Community Agencies Support Students

Community Agencies Offer In-School Supports For Students
Posted on 02/01/2019
ARC staff visit MOBOCESThe Alternative and Special Education division has begun new collaborations with two community agencies to enhance student success during and after graduation. 

In January, the division kicked off the Roadway to Employment program, a transition initiative for special needs students, with The Arc of Madison Cortland. Through the program, two transition specialists from The Arc will work with eligible students with developmental disabilities who are aging out of school to help them develop and prepare for post-secondary goals. These goals could include securing employment, preparing for college or enrolling in vocational services. 

MOBOCES is first partner in this program, which The Arc developed with grant support.

“The goal of the program is to create a coordinated transfer for students to work experiences and community employment opportunities,” stated Jack Campbell, Executive Director of The Arc of Madison Cortland.

The transition specialists’ support could include connecting students with community agencies, reviewing their employability profile, working with teachers and parents, contacting colleges about program requirements, and helping to identify students’ skills, strengths, interests and goals. 

“We’re excited they are working with us and that we can offer this type of support to our students,” said Jim Weaver, Director of Alternative and Special Education at MOBOCES.

The launch of Roadway comes about a month after another partnership that offers students in-school supports through a community agency.

KO staff and studentIn December, Kids Oneida began sending a care coordinator to campus two days a week. The coordinators, part of the CNY Health Home initiative, help students and families access medical, mental health and support services in the community. The initiative is part of the division’s overall efforts to address student wellness and increase participation in school. 

The new collaboration builds on an existing partnership with Kids Oneida through the Elementary STARRS program. That program has KO staff, including behavior specialists and a psychiatric nurse, embedded into classrooms and on-site daily. The new care coordinators will be open to students from any on-campus program.

Weaver said both initiatives bring a greater level of service coordination and case management right into the school. This makes it easier for students and families to determine their needs, connect with resources and access services because it helps eliminate a number of barriers. 

“If a family has to look up an agency number, take time off work, schedule a visit, drive there – there are a lot of things that could prevent that from happening,” Weaver said. “Here, a care coordinator will help a student and family really understand their needs and options and then coordinate service providers coming to the school.”

He said bringing in support services and case managers fits into the overall MOBOCES mission of meeting individual student needs and helping all students become successful. 

“There’s a greater recognition that schools are a natural connecting point for many things,” Weaver said. “The kids are already here and we’re already working with them and their families, so this is another piece of that.”