Transition Opportunities Program (TOP)


The Transition Opportunities Program is a collaboration between Andover and North Andover Public Schools.  TOP provides transition services to post-high school students between the ages of 18-22.  Students in the program have not received a high school diploma or have yet to meet their transition goals.  Through a Person Centered Planning model and collaboration with community based resources, TOP will work to develop skills that meet the student's individualized goals around independent living, travel training and vocational development.


Functional Academics Community Travel Training Daily Living Skills
Self-Advocacy Self-Determination Vocational
Social Skills Leisure Relationship Groups
Hygiene Physical Fitness Human Relationship Class
Preparing for Post 22 Programming Collaborating with DDS/MRC Access to Social Worker


Jimmy's Pizza
Energy Resource Solutions
Doggin It Daycare
Stevens Memorial Library
YMCA N. Andover/Administration Office
Creative Living
Kid's Club
Infinity Fitness
Yella Grille
Andover Human Resources/Business Office Pfizer
Downer Brothers Lawrence General Hospital


TOP collaborates with Creative Living in Andover.  Once per month students participate in weekend getaways where they work on various independent living skills.  Students are assessed on the following skills: making their own beds, doing their own laundry, cooking, grocery  shopping, and managing living with roommates.  Students also participate in community activities allowing them to practice community skills and access community recreation opportunities.

Students access the Youth Center twice per week.  On Tuesdays, students work on cooking in an industrial sized kitchen.  Students plan the menu, purchase items at grocery store, and cook the meal  Students also use the gym to participate in physical activity.


An integral part of the program is participation in activities and courses on the campus of Northern Essex Community College where students have the opportunity to integrate into a college campus.  Students are able to access the sports and fitness center, library, book store and campus activities. 

Students can access three levels of College Curriculum.
  • Level 1 - Students can sample modified curriculum in seminar and workforce development classes.
  • Level 2 - TOP also participates in the Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (MAICEI) program which can allow students to audit or take a credited college course with the support of an Educational Coach.
  • Level 3 - Students can independently take credited college coursed through dual enrollment.


This year-round health curriculum is co-taught by Rita Casper, RN., Director of Nursing and Brian Saad, Transitions Specialist.  The goal of the program is to facilitate the building of healthy social and emotional relationships in a safe and supportive environment.  To encourage open communication, the student body may be divided into smaller groups depending upon the topic of the day and the complexity of the material presented.  Subjects may include good hygiene practice, health and nutrition, understanding and navigating relationships, reading social cues, respecting boundaries, and gender differences.


TOP includes a social worker who provides small group and individual support as needed.  The focus of the groups is to instruct the principles of Mindfulness.  Mindfulness is one of a number of techniques used to teach skills that help ground students in the moment, reduce anxiety, and think more clearly about what might be causing feelings of anxiety.  The group carries over mindfulness practices into the weekly meetings and classroom practices.  Additional topics covered in the areas of mental health and social skills include, but are not limited to, coping skills, emotional balance, relationships, culture, conflict resolution, and young adulthood.