Posted on Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Submitted by Kristina Ogburn, Public Information Officer, Northern Virginia Community College

Northern Virginia Community College’s (NOVA) Alexandria Campus and College Steps has formed a new partnership to enhance the college experience for students living with autism spectrum disorders and learning and developmental disabilities. The joint program, which begins fall 2018, directly aligns with NOVA’s commitment to ensure all students have an opportunity to pursue a college education regardless of the presence or absence of a disability.

“The partnership with College Steps on the Alexandria Campus will provide additional on-site assistance for our students who require more guidance and learning support,” said NOVA-Alexandria Provost Annette Haggray. “We are thrilled to expand upon this partnership NOVA currently has with College Steps to better serve our students.”

College Steps is a nonprofit organization which supports young adults living with social, communication or learning challenges via a unique, individualized and peer-based model. With operations stretching from Vermont to Virginia, the organization serves both high school transition students interested in a college-primer experience prior to graduation, as well as students already enrolled in college. The organization’s primary goal is to prepare students for meaningful careers and autonomy after graduation, placing strong emphasis on self-advocacy, social competencies, employment and independent living skills. Students work with trained peer mentors who are supported by a full-time on-site program coordinator.

This is the third partnership between NOVA and College Steps, which have programs in place at the Loudoun and Annandale Campuses. During the first-year of the program, an anticipated 10 to 15 students will receive services at the Alexandria Campus. Approximately 30 students at NOVA’s Annandale and Loudoun campuses will enroll in College Steps for the upcoming academic year.

“We are very excited to be working with the NOVA-Alexandria Campus,” noted Lauren Merritt, College Step’s Co-Founder. “Our efforts complement the existing work of NOVA and attract additional talented students interested in our model of support. We look forward to meeting new families and community partners to collaboratively build sustainable and long-term options for transition-aged youth living with disabilities.”

Prospective students, parents, guardians, school district personnel and advocates interested in learning more about this exciting initiative are invited to attend special information sessions at the NOVA-Alexandria Campus Donald L. Bisdorf Building (AA), 5000 Dawes Avenue, Alexandria on May 3 (Room 275) and June 7 (Room 196) from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Attendees will learn about specific services offered, including the individualized support model, admissions process and associated costs.

College Steps is now accepting applications for the Fall 2018 semester. Applications submitted before May 15 will be given priority. To register, visit their website.

info@vccs.edu'

Virginia's Community Colleges

Created more than 50 years ago, the VCCS is comprised of 23 community colleges located on 40 campuses across the commonwealth. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve about 400,000 students a year in credit and workforce courses.

1 Comment

  1. ?

    Kinley Brown

    Hi Kristina, Thanks for sharing the News. Many students with autism spectrum disorders can benefit from participation in this special education programs that provide a high staff-to-student ratio and the systematic use of behavioral teaching methods.

    Reply

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