By Meagan Wilks
AKRON — When Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation says in our mission statement that we “do whatever it takes to equip all students to be outstanding today, tomorrow and beyond”, we truly mean ALL students. Many students in our school corporation have unique social emotional and learning needs, which may require extra support and resources. In order to accomplish our mission of equipping all students, Tippecanoe Valley has implemented special programs and opportunities that address these unique student needs.
One program that provides services to unique learners is our Little Vikings Preschool. This preschool program provides special education services for students three to five years of age with developmental disabilities. Children can qualify to participate in this preschool through an educational evaluation. If parents have concerns about delays in development, they can request an educational evaluation. The assessment team will then evaluate the student and determine if the child meets the eligibility requirements of a disability. Little Vikings Preschool provides an excellent educational experience for students. The students enjoy a rich curriculum full of literature, play, social/emotional, and motor development. While following the preschool foundation standards, there is also a focus to meet the individual educational goals set for each student.
At Tippecanoe Valley we also recognize that many students have unique social and emotional needs that must be supported in order for them to be successful at school and in life. We find that these needs are growing with more and more students needing the support of our school counselors and mental health therapist. Because of this, TVSC recently applied and received a $30,000 dollar grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. to plan and implement a comprehensive counseling program in the district. This grant has allowed counselors to participate in a variety of training opportunities to help with the social and emotional needs of our students. With the implementation of a more cohesive and comprehensive counseling plan, we know that all students will benefit.
The Functional Skills Program at Tippecanoe Valley High School provides a unique learning experience. During the school day, students in the Functional Skills Program participate in Community Employment Opportunities where they travel to businesses in the community and learn job skills in the natural environment. We have partnered with many different business in the Tippecanoe Valley area including, Bourbon Street Pizza, Hoffman’s Body Shop, Viking Foods, Clay’s Flooring and Interiors, Teel’s Restaurant, Java Jack’s, Little Vikings Preschool, Gagnon Motors and the Fulton County Animal Center to provide real life work experience for students. Research says that many students are not prepared for the workforce after high school. At TVSC we strive to provide our students with the skills necessary to enter the workforce with knowledge to find and maintain successful employment after high school.
In order for some students to be successful and meet the requirements to graduate from high school they may need a unique learning environment as an alternative to the traditional classroom. Burket Educational Center, our Alternative Education Program, provides this opportunity. At Burket, high school students are able to work at their own pace to master classes and earn credits through an online program called APEX. To date, Burket Educational Center has had 296 students graduate who might not have in the traditional high school setting. Every year a special graduation ceremony is held in the historical Burket Gymnasium to celebrate students’ success of graduation.
Through the implementation of these program and opportunities at TVSC, we see the success of students who have a variety of unique learning needs. TVSC is truly committed to the continued success of ALL students.