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Post University and EdAdvance are collaborating to offer the University Pathways Program (UPP) at Post University, a new 11-month program that provides post-secondary academic, social, and vocational opportunities for students with all learning exceptionalities. The program is designed for students between the ages of 17 and 21 who currently receive special education services and have met their high school graduation requirements; however, continue to need support with their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals and objectives.

UPP includes two distinct pathways: University Students Pathway and Emerging Students Pathway. The University Students Pathway services learners who have the cognitive capacity to complete college/university level work but require supports in transition skills areas included but not limited to executive functioning, employment/vocational training, social skills, and/or independent living. The UPP learners earn up to 12 college credits upon completion of the program. The Emerging Students Pathway are not independent learners but strive for better future outcomes through exposure to vocational or functional academic skills training in a university setting and can maintain safe behavioral norms.

Post University has expanded the program to include up to 42 students for the 2019-2020 academic year. Depending on the student’s pathway and individual educational goals, the student will work with a Certified Special Education Teacher, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Counselors, Transition Coordinators, Post University Faculty and Staff, Related Service Providers, and Community Coaches. All programming will take place on the Post University campus.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Post University to provide high quality transition services to students of all learning exceptionalities. The collaboration between EdAdvance and Post provides a perfect fit to support the needs of students. We are confident the students who participate in the University Pathways Program will have a positive experience,” said Jeffrey Kitching, Executive Director of EdAdvance.

Dr. Jessica Pawlik-York, director of education programs at Post University, explained, “Our initial goal in creating a transition program was to create a positive college experience for the students coming to Post. We just completed a successful one-year pilot of a Transitions program, it is clear that the students not only had a true college experience but they became part of the Post University community. Building off our successes by expanding the program, including this partnership with EdAdvance, enables us to serve more students while meeting their individual educational needs.”

Parents of children with special needs are also crucial members of their child’s education team.

They work alongside their kids and educators to develop a plan to help their kids succeed in school and beyond.

Last September, Post University piloted a smaller version of the UPP, called the Transitions Program with ten students from four local school districts. These students were on the campus three days per week to receive personalized academic and social experiences.

For Karen Capodanno, of Middlebury, Connecticut whose son Chris was part of the pilot program, explained that the “program was just what Chris needed after high school.”

She explained that Chris gained independence while receiving guidance with his classes at Post. “There were definitely some obstacles Chris had to maneuver through, academically and socially, but the staff gave him the tools he needed to problem solve, and an ear to listen to him. He was treated as a college student, not one that was in a transition program. Being in classes with typical college students boosted his confidence, and showed him what he can do. He made friends. He gained college credits that he can take with him. He left the transition program with the confidence and ability. He can take college classes on his own. This was something he did not have after his senior year at high school,” said Capodanno.

And Chris, he made new friends and enjoyed the smaller class sizes at the university. “They were smaller so you can really get one-on-one time with a teacher,” Karen’s son Chris said, “In the Transitions class, I learned how to ask the right questions to really get what I need and how to interact with new people.”

For more information about the University Pathways Program, please contact Jillian Frey: jifrey@post.edu or Joe Kowalczyk: kowalczyk@edadvance.org