Considerations for 4+ Programs
Considerations for 4+Programs is a helpful cheat sheet to use in determining steps needed to take when considering if a 4+ program is appropriate for students.
There are many factors to consider as the IEP team weighs what the best options are for the students, and these should be the starting point in the discussions:
- Can the Course of Study be changed to give additional vocational classes in their area of interest while the student is still in high school? (CNA, welding, etc.)
- If the student’s schedule does not currently accommodate these classes, can they return for an additional semester or two of high school?
- Could the student benefit from a district School–to–Work program for job exploration and to learn employability skills?
The IEP team determines if unmet vocational needs cannot be met through the high school programming. If they cannot, then further conversations during the student’s junior year may be necessary.
** NOTE: Discussing the option of a 4+ program does not mean that the team is formally recommending it at that time. The student may need to demonstrate improved attendance, improved social/emotional skills, etc. prior to the team making their final recommendation during the student’s senior year.
4+ Programs in Iowa
Participation in a 4+ program is the decision of the student’s IEP team. 4+ programs are intended to give students vocational and life skills that will increase independence in adulthood. The student remains on the home district special education roster so the school pays for the tuition, fees, and special education support. There are multiple 4+ options for students in Iowa, yet each program has its own unique design. Districts do not have to support specific programs, so obviously location to districts is an important consideration. Below are links to 4+ programs in Iowa:
ACCESS – Eastern Iowa Community College in Bettendorf
RISE – Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa
SAVE – Iowa Lakes Community College in Emmetsburg
SPAN – Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon
STEP – Southeastern Community College in Burlington
STRIVE – Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny
SUCCESS – Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City
VITAL – Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids
4Plus Program – Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs