Indiana Wesleyan University has signed an agreement with Marion Community Schools to provide services for students with disabilities, offering a chance at an easier transition from school to adult life.
"The intent of this partnership is to provide a college-level experience," said Dr. James Elsberry, associate dean for the School of Teacher Education, "including access to the library, selected classes and work, social and chapel opportunities, among others."
The program is for students in Marion Community Schools who are between 18 and 21 years of age and have not yet earned a high school diploma.
"Access to the IWU campus offers opportunities to assist the students to develop critical life skills in the areas of lifelong learning, employment, social/recreation and general independence," states the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between IWU and Marion Community Schools.
The MOU stipulates that IWU and Marion Community Schools work together to provide "free and appropriate public education" with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for each student. IWU will allow the students to take college classes, without credit, with the support of mentors from MCS and/or IWU.
The plan is to allow the students to experience the IWU community with as few restrictions as possible, providing opportunities to interact and form relationships with IWU students. "Programs like these are a part of our Wesleyan mandate to serve the needs of the whole world," said Dr. David Wright, IWU president. "We are committed to growing every student who comes onto our campus in character, scholarship and leadership."
The program has already started; five students and two teachers are currently on campus, with instruction currently taking place in Goodman Hall every afternoon. Plans are to expand the program this coming fall.
Indiana Wesleyan University is an evangelical Christian comprehensive university of The Wesleyan Church. The University, founded in 1920, is committed to global liberal arts and professional education. Nearly 3,000 students are enrolled in traditional programs on the University's main campus in Marion, Indiana. Nearly 12,500 adult learners attend classes at education centers in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, and online.