need extra support before becoming independent.

DMPS Special Education Director Susan Hope said, “We learned last year that some of our students needed more support, more repeated practices with gaining independent skills so we built this program this year to know we needed to differentiate from our other four-plus programs.”

Some skills taught during the program include learning how to cook, interacting in the community, riding the DART bus, grocery shopping, and retaining a job.

STRIDE teacher Kylene Simpson said the students recently held a luncheon to teach them how to plan a dinner party.

“It’s very important for these students to have structure and routine and to teach them what a daily schedule would be for them so that they can do that after high school,” Simpson said.

There are 12 students enrolled in the program. All are between the ages of 18 to 21.

STRIDE student Traister Carter said the program has changed his life.

“I made a lot of friends here and I am just doing better. I’ve made a lot of improvement of the last few months here than I did in the last eight years,” Carter said.

Other programs DMPS works with in its special education department include project SEARCH and STEP.

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