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Options for High School Students Who are Legally Blind

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Students who wouldn’t have been able to graduate high school are now able to do so from The Hadley School for the Blind. What an exciting accomplishment and opportunity for the students we serve! Students as young as 18 to seniors in their seventies are examples of the agroups that receive a diploma through the School. Because of frustration with local schools that don’t offer quality vision services or accessible course formats, students who are blind or have low vision face difficulties in passing the state-required exit exam for graduation, not being able to travel long distances, and simply losing interest in high school are some reasons students why students choose to pursue a diploma from Hadley; our diploma program allows these students to accomplish their lifelong goal of earning a diploma at home and at their own pace.

What about those students currently enrolled in their “local” schools? What do we offer to help keep them in school and on track with their sighted peers?

We are able to transfer high-school credits to local high schools for those visually impaired teenagers who want to graduate from their home school. This program helps many blind and visually impaired teens the ability to graduate with their peers.

Here are three more ways that blind and visually impaired teens have used Hadley’s courses to help them cross that home-school stage at graduation:

  • Transfer Credits
    The local school considers many factors when allowing a transfer of credit from another school. The local school typically selects courses that are not available through their curriculum. In addition, they consider the student’s abilities and disabilities and their individual time frame for completion. They carefully consider how students can utilize their time productively to reach their graduation goals, such as during the summer months when some courses may not be available. The Hadley High School Program works well for these students as Hadley enrollment is open year-round.

    The local school is required to approve the course(s) taken prior to submitting the Hadley Enrollment Application to apply. Courses in the areas of history, math, science and electives are taken by these students, and they are counted as credit at the local school.

  • Preparatory Work:
    Students that need to “brush up” on some skills or want to learn the basics can take courses, such as Basic English Skills 1 and 2, Pre-Algebra, or technology courses. Those who want to improve their communication skills may take Braille, Keyboarding or Effective Listening. Most students take these courses during the summer because when they start a similar course in the fall, they already know the basics and are able to excel. Some even take these courses during the school year while attending their local school, which they can transfer these credits if the local school approves. Sometimes this allows the student to take more advanced courses at their home school after taking a basic course with us.
  • Home School Opportunities:
    Many parents choose to homeschool their children. They may need assistance in teaching the high-school curriculum or teaching a variety of learning experiences for their child. The student who is blind or visually impaired can choose to take a self-paced course at Hadley. Parents and the Hadley instructors strive to ensure that the student is offered the opportunity to learn, comprehend and master the tools they need to succeed.

We are very proud of the courses we offer and the graduates who took advantage of them. The courses meet the DETC and NCA accreditation standards, and are self-paced and taught by our well-credentialed instructors. Courses are available on DTB, online, in large print, or braille. All high school courses are tuition-free and are open to anyone who is over the age of 14-years-old and legally blind.

For more information or to enroll, please visit hadley.edu, contact Hadley High School Coordinator and Director of Student Services, Karen Woodfork at woodfork@hadley.edu, or call 800-323-4238.

This article was written by a staff member at Hadley School for the Blind.