"The program helped me get to where I am now by allowing me to go to college and really test my intellect in the various classes I took from my Education courses to English and so on. The program also offered me assistance when I needed it and the coaches they offered were nice and gladly gave up their time to help me in my classes."
"The Cutting Edge program…are my family. It is a place I can grow and become, a place where I can be me. It is also a place I feel love, and I am able to trust, and not be so afraid of new unknown things."
“…It’s not just a program, it’s a family and I am lucky that I am a part of it.”
“I learned that you should…speak out for yourself, stand up for yourself, and let yourself be heard.”
The Cutting Edge Program
The Cutting Edge Program at Edgewood College was piloted in 2007. It was the first program at a four-year college in Wisconsin to offer a fully inclusive college experience for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Since its inception, the program has continued to grow and offers individualized wrap-around services to support students in academics, student housing, social experiences, and practicums/internships. We currently support 20 students per academic year. Due to the success of the program and overwhelming support, we have now expanded and are offering two additional programs: Pre-College and Alumni Program. As part of Edgewood College’s Dominican tradition, students learn the values of justice, compassion, truth, community, and partnership. Through these values, students are given the opportunity to experience civic engagement both on campus and in the Madison community.
The Cutting Edge Open House is held twice a year. Once in the fall and once in the spring. The Open House is a great opportunity for prospective families to learn about the program, meet with current students and families, and meet with our staff.
Friday, March 13, 2020
|Presentation of Program|
|Questions and Answers|
|Tour of Edgewood Campus|
|Lunch provided by the Cutting Edge|
|Individual Meetings with Cutting-Edge Staff|
It is proven that students with disabilities who seek higher education are three times more likely to have paid employment (Inclusive Higher Education Committee, 2018). Cutting Edge alumni are employed at higher rates than the national average for people with disabilities (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018).
80% of our students are employed upon graduation
75% of those employed upon graduation are living independently
Our students are 3 times more likely to have paid employment
Our alumni are employed at higher rates compared to the national average for people with disabilities
Edgewood College students discover what they are passionate about—in a place where they can make a difference in the world around them. What will be your Edgewood College story?
Cutting Edge Pre-College Summer Program
This program is for high school students with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are 16 to 21 years old, and have a desire to go to college in the future. This program serves all students with disabilities, regardless of their levels of needed supports, and serves a range of abilities.
This one-week summer program is designed to provide exposure through a fully inclusive week-long immersion on our campus. The program will allow high school students with various abilities to get acquainted with living on a college campus, college student expectations, and test their self-management skills. During this week-long program, students attend sessions, eat meals on campus, explore the community, stay in Residence Halls, and build connections with peers, staff, and faculty. This week-long program accepts up to 15 participants (per week) and is a “Parent-Free Zone.”
"The Cutting Edge program meant a bunch to me. I can’t express enough how much it helped get me to where I am today….it jump-started me from living at home, to living and working in the community."
"I learned to never give up, keep trying my best…that everyone learns differently but we are all important. I learned how to take a bus, how to do my laundry, and how to live on my own. I love the Cutting Edge!"
"My favorite student memory was watching the first group of Cutting Edge graduates to participate and walk across the stage at commencement in 2015. Prior to that, Cutting Edge students were not allowed to participate in commencement (unless they were degree-seeking)."
“…Students can set their goals to find their dream jobs…just like students without disabilities.”
The Cutting Edge Program recognizes that there are different pathways through college and provides an individually designed plan for each student. Students and their families meet with Cutting Edge staff at least twice per year to develop their Individualized College Plan, which includes the benchmarks to reach their overall goal.
There are three paths for students to choose. All three paths support them in becoming independent and contributing members of their community.
Supports for all Pathways
Course Coaches, Housing Mentors, Fitness Center Attendants, Volunteer Peer Mentors, Weekend Coordinators, and Cutting Edge staff supports in areas of academic, professional, social, and emotional development.
Supported Housing Options
Students participate in practicums and internships in order to build skills that lead to employment. Each semester, students participate in paid internships on campus that are paired with coursework.
Each internship is designed around the individual’s career goals. Some students even choose to start their own business while in college. As students near the completion of their career goals, they are engaged in community employment off campus. During their final year, the Cutting Edge Program coordinates a transition team that assists the student in obtaining integrated employment that is meaningful and fulfilling.
Our Alumni Program supports graduates to live independently in the community after their Cutting Edge college experience. This program connects Cutting Edge alumni with each other through events and educational opportunities. The Alumni Program hosts monthly events, which focus on social skill development, academic stimulation, and daily living skills training. In addition, the Alumni Program offers a larger scope of services including facilitated annual life planning, goal tracking, residential supports, vocational preparation, and referrals to trusted community resources.