Milton Hershey School’s Transitional Living (TL) program is specifically designed to create experiential learning opportunities for students that are both purposeful and unplanned. It encompasses a range of functional areas such as financial literacy, healthy lifestyle habits, community living, and social and emotional skill-building.
This unique residential program shapes the way MHS seniors approach life after graduation and builds their sense of responsibility, independence, and community as they make practical decisions. The goal of the Transitional Living program is to help seniors graduate from Milton Hershey School as strong, self-sufficient young adults who will make positive contributions to the world around them.
Developing essential life skills
The TL Bank program is designed to simulate a real-world, money-management experience. Through this program, seniors learn and practice the following concepts:
- Income management and budgeting
- Time management
The Compass Project, Milton Hershey School’s character and leadership development program, is a school-wide initiative designed to help students develop social and emotional learning (SEL) skills. Each month, Transitional Living staff highlight one SEL theme and guide seniors through a focused curriculum dedicated to that month’s theme. Some of the SEL skills taught include:
- Overcoming obstacles/perseverance
- Cultivating empathy
- Developing new perspectives
- Making healthy decisions
- Learning how to prioritize
Through these social and emotional learning lessons, students develop essential life skills they will carry with them after graduation such as maintaining healthy relationships, solving problems, managing stress, and resolving conflicts.
Promoting healthy lifestyles
A core factor of TL is teaching students how to develop healthy lifestyle habits before they graduate. Each student apartment includes a fully stocked kitchen where seniors have the opportunity to plan, prepare, and cook meals. Healthy habits include more than just food, though. Students learn about additional healthy habits, including:
- Time management— Seniors have a list of responsibilities they are expected to maintain, but how they manage their time is up to them. Seniors are encouraged to develop healthy time management practices, but have the freedom to figure out what works best for them.
- Grocery shopping— Students must prepare meal plans and maintain a weekly budget.
- Healthy dining— Seniors eat dinner at a campus dining room Monday through Thursday. They not only benefit from plenty of healthy food options, but it serves as a community space where students can study and develop friendships.
- Play 60— Our bi-weekly Play60 activity program encourages every senior to get outside and stay active for 60 minutes.
- Fitness routine— Exclusive partnerships with local gyms give MHS seniors the opportunity to incorporate a gym and fitness routine into their daily schedules.
- Stress management— Each TL building is equipped with a multitude of resources to aid students in managing stress, including:
- Opportunities to meet with staff at least twice a month
- Weekly devotions and curriculum focused specifically on stress management
- TL-specific activities such as coloring corners, yoga spaces, quiet corners, and more
Building a strong sense of community
The MHS Transitional Living program incorporates the concept of living-learning communities (LLCs), a model commonly seen in residential programs for higher education. The purpose of the communities is to give seniors the opportunity to live with students who share similar interests and goals. Students also have opportunities to participate in relevant activities that match their interests.
Our LLCs include the following focuses:
- Career Preparation
- Global Citizenship
- Health and Wellness
- Residential Assistant and Leadership
- STEAM & Sustainability
MHS high school seniors live independently in apartment-style residences on campus. The physical layout includes:
- 10 TL buildings
- Five male buildings and five female buildings
- Each building includes the following features:
- 4-6 student apartments, which include a kitchen, common area, two bedrooms and two bathrooms
- 2-3 staff apartments
- Main office
- Recreation room
- Laundry room