The learning triad

A coordinated approach to college readiness

Our Learning Triad approach ensures that students have a built-in support system so that everyone is on board in collaboratively and proactively developing a plan to address key college readiness skills including O&M, technology, executive functioning, independent living, academics and more.

Compass is a virtual, two-semester enrichment 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 gaps in knowledge and skills that are considered essential to college readiness, and supports students in setting achievable goals.

The results provide a solid framework for future planning.

Icons of a student with a white cane, a school building and a family home

The Compass experience

I am grateful for the coaches who helped me to prepare for college in areas that were not being addressed at school. I generally feel more ready for college and my family feels the same way.”

Jack, Compass student

Compass from the educator perspective

Making an impact on college-aspiring high school students — and their educators.

In this interactive information session, you’ll hear from the Compass coaches as well as a TVI who has participated in the program. The discussion focuses on their experience in Compass and the impact it’s had on their students.

For more, check out these sessions: Introducing the College Readiness Resource Center and Compass, from the student perspective.

Why Compass works

100% of graduates report having a greater understanding of the many ways they can gain skills to meet post-secondary goals.

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, but we are flexible and make this work on your time.

In these sessions, coaches support families and educators as they learn to foster the student’s growing independence.

Action planning

Working closely with the student, the Compass Coach will explore interests and values to develop an Action Plan. This individualized plan encompasses unique goals and will be the result of collaboration with the student’s family and educators — but with the student leading the way to future enrichment opportunities based on greater awareness of their skills and goals.

Weekend workshops

Compass Coaches lead monthly workshops for all participants — an opportunity for students, families and educators to connect and create networks of support. These dynamic, interactive panels of current college students, disability services officers, parents and others offer a well-informed, strengths-based perspective to help participants grow in their understanding of the many paths to attaining their goals.

Alumni community

Our College Success Alumni Community grows every year, forming an early, meaningful opportunity for connection and growth.

The Compass approach

Leslie Thatcher Director of College Success and Compass coach

“Students need to be addressed with a student-centered approach — multidimensionally, earlier, more holistically than what we’ve done traditionally — in order to increase independence and get them to their full potential.”

Navigator is a new, pilot program designed to support young adults with visual impairments, who have graduated from high school, but are looking for more support and direction as they plan their next steps. Navigator offers assessment of current skills, and offers one on one coaching, as recommended and determined in coordination with you and the Navigator team.

What can you expect from Navigator?

  • Assessments
  • Coaching
  • Guidance
  • Future planning

Have questions about Pre-ETS funding for Compass?

Compass meets the criteria for Pre-Employment Transition Services. Students who participate in the program may be eligible for funding through their state agency for the blind. Additional funding sources may include support from the student’s school district or private pay.

Meet our team

  • A woman smiling

    Leslie Thatcher

    Director, Program Development and Strategy, Perkins Transition Center
    Meet Leslie
  • A woman smiling

    Andrea Rutherford

    Director, Compass and Compass Coach
    Meet Andrea
  • Adelaide Kelly Massoud

    Associate Director, College Success @ Perkins
    Meet Adelaide
  • headshot of candice cole

    Candice Cole

    Assistant Director, College Success @ Perkins
    Meet Candice


Find out more about Compass, a College Success @ Perkins program.

Give us a call! Our admissions team is ready to answer any questions you might have and help you determine if Compass is right for your student. Contact Compass today!

Compass is for high school students who are blind or visually impaired who aspire to go to college, are motivated to succeed, open to feedback, and willing to put forth the effort necessary to reach and complete college. Students in 9th through 11th grades are strongly encouraged to apply (the earlier the better to increase college readiness), but 12th grade students and fifth-year seniors may also be considered.

Compass is a nine-month program, during which we both leverage the power of one-on-one coaching (meeting your student where they are, and helping them to grow in their self awareness) and in the Action Plan, which is implemented with the student’s Learning Triad, all over time.

Time allows a few things. It allows changes in understanding in not only the student, but the family as well. It empowers the TVI to learn new skills and to have time and support to develop new structures in a student’s school day. In short, it’s adding time “on” in intentional, constructive ways that lead to growth.

Let’s talk college readiness.

Ready to make a plan?

If you want to know more about Compass, we want to know more about you. Our Admissions team is here to answer all your questions about Compass.

Join the conversation.

Our team is committed to changing the way students with blindness and visual impairment prepare for their post-secondary journeys.