Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

What They Are Saying

"The first time it was suggested to me that one of my students apply to the IUPUI SITE Program, I could not see it at all.  Though we provide work experiences and community based instruction in functional skills through our high school Life Skills Program, the idea of my student being on a college campus each day and taking the city bus on their own to and from campus was scary and way too much of a stretch for me!  AT FIRST.  I tried to keep an open mind as I accompanied my student for a campus visit and learned more about the program.  Long story short, it was a process that ended with my student applying for the program, being accepted, and completing the program.  Honestly, I cannot believe how much he grew up in one short year… and how much he learned there!  This experience opened my eyes to different and better futures that are possible for my students.  I am so excited to have this option available for my students when they have learned all they can in our high school building."

--High School Special Education Teacher

"Students rise to the occasion.  The completely new environment and expected independence paired with training at IUPUI SITE allows capable students to shine.  Self-confidence begets self-confidence.  As a teacher, I am better at increasing the opportunities for independence within the high school setting BECAUSE of what I have seen my former students who completed the SITE Program accomplish.  One example is using the city bus system (thus decreasing the curb to curb service if students don't need it).  Sometimes as teachers we can find ourselves taking the SAFER route when the student doesn't need all the supervision we provide.  Seeing my students who have gone to SITE do so well allows me to realize that the same old thing (i.e., too many years in a high school setting) hinders growth for some students.  Some students need more than 4 years of high school, but the ones that have a place to go after those four years blossom more than those who stay the 5-8 years in a high school.   The source of reinforcement changed for my students attending SITE, from external reward provided by staff such as verbal praise, etc. to a more intrinsic sense of accomplishment and pride which prepares them for real life.  Witnessing this makes me realize that I should do more in the area of helping students feel a strong sense of accomplishment within themselves.  SITE promotes this through the program's high level of expectations, opportunities for growth and fostering of self-reliance.  As a key SITE staff member often says, “We (staff) have to know when to get out of the way.."

--High School Teacher of SITE Students

"I have witnessed the growth, independence, and increase of self-confidence and esteem of many students who have participated in SITE. Since SITE began many students have excelled in these areas and matured into young adults.  In a traditional high school classroom setting, this type of development would not have happened.  The students learn problem solving skills, how to navigate the Indy Go bus system, and how to act as a young adult around other individuals their age in a college setting."

--Transition Employment Consultant/Job Coach

"SITE students get a real taste of the realities of adult life in a setting where hand holding doesn’t take place and where the individuals are allowed to make informed choices that assist them in preparing to be adults. It has been exciting to have been a part of this opportunity with so many young adults - it truly has changed so many of their lives. Once a student exits this program they have the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to take with them in their adult life to be successful and be an active participant in their own communities."

--Adult Service Employment Consultant/Job Coach

"Martin was a student in my high school Life Skills class for 6 years.  He has an intellectual disability, visual impairment, and uses a wheelchair for mobility everywhere.  After visiting the campus, Martin wanted to go to IUPUI SITE and had to convince his mother to let him go.  He wanted to spend time on a college campus, learn how to get around the city, and not be “stuck at home” when he was done with high school.  Through his persistent self –advocacy, his mother agreed to let him participate in the IUPUI SITE Program.  Initially using the door-to-door para-transit “Open Door” system, he grew frustrated with the inconvenience and opted to use the regular city bus system.  Martin learned to ride the IndyGo bus to and from campus, which included transfers.  He was able to travel to and from campus after a short period of instruction and did so even in the worst winter weather.  While a student in SITE, he learned how to use the bus system to get wherever he wanted to go in the city.  He also learned how to plan and carry out a weekly schedule, gained career skills, participated in PE classes, learned about the many low cost/no cost activities and resources in the city, a learned how to budget his money.  He went on to additional career preparation opportunities and is now working, involved in other activities and not “stuck at home”."

--High School Special Education Teacher

"Dorell was a student in my high school class for four years and earned a certificate of completion.  He grew up in poverty in inner city Indianapolis, has a moderate intellectual disability and traumatic brain injury.  He always wanted to go to college like his sister, who went to IU Bloomington.  After being accepted into IUPUI SITE he found he loved the atmosphere of the college campus.  Having been in a school system that required uniforms, he greatly appreciated the freedom of dressing like his IUPUI peers.  He particularly enjoyed working out and learning how to keep fit in the PE/Natatorium facility as well as learning more advanced computer skills in the campus library.  I was amazed that in one short year Dorell matured, learned lots of new skills, and gained so much self-confidence."

--High School Special Ed Teacher