DREAM Students Complete First Semester; Demonstrate Success
After their first full semester at Mercer, the first students
in Mercer's innovative DREAM program have demonstrated their commitment
and abilities. This grant-funded pilot project accepts students
with Down Syndrome and other intellectual disabilities. All nine
of the program's original students have returned for the spring
2007 semester a 100% retention rate.
DREAM student designs his or her own program and each has a unique
set of goals, according to Dr. Susan Onaitis, grants coordinator
and part of MCCC's Academic Support Services staff.
program students in a recent job skills class with a student mentor
(second from left), Grants Coordinator Susan Onaitis, standing,
left, and instructor Kelly Borden-Joye.
semester the students did job shadowing on campus and will be doing
career internships soon. "The whole college community has really
welcomed this program," Onaitis said. "They can't do enough
to support us."
DREAM recently hosted an open house which drew a large number of prospective
students and their families. Current students participated by answering
questions, while faculty and staff presented a program overview.
their first semester, DREAM students registered for a total of 37 courses.
Two specialized classes were designed for them. All successfully completed
"Introduction to Student Success." Eight registered for "Introduction
to Career Exploration," and seven passed the course, with the eighth
expected to pass when a final project is completed. Eight students took
foundations classes and six received credit for them.
Among the students who took credit classes -- in communication, music,
art, office skills and health/phys. ed -- all received passing grades.
Six students audited classses in hospitality, Latin, office skills/keyboarding,
digital media arts and dance. All who took elective classes in areas
of interest passed their courses.
DREAM is a demonstration project funded by a grant from Laura and Steve
Riggio, through the National Down Syndrome Society. Mercer County Community
College and The College of New Jersey each received $50,000 grants each
year for three years.
on the DREAM program
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