Leena Landmark

Leena Landmark

Photo courtesy of: Patton College of Education

Graffiti Wall

ACCT Boot Camp message on the Graffiti Wall

Photo courtesy of: Patton College of Education

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The Patton College partners with TCCC to advocate for college and career transition

In partnership with Tri-County Career Center (TCCC), The Patton College’s Associate Professor in Teacher Education Leena Landmark received a $77,700 grant to help TCCC students with disabilities achieve success during high school and translate that success into their postsecondary environments, whether that be college or a career.

Landmark in collaboration with Ann Hinkle, Intervention Coordinator at TCCC, and Amelia Fones, Patton College Intervention Specialist Teacher Candidate, developed a five-day Advocates for College and Career Transition (ACCT) boot camp, which took place this June.

Self-determination was the primary area of focus at the boot camp because people with disabilities who are more self-determined achieve better post-school outcomes. Students learned about choice-making, decision-making, problem-solving, goal setting, self-regulation/self-management skills, self-advocacy and leadership skills, self-efficacy and self-awareness. Guest speakers including individuals with disabilities served as role models for the students and spoke about disability awareness; student-led Individualized Education Programs (IEPs); and advocating for oneself in postsecondary education/training, employment, and independent living settings.

As part of the week’s activities, students painted Ohio University’s graffiti wall with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” This quote was selected by the students because it reinforces the concept of self-determination by taking actions to become the person one desires to be.

“Painting the wall was a chance for the students to work together and share a message that summarized what they learned during the week,” said Landmark. “It was a chance for them to send a message to the community that every person, including the person with a disability, has the right and ability to make decisions and take actions to positively affect the future.”

“The collaboration between The Patton College and Tri-County Career Center was a success because we both have a commitment to improving the post-school outcomes of local students who have disabilities,” said Hinkle. “By partnering with The Patton College we are able to offer our students experiences that other students attending Career-Technical Planning Districts in the state do not yet get to experience.

Landmark and Hinkle continue the good work in year two of the grant, which provides for the students who participated in the ACCT boot camp to serve as self-determination mentors for their peers with disabilities. The mentors will each develop a goal and related self-determination project that involves the principles taught during the ACCT boot camp. These student mentors will work to meet their goals through the related project during year two of this project.

Student mentors and mentees will convene five Saturdays during the academic school year to receive additional training and support in order to achieve their goals. Sample projects may involve teaching other students how to lead their own IEP meetings or creating a presentation on disability awareness for the entire student body. Each mentor will also be assigned a mentee within their career-technical program. The mentees will be students with disabilities, too.

“We’re excited to continue the work in the next year and a half,” said Landmark. “Our goal is to further what we started this summer and help students be self-determined and confident young adults as they enter their next chapter in life.”