Category Archives: Post-secondary education

Dr. Mary Morningstar: What Does it Take to be College and Career Ready? Improving Outcomes for Youth with Disabilities

Dr. Mary MorningstarDr. Mary Morningstar is the keynote speaker at the Transition pre-conference of the UMTSS* Connections Conference in Layton, Utah June 23 – a three day event of sessions on Leadership, Literacy and Numeracy, Behavior and Positive Behavior Supports, Transition to Career Pathways, Educating English Learners, Special Education, Effective Instruction, Tiered Intervention, Assessment and other topics.

Today’s Transition event will include many topics on preparing students for post secondary education, employment and independent living.

“Dr. Mary E. Morningstar is an associate professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Kansas and Director of the Transition Coalition, which offers online transition professional development and resources for secondary special educators and practitioners. Her research agenda includes evaluating secondary teacher quality and professional development, culturally diverse family involvement in transition planning, and interagency collaboration. She is also examining the impact of inclusive secondary experiences for students with significant disabilities on postschool outcomes. Currently, she is developing a multi-dimensional model of adult life engagement for transition.” (http://specialedu.soe.ku.edu/mary-morningstar)

Watch the Transition Universe Facebook and Twitter feeds for updates on the conference.

*Utah Multi-Tiered Systems of Support

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Student Aims to “Climb High” to Raise Funds for Scholarship

A Utah State University student who is  enrolled in “Aggies Elevated”, a progam for students with intellectual disabilities, plans to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro this summer to raise funds that would allow a student to enroll in the program.

According to the Herald Journal,

Troy Shumway, 20, is set to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in June 2015, USU announced in a news release. The fundraising goal, $40,000, is the amount it costs to fund one Aggies Elevated student, covering academic and social supports including mentors, tutors and staff.

For his fundraiser, Troy has set several creative donation levels, including a $19 donation because Mt. Kilimanjaro is more than 19,000 feet high, or $98 because Mt. Kilimanjaro is more than 9,800 miles from his hometown of San Diego.

In a prepared statement, Troy explained that he wants to offer another student the opportunities he is getting through Aggies Elevated.

“It would be great to have other kids with disabilities be able to come to college and learn to be more independent, like I did,” Troy said.

Read more here.

See Troy’s donation page here.

 

Postsecondary Education Linked to Higher Employment Rates

An increasing number of postsecondary programs for students with intellectual disabilities are being created and implemented across the United States……with evidence of successful outcomes, according to a recent study.

Individuals with intellectual disabilities who attend postsecondary programs are finding greater success in the job market than those who do not pursue further education, a new study suggests.

Graduates of postsecondary programs reported higher rates of employment since completing high school, according to findings published online this month in the Journal of Intellectual Disabilities. The research offers support for a growing number of programs at colleges and universities specifically geared toward young adults with developmental disabilities.

Read the article here.

 

New Transition Center to Provide Transition Opportunities for High School Students with Disabilities

Three national organizations will merge together to create the National Technical Assistance Center on Improving Transition to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students with Disabilities.  The national program will be housed at UNC Charlotte and will launch January 1, 2015.

The center will be housed in a suite of offices within the university’s College of Education.

Made possible through a $12.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, the new center will absorb two other national organizations: the National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities, based at Clemson University; and the National Post-School Outcomes Center at the University of Oregon.

All three universities – in addition to Western Michigan University, the University of Kansas and TransCen Inc., an organization that provides assistance for students with disabilities – will combine research efforts under one roof.

The center will work within special education and vocational rehabilitation systems at the state level to improve the transition process for high school students with disabilities entering college or the workplace.

Rethinking College: The Film

Rethinking College” is a film that promotes providing opportunities for experiencing college for students with disabilities.

Rethinking College is a 25 minute film produced by Think College that explores the growing movement to include students with intellectual disabilities in higher education.

Through the perspectives of parents, educators, advocates, policy leaders, and most importantly, students, this film illustrates how colleges and universities can provide a setting for all students to grow, learn and build toward better futures

Learn more here.

University of Rochester Provides Transition Support

The University of Rochester has implemented a support system to aid students with disabilities to access the college experience.

Transition Opportunities at UR (TOUR) looks to help integrate disabled students into a the college environment. Similar programs have been developed on campuses across the country to promote increased involvement and participation.

The philosophy of the TOUR program is to give students with disabilities additional support and resources that they need to succeed.

“I started to research into how I could help students with disabilities to have the opportunity to have the college experience as a more open and accessible option to them,” Warner School of Education graduate and Director of TOUR Catherine Branch Lewis said. “We all have the opportunity to change the world, and I think anyone and everyone should have the opportunity to benefit from everything that is offered here at the U of R.”

The Warner School is a recipient of the Transition Post-Secondary Program for students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) grant. This is a federally-funded grant that has aided the TOUR program evolve from “an excellent and segregated program to an excellent and inclusive program,” Lewis said.

Read the article here.

Alabama School Provides Transition to Adulthood Services

An Alabama school is providing postsecondary transition services for students with disabilities that bridge the gap between high school and college or independent living.

Horizons School was established in 1991 as an initiative of the UAB School of Education, the school is a non-degree transition program designed for students age 18 to 26 who have learning disabilities, autism and other mild handicapping conditions.

Based in Birmingham, it is the only program of its kind in the Southeast.

“When a student finishes their grade school education with either a high school diploma or a certificate of attendance but they don’t have the living skills they need for independence, there is nothing for them. That’s really frustrating because many of our students….are on the cusp of independence when they come but not quite ready to be on their own,” said assistant director Brian Geiger.

Classes taught at Horizons School range from social skills and money management to cooking, art and fitness. Advisors work closely with new students to help them set goals that will lead to greater independence as well as solve problems they encounter.

Over time, students begin to rely on others less and themselves more.

Read more here.

Horizons School website

While many students with disabilities enter college, keeping them there is another story….

There are many success stories about students with disabilities attending college. But there is still much work to do.  This article addresses barriers to staying in college for students with disabilities.

Why Are Huge Numbers of Disabled Students Dropping Out of College?

    ….an estimated 60% of disabled young adults make it to college after high school, yet nearly two thirds are unable to complete their degrees within six years. Is this the fault of their disabilities, or is something more complex at play? The testimony of disabled students suggests that the problem lies not with their disabilities, per se, but with the numerous barriers they encounter in higher education, from failing to provide blind students with readers, to the refusal to accommodate wheelchair users in otherwise accessible classrooms.

….What can be done to improve conditions for disabled students in the United States? How do we create a more welcoming, sustainable educational environment for them? Two things are key: promoting a proud self-advocacy culture, and reforming institutional attitudes about disability.

Read the article here.

 

Students “INSPIRE”d by College Program

An  Indiana University program for students with intellectual disabilities is providing opportunities to experience college life and develop employment skills.

Central Indiana’s Franklin College is welcoming five high school students with intellectual disabilities to its campus this semester, thanks in part to a grant from Indiana University’s Institute on Disability and Community and its Center on Community Living and Careers.

The institute, a partner in the Indiana Postsecondary Education Coalition, creates programs on Indiana campuses that give students with intellectual disabilities a chance to participate in college life and obtain hands-on work experience before they begin applying for jobs in their communities.

This month, students participating in Franklin’s new INSPIRE program took part in a meet-and-greet activity on campus that served to formally introduce INSPIRE — which stands for Individual Needs in Special Places to Increase Relevant Work Experience — to Franklin College faculty, staff and fellow students.

“INSPIRE will help us get experience to get a job and help us take care of ourselves for the rest of our lives,” said Richie Olopade, a student from Center Grove High School.

Read more here.

 

 

Canadian University Program Provides Opportunities for Students with Disabilities

Acadia University offers a program for students with disabilities to experience college in the University setting.  (Kings County News, March 19, 2014)

Axcess Acadia allows learning-disabled students to succeed at university by taking an audit program that is not available elsewhere in Nova Scotia.

According to Dr. Lynn Aylward, the program, which is in its second year, was inspired by similar programs in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Dr. Cynthia Bruce of Kentville prepared an initial study validating the concept.

“We looked at their programs and thought we should definitely do that,” Aylward said. “It fit in all kinds of ways because it mixes the community together. That’s the way we live.”

Axcess Acadia students can graduate with a certificate of completion in arts, science, professional studies and interdisciplinary studies.

The program is designed for students who self-identify as having a disability – intellectual, developmental or learning – that would not meet the current admission criteria set by the university.

Read more here.