"Community College” for Students with Disabilities in Chicago

At Southside Occupational Academy in Chicago, students ages 16-21 attend this transition center that is a part of the Southside public school system. This type of high school helps special education students to transition into independent adult living.

As an education major, I have taken courses about how to teach students with disabilities, and the most important things they need to know is how to independently live after they leave school and how to be active members of the community.

Southside Occupational Academy gives this type of curriculum to its students but as more of a post-high school experience. Joshua Long, the school’s principal, wants his students to complete four years of mainstream high school before coming to his school. “I say this a lot to high schools: You’re the ones who know how to do high school, and you do it best,” Long said during an interview with Politico Magazine. “We look at ourselves as similar to a technical or community college.”

To the staff and administration at Southside Occupational Academy, keep up the awesome work of helping your students have the best possible future!