Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who is eligible to attend the Compass Transition Academy (CTA)?

    Students who have completed 24 high school credits to earn a special education diploma can attend the CTA. This means they have completed adapted curriculum courses and participated in the Georgia Alternate Assessment. 

    How do students get into the program?

    Acceptance into the CTA starts with a referral from the student's case manager and an application. Seniors who are eligible for graduation can apply with the assistance of their special education teacher and/or guardian. Phase 1 of the selection process is the review of the application. Phase 2 is an in-person interview with a skills assessment.

    Is the Compass Transition Academy a one-year program?

    Compass Transition Academy has an open-ended length-of-stay. All of the interns have already graduated from high school and do not have any required courses to complete while working at the CTA. This means they can stay with us for one year or more, depending on how many years of eligibility they have (by law, students cannot attend past the semester when they turn the age of 22). Students may also exit the program early if the goal of competitive employment has been achieved. When the intern and his/her support team determine he/she is ready to leave the program, they can exit the Academy, receive his/her diploma, and transition to what is next.

    Where is Compass Transition Academy?

    The CTA is located inside the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy. The address is 2300 Maddox Chapel Rd NE, Dalton, GA 30721.

    Can we ride the bus to Compass Transition Academy?

    Yes, interns can ride a WCS schoolbus to the CTA. The transportation will run much like transportation to high school, just with an additional bus ride to the Career Academy. A general education bus can bring you to the high school in your district, where you will then board a connecting bus from the high school to the Career Academy. The same thing will happen at the end of the day when bringing interns back to the high school to load a bus to ride home. If an intern has traditionally ridden on a special education bus, they can continue to ride a special education bus and be brought directly to the Career Academy. Interns can also be dropped off and picked up by car at the Career Academy.

    What will the interns be doing at the Compass Transition Academy?

    Interns will be learning and working on-campus and in the community. On campus, they will take part in the PAES® lab. PAES® stands for Practical Assessment Exploration System. The lab is a hands-on work station. When the interns enter the PAES® lab, they will be acting as “employees”, and their teaching staff will be acting as their “work supervisors”. This is to give the interns experience of learning what it is like to go to work. The interns will clock-in to a time clock software at the beginning of their work shift, and clock-out again when they are through. Once they are clocked in, they “go to work” exploring nearly 300 jobs in five career areas that are based upon typical skills found at community-based job sites.  The interns find out for themselves what jobs they excel in, and what jobs they like to do. 

    The PAES® experience will guide the interns and the CTA staff to determine what employment settings will be most beneficial for each intern. Interns can then be placed in community employment settings to practice their work skills in a real-world setting. This is community-based vocational instruction that is within the scope of an intern’s zone of proximal development. With supportive “scaffolding," the student will be trained in how to complete real-life job tasks. 

    Interns at the CTA may also be provided with additional training opportunities in the classrooms at the Career Academy, where instruction in fields like construction, automotive work, nursing, child care, culinary arts, and many other fields can be experienced. 

    Interns will also take part in small group instruction focused on job skills development, social skills competency, independent living skills, and soft skills training. This in-class instruction at the CTA will be focused on the individual developmental needs of each intern as outlined in his or her IEP.