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Community Partnership

The Fairfield Community Partnership (CP) is a compilation of post-secondary services designed to provide a coordinated set of experiences for students identified by a Planning and Placement Team (PPT) as requiring additional support in the three key areas of Transition: Independent Living, Employment and Post-Secondary Education.


Community Partnership Professional Team


CPP Special Education Teachers/Case Managers:
Alyson Gunn, CPP Special Education Teacher
Brooke Simonsen, CPP Special Education Teacher
Lisa Velky, CPP Special Education Teacher

Support Staff:
Melissa Biondi, CPP Licensed Clinical Social Worker
LIndsie McClean, Speech and Language Teacher
Adam Pakeila, Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Gayle Donowitz, Special Education Coordinator, CPP

Community Partnership Collaborative

We are working to increase and diversify the internships for the students. This will develop the capacity for informational and mock employment interviews and job shadowing opportunities in a variety of career fields. Presently, the CPP is creating a presence on social media to improve communication with current business partners and reach out to potential business partners.

As our efforts are enhanced by the support of parents and friends of CPP participants who have helped us network into quality vocational opportunities, we encourage partnerships and networks. For example, last year parents assisted us in developing a permanent job for a CPP graduate and an excellent internship opportunity at the Palace Theater in Stamford.

We believe that our students should be able to look forward to a meaningful and productive work life in their community and as we find and tap the combined resources, talents and wisdom of our community – parents, friends, business associates, concerned citizens – the vision will be the reality for many..

Contact Us! Fairfield Public Schools: Community Partnership 203-255-8378

Social & Community

Best Buddies

  • All students participating have been paired with a buddy
  • Buddies kicked off their friendship at the October meeting.
  • The calendar has been set for the year for this year’s groups events with an event each month
  • Buddies have set up get together with their individual buddies 

Spread the Word to End the Word Campaign

  • CPP is partnering with local community organizations to participate in the 2016 Spread the Word to End the Word
  • Students in the CPP are collaborating with their vocational host sites to join in the R-Word Campaign

Special Olympics

  • CPP staff has met with the regional director about the steps needed to reinstate the Fairfield Special Olympic Charter
  • Local Chapter president has volunteered and is meeting with CPP staff and regional director in January.
  • Interest survey is being sent to students to choose a sport, once a sport is chosen we will recruit a coach.

Sports Plex

  • Sports Plex camp will running a session with peer mentors over April vacation for two session, one AM and one PM

Life Skills

The CPP offers a variety of instruction and activities to help participants develop the skills they need to succeed in life after high school. This is designed to 1) improve work readiness to support a young person’s ability to secure entry level employment 2) improve a young person’s awareness of personal interactions that may impact employment and 3) improve functional and personal management skills to increase a young person’s potential for living more independently. Hands-on instruction and individualized coursework is available in the following key areas: Self-Advocacy, Cooking, Employment Skills, Healthy Lifestyles/Fitness, Personal Hygiene, Money Management, Social Skills and Transportation Training.

CPP Locations

CPP participants meet at various locations in the community throughout the week to conduct different activities and practice the skills they are working to develop as part of their transition to life after high school. Activities take place at the Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield University, the Fairfield Senior Center, Fairfield YMCA, and a variety of other community locations. Shopping and transportation skills are developed at local malls, stores and establishments throughout downtown Fairfield.

Our Partners

Past & Present Community Partners:

  • A Child’s Garden
  • Cambridge Manor
  • Card$mart Store
  • Carolton Chronic & Convalescent Hospital Inc.
  • Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo
  • Earthplace – The Nature Discovery Center
  • Fairfield, Finance Dept.
  • Fairfield, Senior Center
  • Fairfield, Town Clerk
  • GE
  • Panera Bread, Fairfield
  • Sodexo
  • Tauck
  • TJ Maxx
  • Wakeman Boys & Girls Club
  • Walgreen's

For Employers

What do you need from my company?
We need opportunities for students to learn about the world of work. Our students seek to participate in mock and informational interviews, work skill evaluations, job sampling and/or paid or unpaid internships.

How do you match students with employers?
It all depends on a win-win relationship. Students are matched based on your business needs and student interest/ability.
The determination of placement involves a review of the student's interests, strengths and aspirations coupled with our knowledge of your business, the positions and respective skills that comprise your operation and your communication with us to discuss the 'soft skills' that are involved.

How long is my commitment?
A variety of options exist and are discussed with you. For example, your commitment can begin as a day in which your business hosts an 'information day or shadow week' in which students are familiarized with your industry or business. Your commitment could also begin as part of our vocational education experiences with a longer-term internship or a paid employment opportunity. And your commitment can change over time as our partnership with you gets stronger and evolves into the 'win-win' relationship that we aim for. CPP staff works with you to achieve a positive outcome for your company and for the students we support.

What kind of support do I receive?
CPP staff provides advance training, on-site job coaches and special educators to insure the best learning experience for all.

What happens if something goes wrong?
Our staff and administration work hard to build mutually beneficial relationships and experiences for all. Issues that arise are reviewed within 24 hours or sooner if needed and resolutions are determined by the business and staff so that problems are minimal and, if they do occur, short lived.

For Parents

When should Transition planning begin? Transition planning should begin when your child is in elementary school. A pro-active and progressive approach to transition planning is essential and is the most effective way to address transition planning.

How do I know if the CPP is right for my student? You and your student should begin now to work with his/her Case Manager and Planning and Placement Team to discuss transition goals, future dreams and post-secondary options. The options for your child will be discussed as you will decide together if it is the right next step for your family.

Can college be part of my child's transition plan? While in high school, students and staff work together to establish and work on transition goals and objectives. If college is a part of that, and students and intellectually capable of meeting the demands associated with this educational experience, the CPP can assist with other challenges, such as the development of executive functioning skills, social skills, transportation skills and more. Past CPP participants have successfully enrolled at area community colleges as part of their academic instructional programs, with support from CPP staff.

How does a student "graduate" from the CPP? The Planning and Placement Team reviews student progress throughout the year. When a student achieves his/her transition goals, exit from the CPP may occur. Each student's criteria for exit is different and is established by the PPT.

At the time of exit, the student's terminal degree (either a diploma or certificate of attendance) from high school will be provided by the Fairfield Public Schools. All participating students stop receiving CPP services at the end of their 21st birthday year.

How much will the CPP cost me? Nothing. CPP services are provided to eligible students at no additional cost through the Fairfield Public Schools.