"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 24 students per academic year. Our program has since expanded to include 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 current students and families, and meet our staff.
Virtual Cutting Edge Fall Open House
Friday, October 2, 2020
|Program Overview with Cutting Edge Staff|
|Cutting Edge Student Panel|
|Cutting Edge Parent Panel|
With the Cutting Edge Program
Our alumni are employed 3 times higher compared to national average rates for people with disabilities.
Approximately 85% of our students are employed upon graduation.
80% of those employed upon graduation are living independently.
Our students are 3 times more likely to have paid employment.
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
Registration for 2021 Cutting Edge Pre-College Summer will open January 8th, 2021
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 students with disabilities and serves a range of abilities. Participants must be able to dress themselves, eat independently, and administer their own medications.
This one-week summer program provides exposure to an on campus college experience. During this week-long program students attend classes, are engaged in campus life, explore our Madison community, live in residence halls, and build connections with peers, staff, and faculty. This week-long program accepts up to 15 participants 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 two paths for students to choose. Both paths support them in becoming independent and contributing members of their community.
Supports for all Pathways
Course Coaches, Job Coaches, Community Engagement Mentors, Health & Wellness Mentors, Volunteer Peer Mentors, Independent Living Mentors, and Cutting Edge staff supports in areas of academic, professional, social, and emotional development.
Supported Housing Options
There are a variety of on-campus housing options across campus. Some include single rooms, double rooms, or apartment-style housing. These students are supported by our Housing Peer Mentors, Cutting Edge staff, a Resident Assistant (RA), and Residence Life staff
We have one off-campus house for Cutting Edge students. This house is great for students who might require more focused support in areas of daily living. The house can also serve as a stepping stone for students to live independently in the community after completion of their program.
Students who live in the Madison area can choose to commute to campus. These students are supported by our Housing Coordinator, who checks in with students regularly to ensure the students have support in activities of daily living, homework, and emotional well-being.
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 living 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 annual events, which engage our alumni in the Edgewood College and Cutting Edge communities. 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.