In partnership with Avé Maria Preparatory School, South Florida State College offers a program that is congruent with the Shepherd’s Field mission, “to provide an inclusive two-year agricultural college and supportive living experience for students of diverse abilities.” The program serves special needs high school graduates by assisting them in the development of independent living skills and employability skills, as well as the completion of agri-science course work leading to a two-year associate degree in agri-science.
This program also serves special needs high school students in our service district who have a desire to enroll in a postsecondary institution. This initiative will enable young adults with disabilities the opportunity to earn an educational credential as well as take steps toward gainful employment. This two-year pilot program for special needs students reinforces the concept of open entry, open access – a cornerstone of SFSC and the Florida College System.
Students begin by enrolling in the Landscape and Horticulture Professional college credit certificate program. During the first academic term, students will be tested, and an individualized educational plan will be drafted that establishes an exit point related to academic ability. This assessment and educational plan will allow each student to make maximum progress in the program provided by SFSC.
Our hope is that after successfully implementing this pilot project, business partners will establish scholarships and funds that will sustain this specialized postsecondary educational program.