Escondido Adult School Partners with Escondido School District to Transition Students from School to Work

Portrait of Rahul Chintalapudi at home with his drums.
Portrait of Rahul Chintalapudi at home with his drums. Photo by Charlie Neuman

By Nicole Carr

Rahul Chintalapudi and his mother, a trained software engineer, immigrated from India to the United States when Chintalapudi was less than 6 months old. They faced the challenges of settling into a new country, which were further complicated by Chintalapudi’s diagnosis of autism and some obstacles to communication and learning.

Finding support and guidance became vital to ensure Chintalapudi’s academic progress. The Escondido School District’s Orange Glen High School played a pivotal role in providing Chintalapudi with resources and accommodations through specialized programs. Chintalapudi received extensive support tailored to his needs, including tutorial assistance in core subjects like English, math and history. Communication courses were offered as well, ensuring he could successfully complete his studies.

Reflecting on his experience, Chintalapudi acknowledges the unwavering support he received from the Orange Glen High School faculty.

“Ms. Ruhe taught me communication skills that helped me to find work.”

Rahul Chintalapudi, Graduate

“They (Orange Glen faculty) really wanted me to do well, so they referred me to the START Program,” he says.

Escondido School District’s START Program emerged as an invaluable tool for Chintalapudi’s transition from high school to the workforce. This vocational program provided special needs students with essential life skills and educational training, facilitating a smooth transition to employment.

Under the mentorship of Tanya Ruhe, a dedicated teacher at Escondido Adult School, Chintalapudi received personalized tutoring and counseling, which addressed his unique communication and learning challenges.

“Ms. Ruhe taught me communication skills that helped me to find work,” Chintalapudi says, underscoring the importance of supportive educators in his journey toward independence and self-sufficiency.

Through the concerted efforts of the START Program and the guidance of mentors like Ms. Ruhe, Chintalapudi successfully secured a job as a food server—a significant milestone in his journey toward self-reliance. However, his ambitions extend beyond his current employment. He aspires to follow his mother’s path, to become a software engineer, and pursue a career in computer science.

“My mom studied hard and became a computer engineer, and someday I can too,” Chintalapudi says.

For more information about Escondido Adult School’s programs, visit