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Beyond Academics Heads Back to Campus

Graduation1The University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s (UNCG) Integrative Community Studies program starts their school year on Monday with the largest freshmen class they’ve seen since they began in 2009.  

Students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) enrolled in this four-year certificate program are supported by Beyond Academics, a non-profit partner of the university.

Many of the people Monarch supports in Guilford County are part of the program which emphasizes higher education, self-determination, community inclusion, career development and independent living for those with I/DD.

Sarah Portee, Beyond Academics program director, said she’s excited to see the students return to campus and especially for the seniors to be able to put what they’ve learned over the past three years into practice.

Senior year is a big milestone for those in the program. Each student is enrolled in a senior seminar, as well as career classes and an internship to prepare for life after college. Those in the Beyond Academics program also plan group outings, volunteer opportunities and time together to have fun or learn new career skills.

“I am looking forward to working with the people we support and watching them learn, grow and accomplish their goals this year,” Portee said.

The program had 11 graduating seniors this past year. Four of those graduates, Kaitlyn Dawson, Rebecca DiSandro, Bradford West and Tommy Thel are supported by Monarch through the Beyond Academics program.

Click here to watch the video of Joan Johnson, executive director of Beyond Academics, share more about the program and Monarch's partnership.

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