Class Descriptions: 2019-2020
Each student’s schedule is individually designed based on the skills, goals and self-awareness they bring into the program.
Our classes address blindness, and academic skills and take place both on campus at the historic Perkins Watertown campus and around the Boston metro area. We holistically address the complex needs of young adult growth and development, from skill development to identity formation, with the goal of creating independent young adults and well-informed college students.
Because of the emotional component of this depth of growth, we also provide optional counseling to all students, to allow support for students as they reevaluate and explore their skills, likes and dislikes, and challenge their assumptions about their world.
We are preparing our students with robust mainstream skills to take on a mainstreamed world!
Typically, in the fall semester, students are in class between 17 and 20 hours per week, not including homework and activities associated with the residential experience. In the spring semester, students will be enrolled in 1-2 college courses, based on placement testing, goals and interests. We view every moment as a learning moment.
Students are holistically assessed in the fall, early winter, and spring across all skill and personal growth areas.
Orientation and Mobility (3 hours/week)
O&M is a rigorous, individually designed class, taught by a certified O&M specialist and designed to empower young adults to fully engage with their world. Students participate in approximately three hours of individual O&M. Additionally, students will participate in group lessons such as Airport Travel Tips, Train Travel and International Travel.
Independent Living Skills (3 hours/week)
Taught by a certified VRT, ILS at College Success focuses on developing independence in all the range of tasks of daily living, including essential skills such as laundry, cooking, shopping and organization. Additionally, classes help students develop an awareness of their own preferences as they engage in the adult world. Thus, they explore topics ranging from clothing choices for different career goals, to managing bills, mailing documents, and many other skills necessary for adult living. Goal setting occurs on a regular basis, determined by our students, and informed by individual conversations and best practices.
Combined Classes (varies)
Due to the interconnectedness of blindness skills, classes in the spring semester are often co-taught at sites throughout the region, as student skills, self awareness of personal goals, and confidence increase.
Individual Tech Tutorials
After thorough assessments on skills, students will meet for up to three hours per week with an assistive technology teacher, to establish and refine the essential skills needed for independence in college classes and life.
As needed, we offer braille classes, as time allows, to students, based on needs and past exposure.
Academic Skills (1-2 hours/week)
We recognize that many college-bound students arrive at college without the necessary skills to manage the demands of college-level work. Additionally, we understand that incidental learning contributes significantly to learning these skills. Therefore, College Success offers students one-on-one skills tutorials from a learning specialist with extensive experience working with college-bound students on everything from time management to critical reading skills and college-level writing.
College Counseling (1 hour/week)
As needed, College Success students will have the chance to work with an experienced college counselor, who has worked in the field for nearly 30 years, allowing students to make informed decisions about the types of colleges that meet their emergent understanding of interests, academic curiosities, and skills. Support in college visits, application completion, and financial aid will be available, if needed.
Residential Life (24/7)
Advisors, socializing, meal planning and preparation, classes, activities, event planning, leadership opportunities including running our House Meetings. Our world is broad here as we live and learn in Watertown, Mass., a community on the edge of the vibrant communities of Cambridge and Boston, and full of public transportation options to allow independence in management of daily life, commuting to class, with staff back at the dorm to support problem solving and resilience.
Student life classes include: Self defense, and volunteers are available to support independence at local gyms, if desired. Additionally, students will attend the Abilities Expo in Boston in September, opening up a wide range of activities that they can sign up for to explore new avenues of interests and abilities.
Speaker series includes adults who have successfully navigated college and careers with a visual impairment.
ResLife classes include: Wellness, Dress for Success, SSI and You, Conflict Resolution, Makeup Lessons.
Fall Semester Courses
Tech Bootcamp (with one-on-one tutorial 3 hours/week for first semester)
Designed to kickstart students’ independence in technology so that they can access and manage their lives fully, and access their learning efficiently and effectively. Taught by a CATIS-certified tech instructor as well as a certified TVI, this innovative, demanding course will both provide the skills as well as the foundation for independent problem-solving that sets an independent college student apart from those who struggle.
Intro to Psychology (3 hours/week for 2 months)
This course is designed to mimic the demands of college-level work, including reading load, vocabulary acquisition, note-taking and writing. This course works to implement and practice the skills introduced during Tech Bootcamp, while authentically reflecting areas for growth in skills, in order to lead to college-level success. Students will have the opportunity to practice advocating with a disability services office (DSO) for accommodations, and to manage office hours, among many other skills.
The College Experience (1 hour/week for 2 months)
This course, taught by a certified TVI, explores the range of issues, advocacy skills, and rights that a successful college student not only needs to know, but also needs to be able to act on in order to effectively access their curriculum and the full range of learning opportunities in college.
Under the lead of a certified TVI, in collaboration with our VRT and Orientation and Mobility specialist, students will explore and analyze a variety of community settings with a focus on identifying the range of jobs and careers that contribute to so many organizations.
Job Skills Coaching and Placement
With one-on-one coaching throughout the fall, and into the spring, students will explore strengths, interests and learning from Community Mapping to learn skills in communication, logistics and professional behavior related to two job shadow opportunities of nine hours each.
Spring Semester Courses
In addition to year-round blindness and academic skills tutorials, coaching and classes, students will put their evolving skills and confidence into practice in up to two courses at local colleges, matched for student goals, both academically and personally. Students will be required to take any mandatory placement tests, and to enroll in courses for which they qualify. In addition to academic support provided from the College Success team, students will learn how to engage independently with their college DSO for services.
Job Skills Coaching (1 hour/week)
Job Skills Coaching continues into spring semester, shifting focus to communication skills, preparing for job shadow placements, and analyzing the experience.
Social Experience Classes (varies)
Ranging from Dress for Success, to Socializing for the College Student and Conflict Management, students will have the opportunity to explore and learn on a variety of topics important for independence as young adults. Topics will vary based on student interest and needs.