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Transition Expo will help students, parents prepare for future

 BEMIDJI – Bemidji High School will host its seventh annual Transition Expo this week.

The expo is designed for students in grades 9-12, and their families, to explore the available services that can assist them in planning for life after high school.

More than 35 regional agencies will be represented with booths, from the Occupational Development Center to Beltrami County Social Services to Paul Bunyan Transit.

The Transition Expo, a free event, will be 6-8 p.m. Tuesday in the Bemidji High School Commons.

“We have agencies available that would be able to address students’ needs in all areas,” said Eva Pohl, special education supervisor with the Bemidji Regional Interdistrict Council, which provides special education services to 11 area school districts.

The event aims to answer families’ questions, such as what support is available for students after graduation and what support will be required to reach post-secondary goals.

Younger high-schoolers can benefit from attending by thinking, sooner, about their postsecondary goals, whether they be college, full-time employment or something else, said Tiffany Palmer, a special education teacher with the Bemidji School District.

“The earlier they start thinking about it, the better prepared they are,” she said. “Ninth grade goes into 12th grade really fast.”

The event is planned by the Bemidji Area community Transition Interagency Committee, which is composed of representatives from the Bemidji School District, surrounding school districts served by BRIC, and other community agencies in the region.

The CTIC aims to improve the school-to-community transition process by connecting agencies’ services to students with disabilities prior to graduation.

“It was an identified need,” said Pohl about offering the Transition Expo. “It is one way to reach out to families and let them know what (support) is out there.”