Students in the Burlington County Special Services School District’s transition program will soon have the opportunity to dual-enroll in college courses, the district announced Wednesday.
The program will offer college coursework at Rowan College at Burlington County to those in BCSSSD’s transition program, which provides life skills, vocational training and job placements to 18- to 21-year-old students with disabilities.
“Our goal is to provide eligible students the opportunity to sample college courses, be exposed to the college life and campus and determine if college is a good fit for them,” said BCSSSD Superintendent Christopher Nagy. “To many of our students, college is just a word. Our goal is for students to get a feel of the college life and determine if college will be a pathway for them in their future.”
Nagy said a handful of students from BCSSSD’s high school pursued secondary education after graduation. At present, two transition students are enrolled at Rowan College at Burlington County in mathematics courses, and after seeing their peers’ experiences, more students are showing interest in enrolling for the coming spring in courses like English and philosophy, he said.
While enrolled at RCBC, transition students can participate in all of the college’s student activities and make use of its services. Officials said they hope the program allows students to further their independent living skills while growing more comfortable in a college or work environment.
Nagy said BCSSSD general and one-to-one staff will accompany transition students to RCBC’s campus to offer further support. All RCBC students can apply to be in the college honors eligible students’ individual education programs, or IEPs — which outlines extra help students need — and free tutoring through the Student Success Center.
“The role of the BCSSSD support staff is to ensure a successful transition into the college,” Nagy said. “In addition, BCSSSD staff members are trained to phase out their support and promote independence, increase responsibility and foster socialization with other college students on campus.”
Nagy said transition students will have the option to continue their college coursework after participating in the pilot program, and could potentially use their studies in a future vocation.“This innovative model of supporting students with special needs is a giant step for ensuring that all students have access to post-secondary education,” Nagy said. “We are confident that this pilot program will become a cornerstone of equity in advanced education for students with disabilities.”