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Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

Est. 2014

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New program from RPS offers an 'individualized approach' for at-risk students

New program from RPS offers an 'individualized approach' for at-risk students

A new initiative from Rochester Public Schools aims to support students whose needs are not being met through traditional educational and rehabilitative programming.

The Launching Emerging Adults Program, or LEAP, will focus on youth ages 16-21 who have mental health disorders, histories of adverse childhood experiences, chemical use and/or physical aggression.

The concept for the program was developed in early 2017 through a collaborative group of partners consisting of RPS, Olmsted County Community Services, DFO Corrections and Fernbrook Family Center.

"We were seeking to develop a program that would feel very different than a typical school setting and could have an individualized approach to creating a plan with the student to accomplish goals that were important to them," said Denise Moody, assistant director of student services for the district.

LEAP, according to Moody, will encompass four core areas: graduation, employment, housing and community integration. As part of the program, students will participate in weekly meetings where they will create their own goals and next steps with the support of a team.

"The program will be held in a community center and will focus on building a sense of collective responsibility to care and support each other as individuals," Moody explained in an email to Med City Beat.

The program is expected to begin enrolling students this September. 

To start off, LEAP will serve eight students. It's being staffed thanks to grants from the Minnesota Departments of Education and Human Services.

Cover photo: Licensed / Canva

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