Newark Public Schools Special Education Students Participate in Transition to College Day


Newark Public Schools partners with Disability Allies, NJIT to match high school students with college mentors

[Newark, NJ – April 11, 2016] – Newark Public Schools (NPS) is partnering with Disability Allies and the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) to create a mentorship program between high school and college students to help young people prepare for college and a 21st century career. Students and mentors were paired together on Friday, April 8 at the first-ever “Transition to College Day” at NJIT, in which Newark high school students were matched with their NJIT student-mentors based upon shared interests and career aspirations.

“Newark Public Schools is excited about our partnership with Disability Allies and NJIT that will help our young people realize their college and career goals earlier in life,” said Christopher Cerf, Superintendent of NPS. “It is important for our students to understand the impact a college education can have on their futures, and being mentored by current NJIT students will help more of our young people continue their education and consider pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering and math.”

Special Education juniors and seniors from University High School and Science Park High School attended “Transition to College Day” and participated in a variety of team building activities with current NJIT students that focused on promoting teamwork and social skills, individual growth and understanding disabilities. Special education students from Elizabeth, West Orange and Millburn also participated.

The NJIT students participating in the mentor program currently major in a wide variety subjects, including forensic science, architecture, accounting, engineering, computer programming, pre-law, law enforcement, performing arts and business. Friday’s event focused on helping Newark high school students understand the kind of work that is involved in the major they are considering studying. Students also had an opportunity to speak with an NJIT admissions counselor to learn more about the application process.

“This mentorship program will allow young adults, both with and without disabilities, to learn from each other by coming together to discuss the unique experiences and challenges that college will offer them,” said Ross Yellin, the Founder and President of Disability Allies, one of the event organizers. “Friday’s event helped students understand what to expect when entering college, become more confident about their abilities to succeed in college, and inspire them to see college as a viable option after high school graduation.”

Disability Allies also hosted an interactive workshop that focused on providing students with the following information:

  • Transitioning to college
  • Developing different learning strategies
  • Receiving accommodations
  • Student involvement in different campus activities
  • Building positive relationships with roommates and peers
  • Career advice

Throughout the workshop, mentors provided guidance and feedback to each high school student to ensure that they develop a strong idea of what to expect while enrolled in college and understand the diverse experiences that college will offer them.