Why Compass?

It’s never too early to start thinking about college readiness – and we know first-hand how much it matters.

Based on the blind and visually impaired high school students we’ve worked with:

Only 60% were able to cross residential / commercial streets independently Only 50% self-report they can type 40 words-per-minute (WPM). (And even fewer actually can!) 46% are not using electronic calendars / reminders
Why it matters:

Navigating a college campus is tricky enough – having the O&M skills to do it safely and independently are key!
Why it matters:

College-level work requires speeds of 60 WPM (or more!)
Why it matters:

Time management skills are critical to building independence and a foundation for success beyond high school

Compass addresses these key college readiness skills – O&M, technology, executive functioning, independent living, academics and more – with students in grades 9 through 11, as well as their families and their TVIs. This “Learning Triad” ensures that students have a built-in support system and that everyone is on board in developing a plan.

“As parents, we are so grateful for the support and knowledge we receive through this incredible program! Our son looks forward to his weekly coaching sessions as well as the virtual workshops, meeting other students with vision impairments. He is inspired by his Compass Team and feels confident in the steps needed to approach his college journey.”
– John G.

Why does it work?

  • Students don’t learn in isolation: they’re impacted by the actions and language of those around them, at home, at school, and in their community.
  • The Compass program engages current research on adolescent development and learning to create an innovative, powerful enrichment growth experience for students, families and educators.
  • Our expert coaches provide and encourage experiences that challenge each student and offer authentic feedback about skills, and areas for growth.
  • We are building and fostering an “I can do this” mindset resulting in empowerment in skills like self advocacy, self determination or motivation and emotional resilience.
  • We help students and their teams create action plans individually tailored for each students’ secondary goals and post secondary journey.

What is The Learning Triad?

The Learning Triad, an essential component of Compass, strives to bring together these three players in a student’s life:

a triangle highlighting three topics: student, family, tvi
  • Student
  • Family (one or more family members)
  • TVI (an educational team member, typically the student’s Teacher of the Visually Impaired)

The Learning Triad is guided by a Compass Coach. As a student gets older, and anticipates life after high school, many unknowns arise. Establishing this solid partnership – and a consistent, comfortable approach to this work across multiple environments – early can help minimize surprises along the way and put each member of the team in a better position to address gaps in the system.

"The Compass Coaches really bring knowledge and passion to the work. Coaching is such a productive and effective model and has allowed me to have a few moments a week to really reflect on how to best design my work and help prepare my student for the college process. The whole team has already seen increased independence in my student. The coordination between all legs of the triad definitely make an impact!" –Kerry, TVI

What to expect

Compass is a two-semester, nine-month program. In September, the program kicks off with each member of the Learning Triad completing the Perkins College Readiness Checklist – a resource that helps to identify proficiency in essential college readiness skills essential as well as areas for improvement.

The results provide a framework for planning in the future that’s grounded in clear communication: with a shared understanding of the complex parts of college readiness, from blindness skills, to academic skills, to a growing sense of self, the Learning Triad works together to support their student.

From there, the teams get to work! Here’s what to expect:

  • Weekly meetings: Coaches meet weekly with each part of the Triad for up to an hour – up to 30 hours each! We know you’re busy – we are flexible and can make this work on your time. In these sessions, coaches will explore the results of the College Readiness Checklist, supporting families and educators as they learn to foster a students’ growing independence.
  • Action planning: Working closely with the student, the Compass Coach will explore a student's interests and values. Together they will develop an Action Plan, typically by January. This Action Plan can encompass unique goals, and will be the result of collaboration with the student’s family and educators – but with the student leading the way.
  • Weekend workshops: Compass Coaches lead monthly workshops for all participants. Students, families and educators can form connections, and create networks of support through this shared experience. Workshops include panels of current college students, disability services officers, parents and others who can help our participants grow in their understanding of the many paths to attaining their goals from a well-informed, strengths-based perspective.
  • Alumni community: Appropriate mentors impact outcomes for students. Our College Success Alumni community grows every year, forming an early, meaningful opportunity for connection and growth.