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Groundbreaking program prepares special needs students for college

Partnering with Farmingdale State College’s “University in the High School,” Nassau BOCES now provides dual-enrollment opportunities for special needs high school students. The program offers college credit to juniors and seniors at several Nassau BOCES Special Education schools including the Center for Community Adjustment, Career Preparatory High School and Iris Wolfson High School.

The goal of the program is two-fold: first, to increase the success of college-bound special education students and second, to increase college awareness among special needs high school students. Current course offerings are The College Experience and Career Planning, which have the compound benefits of preparing students for life after high school as they earn college credit. Next year, available course offerings will be expanded to include a course on criminal justice, and additional courses are currently being developed.

“Historically, college-level courses have been offered primarily to mainstream students on the presumption that only advanced learners would take these classes,” said School Psychologist Dr. Linda M. Lopez, who coordinates the program for Nassau BOCES. “Special needs students face a variety of challenges every day, so looking to the future has not always been their top priority. This program helps these students to plan ahead and to consider college as a real option.” For more information about the "University in the High School" program, visit the Farmingdale State College website.