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Community of Inclusive Scholars Program


Program Overview

A student in the inclusive scholars program works on a volunteer building project.

The Community of Inclusive Scholars Program at Salem State University is a MAICEI Program; Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative. Opening its doors in the Spring of 2017, the Community of Inclusive Scholars Program offers a “college experience” to high school students with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism Spectrum Disorders from partnering school districts. MAICEI students are 18–22 years old, are unable to pass the MCAS exams or have passed MCAS but still qualify for special education services, are currently on an IEP, and are enrolled in a partnership district.

The Community of Inclusive Scholar students participate in two college courses, in both the fall and spring semester. In addition, Inclusive Scholars students will also participate in at least one identified activity or club, internship opportunities either on campus or through their school district, participate in the Gassett Fitness Center, peer tutoring, and the writing center. The ultimate goal of the Community of Inclusive Scholars Program is to prepare students for paid employment through the promotion of self-determination, self-advocacy, increased independence, and improvement of social skills.

Visit the Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (MAICEI) section of the Department of Higher Education website for more information of the MAICEI Initiative and our program here at SSU!

Application Process

We will be extending our application deadline from April 17, 2020 to July 1, 2020. Please contact us for specific questions regarding the application process, and submitting documents remotely.

All referrals must come from school districts. For more information please contact a CIS staff member. Applications are submitted jointly by the student and partnership district, and reviewed by the Community of Inclusive Scholars Committee for enrollment.

  1. Upon submission of the application, the district will schedule a team meeting with the prospective candidate, their family and team members.
  2. Upon receipt of the application, an observation will be scheduled at the student’s high school
  3. Prospective candidates and their families will participate in a visit to Salem State University to include attendance in a Salem State undergraduate course. During the visit, a personal interview will be held by the Community of Inclusive Scholars Committee with the prospective student and their family.

Admissions Criteria

  • Primary disability intellectual or autism spectrum, not behavioral or emotional
  • Age is 18-22 upon admission to the program, is their fifth year of high school and has not accepted a traditional high school diploma
  • Currently has an IEP
  • Has demonstrated they have successfully accessed accommodations and/or other instructional supports in a high school general education content area course
  • Has basic mathematics understanding and can use a calculator
  • Reading ability is on at least the third-grade level
  • Has means of independent communication
  • Has a satisfactory record of school attendance

For Students

Ideal participants will have a strong desire to go to college to learn skills that will enable them to live more independently. Participants will be considered fully matriculated students, gaining access to all extracurricular activities and academic supports.

Accepted Students:

  • Enroll in two courses per semester
  • Participate in organization and study skills class and social skills programming
  • Access peer tutoring through the Center of Academic Excellence and Writing Center
  • Access the Gassett Fitness Center
  • Participate in student organizations and clubs
  • Access paid and unpaid internships on and off campus
  • Participate in travel training

For Parents

Many parents have a desire to see their student participate in a higher education program. The Community for Inclusive Scholars Program supports parents during the transition from high school to post-secondary programming.

Parental involvement helps students:

  • Take ownership of their goals, interests, needs and creating a path to employment
  • Support their student in acquiring skills in advocacy and self-determination
  • Become independent learners and active in identifying and participating in campus activities

CIS and Remote, Online Learning

Academic Remote Learning:

  • Students will attend one SMS (health course), and one academic hybrid class 2x a week.
  • Monday schedule for all students to include; group meeting, social skills, group, Ed Coach meeting/training, 1:1 Ed Coach time with students, workshops on internet safety, organization and study skills, travel training.
  • Individual weekly meetings with Education Coordinator and Career/Job Specialist, 2x each. 
  • Students will take classes alongside typical peers. Learning remotely is part of 21st-century skills; (accessing technology across platforms and devices, using Canvas and Zoom for course/class participation).
  • Continued academic supports are in place.
  • Continued support by Education Coordinator with SSU faculty and Ed Coaches.
  • SSU support systems such as the writing center, math tutors, and disability services will be continued to be provided.
  • CIS/SSU staff will provide district support with student campus scheduling, transition assistance, communication, and data on student progress.
  • Continued academic advising.

Vocational Skills and Remote Learning:

  • Remote teaching of vocational skills.
  • Continued practice on pre-vocational/vocational skills with Career and Job Specialist.
  • Prevocational skills include mock interviews, skills necessary to be a remote employee, job shadowing, remote etiquette skills; making sure to look presentable when online. Examples include: dressing appropriately, combing hair, showering daily, brushing teeth.
  • Students will participate in online job shadowing. Career Specialists will initiate and setup online job shadowing.
  • Career exploration will include Career One Stop evaluations,, Monster and LinkedIn. 
  • Continued development of communication skills, including email, telephone support, and digital skills, using Microsoft office, one drive, canvas, Zoom.
  • Students and Career Specialist will continue to update resume and references which will include: letters of recommendation, building and maintaining a LinkedIn account.
  • When a student identifies a possible career path, Career Specialist will provide student with virtual career development classes.
  • Career Specialist will provide the student with books, journals or magazines related to possible career choices.

Contact Us

Lenore Goodwin
Education Program Coordinator

Chris Lenahan
Project Coordinator

Rachel Connary
Career and Job Specialist

Office Phone Number

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