Nomination: Special Education Instruction
School: Penn Yan Academy/Keuka College/Yates County ARC
District: Penn Yan Central School District
Region: Mid West
Grade Level: High School
The practice is also featured as a Mentor School.
The DRIVE Program is a campus-based transition program which provides young adults with cognitive disabilities the skills and supports necessary to succeed at living, learning, and finding meaningful employment. DRIVE is based on a collaborative partnership between the Penn Yan Academy of Penn Yan Central School District, Yates County ARC, and Keuka College.
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Penn Yan Central School District is a rural district that serves students within a 175-mile radius in the Finger Lakes region. About 21% of the students are living in poverty, and 58% receive free or reduced lunches. Thirteen percent of students are identified as students with a disability.
The DRIVE program is designed to serve the needs of 18-21 year old students with disabilities who have developmental delays by providing an opportunity to pursue their long-term adult outcomes (LTAO) on the campus of Keuka College. This program is a collaborative effort between the Penn Yan School District, Yates County ARC, and Keuka College. The goals of the program are to:
Why was the practice initiated:
When staff from Yates County ARC attended a Monroe #1 BOCES Transition Site presentation several years ago featuring Meg Grigal, Ph.D., their awareness of Transition program needs was raised. This information immediately became pertinent for a Penn Yan student scheduled to exit school with an IEP diploma; although exiting, the student's Long Term Adult Outcomes indicated additional areas the district would need to address. In response, the district partnered with ARC and, working with an internal catalyst within Keuka College, began to advocate for a pilot campus-based program to address this student's needs. The three organizations built on the successful experience of the student at the heart of that first pilot placement to grown the program for other students with similar needs.
Why the practice was validated by S³TAIR:
As Keuka College President Dr. Joseph G. Burke notes, "The DRIVE program is conducted in a seamless partnership, a rare find to have. There are no mis-firings in this triangulated partnership." The people working in this project have been creative in building a practice that aligns with state guidelines for serving the target population in a manner that produces significant positive outcomes not only for the targeted students with disabilities, but also for typical Keuka College students and faculty and the community at large. A DRIVE student's admission into the program begins with a comprehensive "person-centered planning" session, where they identify their "circle of support" and address central questions:
The DRIVE curriculum for each student is then designed based on that student's personal goals and dreams for the future.
Students are required to take classes in the four core academic subjects
of English, social studies, math and science; instruction is
differentiated in these classes to meet their varying needs. All
students are also required to take at least one typical college course,
depending upon their personal interests. Students also take life skills
classes, and are assigned work-study placements within the community.
All DRIVE students are fully integrated into Keuka College; they have
college identification cards, and full access to food services, the
library and the Physical Arts Building. Students have joined campus
clubs and attend many campus events. Paid peer mentors have the
responsibility of assisting DRIVE students in academic classes and
integrating them into campus life.
To date, DRIVE has enrolled 24 students, and has a 100% retention rate for its 4-year existence, with all students obtaining a wide-spectrum of successful field/work experience. In addition, the college recognizes positive outcomes for typical Keuka College students; their participation enhances their opportunities for field experience while transforming their perception of persons with cognitive disabilities. Keuka College faculty benefit as well, enriching and extending their understanding and application of Universal Design for Learning.