Mission of the Program:
The mission of the Academy Plus Transition Program is to provide education and experiences designed to increase transition skills. The program serves as a significant transition step before students leave the educational setting and enter the adult world. The Academy Plus Transition Program prepares students for the following areas: home living and personal care, community work, use of community resources, self-directed leisure and recreation activities, academic preparation for post-secondary education, and job-related skills development for gainful employment.
Students are considered for the program if they meet the following requirements: 1) ages 18-21, 2) meet State of Minnesota criteria for Blind/Visually Impaired services, 3) completed high school academic requirements toward graduation, has an unsigned diploma, is currently on an IEP, 4) has Rehabilitation or State Services for the Blind Counselor, 5) possesses the ability to work toward managing personal care areas semi or fully independently and 6) the ability work toward applying and integrating learned skills.
The Academy Plus Transition Program consists of three levels of instruction. Students are evaluated for an initial placement and are potentially eligible to move between levels upon further evaluation and instruction.
Level 1: Students at this level will participate in structured classes with emphasis on compensatory skill building and functional living skills. The primary focus will be to develop skills to prepare them for supported employment and assisted living. Students will live within a fully supervised dormitory setting.
Level 2: Students at this level will participate in classes that emphasize post-secondary readiness and the skills to live semi or fully independently. The primary focus will be to develop skills to prepare them for unsupported employment and post-secondary options. Students will live either within a fully supervised dormitory setting or in a supervised on-campus apartment.
Level 3: Students at this level will participate in classes that emphasize post-secondary exploration and advanced independent living skills. The primary focus will include taking a class room a post-secondary school and preparing for unsupported employment. After a comprehensive living skills assessment has been completed and a determination has been made that they meet the required criteria, students will have the opportunity to live in an on-campus, semi-supervised residence.
MSAB currently has an on-campus apartment and house which are environments designed not only as a residence for students but to allow for continued practice and acquisition of skills under staff supervision and direction.
Students in the MSAB Academy Plus Program who are at an intermediate level of skill have the opportunity to live in the on-campus apartment which has staff support in the evenings. The staff works with the student(s) in the apartment on home living skills which include cooking, cleaning, budgeting, purchasing food, etc. Students in the MSAB Academy Plus Program, who are at the highest level of skill and are able to live independently with minimal oversight, have the opportunity to reside in the Academy Plus house.