Spring Branch ISD Featured News

Graduate from the T.O.P.S. program prepared to work in elementary school cafeteria


In recognition of National Special Education Day on Dec. 2, meet Kristin Watler, a Memorial High School student. She is completing her participation in the Spring Branch ISD Special Education Department’s T.O.P.S. (Transitioning Onward Promotes Success) vocational training program for students 18 to 21 years old, and will begin a new career in January.

In T.O.P.S., Watler has worked in the kitchen at Denny’s once a week. She also works at Belong Kitchen, a restaurant started by a parent of a student with a disability to provide work opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

“I help make food, clean, wash dishes and put cooked food in the refrigerator,” Watler said. She also enjoys cooking breakfast food at home and helping her mother clean up.

These experiences, along with support from Spring Branch ISD Special Education teachers, has prepared Watler for her next opportunity: to work in a Child Nutrition Services (CNS) kitchen at an elementary school in the district.

“I am looking forward to making food,” Watler said of her new role. “I also am looking forward to seeing new people at the elementary school.” 

“Our students have learned the importance of eating nutritious meals throughout their journey in Spring Branch ISD,” Michael Francis, Assistant Director of CNS said. “We remain dedicated to supporting the success of those same students even after graduation. Hiring Spring Branch ISD students allows them an opportunity to continue promoting those same healthy eating habits to the next generation of future graduates.”

Watler is thankful to her teacher in the T.O.P.S. program, Gloria Elias, for helping her have so many different job experiences and promoting her growth. 

Congratulations, Kristin, and best wishes on your new career in Spring Branch ISD!