Vocational Independence Program

  • Program Vision

    The Vocational Independence Program (VIP) is an 8:1+1 program for students with moderate to severe disabilities that is within the Irvington Middle/High School campus.  Students within the program are working towards their Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential by taking the NYS Alternate Assessment. The students’ individualized educational program includes developing communication, life skills, activities of daily living (ADL) and functional academics. Available related services include: Speech-Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy and are provided as mandated and outlined on a students Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

    In addition to mandated services on each IEP, students participate in a variety of group activities: daily community meetings, weekly social skills training, adaptive physical education, music therapy, adaptive art, and lunch. As appropriate, students are provided with mainstreaming opportunities within the Irvington School District and participate in various field trips within the community. Participation in the Vocational Educational Experience Program and Community Based Instruction (CBI) is a pillar of the program. It is the goal for each student to learn the skills necessary to gain successful employment or volunteer work as they transition into adult services.


    The Experimenters are the students in the Middle School VIP class and are typically 12-15 years old. The students curricular focus is to develop communication, life skills, activities of daily living (ADL) and academics. The vocational goal is to learn and develop the pre-vocational skills within the classroom necessary to be independent, productive employees in the community.  


    The Explorers are the students who have transitioned to the High School VIP class and are typically 16-18 years old. The students curricular focus continues to develop within the areas of communication, life skills, activities of daily living (ADL) and functional academics. The vocational goal is to solidify the pre-vocational skills in the classroom and transitioning building the foundation of community based instruction within the school district.


    The Travelers are the students in their final three years of the VI program and are typically 19-21 years old. The students curricular focus continues to develop and solidify within the areas of communication, life skills, activities of daily living (ADL) and functional academics. The goal is to be productive, independent, volunteer employees in community based vocational jobs.

    Mission Statement

    The mission of the Vocational Independence Program (VIP) is to support the individualized needs of students, increase communication,  and foster independence as they learn to live, work and enjoy life in their community.

    Student Profile

    • Classification: Students are classified with Intellectual Disability (ID), Autism, Other Health Impairment (OHI),  or Multiple Disabilities (MD).
    • Alternate Assessment: Students participate in New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA).
    • Intelligence: Mild to severe intellectual disability.
    • Achievement: Academic abilities and skills are significantly below grade level. Students may need additional support when working independently or in groups. Assistive technology devices may be used to support learning and interaction.
    • Health: Students can have medical needs which require a school nurse to deliver daily medications. However, our program cannot provide a nurse if students require a one-to-one nursing services in the community.
    • Behavior: Students may have mild to moderate behavior challenges, but no aggressive or self-injurious behaviors. Behavior challenges may interfere with learning and social opportunities.
    • Communication: Students may have moderate to severe communication challenges, they may be verbal or non-verbal. In addition, students may use assistive technology or sign to communicate.
    • Independent Living Skills: Students' ability to carry out functional life skills such as grooming, dressing, eating, keeping safe, and socializing (known as adaptive behaviors) are well below age expected levels.

    Program Features

    • Class Structure: Students attend an 8:1+1 self-contained class within Irvington Middle/High School campus.
    • Staff: Teachers and support staff are trained in specialized instructional strategies and assessments that support students in learning and applying work and independent living skills at home, in school, and in the community.
    • Curriculum and Instruction: Classes follow the New York State Learning Standards. Curricula utilized includes: Essential For Living (EFL), Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills-Revised (ABBLS-R), Unique Curriculum, written academic curricula.

    Application Process

    Please forward a complete intake packet to Celia Strino,
    Director of PPS, Irvington School District.