Spalding University in Louisville has become the third Institution of Higher Education in Kentucky to offer a federally approved Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP). Joining Bluegrass Community and Technical College and Murray State University, Spalding will offer a program leading to a meaningful credential for students with intellectual disabilities. SHEP is happy to have Spalding as our newest partner in our efforts to expand postsecondary opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities throughout Kentucky.
As a part of the University of Kentucky’s Supported Higher Education Project in KY (SHEP), Murray State University became the first approved Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP) in our state. CTPs are able to offer students with intellectual disabilities Pell Grants and Federal Work Study, even if they do not have a regular high school diploma. Moreover, along with KY’s new legislation allowing students who have earned an Alternate Diploma to receive Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) funds if they enroll in a CTP, this is major step forward in higher education for students with intellectual disabilities going to college in Kentucky!
May 9 was a big day for SHEP as four of our students earned credentials from their colleges. At Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Megan McCormick graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Education. Donnell Clay completed the Para-educator Certificate.
At Northern Kentucky University, SHEP students Jillian Daugherty and Ryan Mavriplis each received a College to Career Certificate. This marked the first time SHEP students have taken part in graduation ceremonies at NKU, an outcome which was overwhelmingly supported by the student body. “Students rallied around these students to support their participation,” said Dr. Missy Jones, adding that NKU President Mearns was responsible for the decision to have the ceremony be an inclusive one.
The Supported Higher Education Project is pleased to announce recent legislation benefitting Kentucky postsecondary students with intellectual disabilities. Kentucky HB 45, sponsored by Representative Carl Rollins of the 56th district, provides access to Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) funding for students enrolled in a Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Programs (CTPs). The bill was passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate, and was signed into law by Governor Beshear on March 21, 2013.
Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Programs were authorized by the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act to support students with intellectual disabilities academically and socially in postsecondary settings. Learn more about the CTP here. Murray State University has recently been approved as Kentucky’s first CTP. SHEP is currently working with Northern Kentucky University, Spalding University, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, and Eastern Kentucky University to help establish further supports for students with intellectual disabilities. The efforts by Representative Rollins and the support of Kentucky’s legislature will make a positive difference for many young adults who have not previously had opportunities to attend colleges or universities.
In November of 2012, SHEP student Grace Jones was presented with the Kentucky Council for Exceptional Children’s Yes I Can! award for her accomplishments as a student at Northern Kentucky University. Grace has completed 24 hours as a non-degree seeking student at NKU, and is the first female student with an intellectual disability to do so.
Shortly after being honored with the Kentucky award, Grace learned that she would be receiving an international Yes I Can! award as well. She and her family plan to travel to San Antonio, TX, where the award will be presented in April of 2013.
Dr. Missy Jones of NKU calls Grace “a leader in the true sense of the word” for her success in “overcoming stereotypes and demonstrating how focusing on strengths can lead to success.” All of us at SHEP would like to congratulate Grace on her successes and to thank her for her pioneering efforts on behalf of students with intellectual disabilities.
Beginning October 5, 2011, a SHEP representative will be available at the Cooper campus of Bluegrass Community and Technical College each Wednesday. All BCTC students are invited to stop in and chat with Wendy in the office for Disability Supports Services located on the first floor of the Oswald Building. She will be in the office from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM on Wednesdays to answer any questions you might have about SHEP at BCTC.