New Center Helps Students Move Into Adult World

E.C. district opens transition center for special ed students

Rebecca Mennecke |

“This is what can happen when staff dream,” said Eau Claire Area School District Superintendent Michael Johnson about the new GATEWAYS special education program in a media release. “Seeing this come to life for our students, we are so grateful.” 

GATEWAYS – or Grow, Achieve, Transition, Empower, Working at Your Success – is a special education transition program that recently commemorated the opening of a new space at the EastRidge Center in Eau Claire, allowing students with disabilities between the ages of 18-21 a space to transition from high school to adult life.

The program comes as an extension of pre-existing transition services in the district, aiming to improve achievement of folks with disabilities and to encourage a smoother move from school to post-school activities. Annually, the Eau Claire school district serves between 15-25 students in transition services at North and Memorial high schools.

The new transition center allows students the ability to grow out of their younger selves and experience more independence. The Eau Claire Public School Foundation raised over $100,000 to outfit the location with furniture, appliances, and other items to make the new center feel homier.

Students began using the new facility officially as of Nov. 1 and have already expressed enthusiasm for the new space.

For more information about the project, visit