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by DeAnna Pursai

It is truly most inspirational to watch the College of Adaptive Arts continue to come into fruition as more passionate and committed students, families, and visionaries find and support the College of adaptive Arts.  CAA in many ways parallels the qualities of the rich and robust innovative start-ups in the valley. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_graduationcheering.jpgCAA is forging into unchartered territory by providing a service and model for adults with special that has rarely been tried before.  It’s not a day program; students over the age of 18 simply sign up for the 1 ½ hour-long courses that they are interested in taking.  CAA does not have a fixed period an adult can only attend, nor or a cap on an age limit.  It’s not a pure arts program: CAA offers 8 distinct schools of instruction, including the Schools of Music, Dance, Theatre, TV/Film, Art, Communications, Health & Wellness & Science & Technology. 

CAA is building its own accreditation system of units and courses which are private and nontransferable, but nonetheless based squarely in best practices in adult learning theory and special needs education.  CAA provides a lifelong, equitable collegiate experience to adults with special needs who can and want to be successful contributing citizens, but where a junior-college level Associate’s degree will not be within reach.

CAA also does not serve just one type or degree of adult with special need.  CAA has students with Down syndrome, autism, medical fragilities such as epilepsy, cancer, & diabetes, adults with cerebral palsy, blindness, and developmental delays.  CAA serves students who are perceived as high-functioning and students who are very shy, nonverbal, and need to attend with a careprovider.  CAA does not do medication, toileting, babysitting, or behavior – the bar is set high with the expectations that these adult students want to be there to learn, create, and contribute.

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Dean's Blog - 2/28/2016

by Pamela Lindsay

Hello from the decks of our trusty CAA ship! As we sail past the end of the Winter quarter toward Spring '16, we are excited about the opportunities on the near horizon. The students can see opportunities in growing departments of study and fresh experiences with their experienced professors at the wheel. Our staff members see opportunities for growth of collaborations with current and new community partners. The student families are enjoying the ride, watching their Cardinals navigate their varied environments of study and performance.

CAA's network of supportive organizations and friends of the college are providing safe and exciting ports for the sharing of these diverse experiences. As founders, DeAnna and I are excited to see through the end of our telescope the real manifestation of visions held since inception in 2009. New vendorization of classes means that our students with a passion for lifelong learning through CAA's unique channel of liberal arts and performance are able to officially look forward to such goals.

This unique vendorization provides an extra stamp on our passport that will be very important while traveling through current and future zones of work. It also charts a new and less traveled course on our mission map. The phenomenal and committed CAA board sees opportunities for trailblazing on behalf of the students with continued, inspiring passion and commitment. We are looking forward to their generation of great steam while powering ahead.

There is much to do as we push off into these new waters. We therefore thank you for your ongoing generosity of support, offered in so many different ways. This is your vessel! Let's load up, open the sails, and follow the brilliant constellations created by the talents of each of our students' big, bright stars!

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Something's Happening...

by DeAnna Pursai

I believe that Friday this past Friday night is a game-changer for the College of Adaptive Arts and more importantly for perception of artistic expression b2ap3_thumbnail_showcase2.jpgand disability. College of Adaptive Arts showcased the talents and artistic creations of the CAA Superstaff at the School of Arts & Culture at the majestic campus Mexican Heritage Plaza on east side of San Jose. The “mountain” obstructing true human potential took a veritable heave at about 9:30pm to a thunderous applause during the finale song of CAA’s Alma Mater, Just Believe.

I have been telling folks for years that we have the most awesome staff at the College of Adaptive Arts. We have fine artists, dancers, actors, singers, musicians, poets. They are absolutely dedicated to teaching their students at the College of Adaptive Arts. Many have other jobs and just come in to teach one or 2 classes a week during CAA’s 8-week quarters. Many do not have a chance to get to know other professors in different departments. Certainly none of us are getting monetarily rich in our positions.

But what connects us all at a very base level is Disability and Love of the Arts. Many of the CAA Superstaff, myself included, have disabilities. I was diab2ap3_thumbnail_showcase3.jpggnosed with OCD & anxiety disorder in 2004. Some of our staff are blind and visually-impaired. Some of our staff have dyslexia; some are cancer survivors. Many of us are patching together multiple jobs to make ends meets. Many staff may not have been successful in a traditional, typical workforce environment.

But when you walk through the doors of the College of Adaptive Arts, all of those traditional stereotypes just melt away. There’s a palpable love in the air that our students, adult learners with special needs, radiate when they are in this unique learning environment. The students bring such an eagerness to learn, to create, to contribute – and a sincere gratefulness to our staff for honoring them and paying attention to them. 

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by LeAnn Carrillo, School of Health and Wellness Director 

b2ap3_thumbnail_leannc.jpgWhen thinking about my experience thus far as a College of Adaptive Arts (CAA) professor, two words immediately come to mind…love and freedom. I think of these words because these ideas can be applied to students, professors, and guardians who are involved with the college. It is truly a great environment with amazing students who do not get this opportunity from other community organizations.

Love is shown at CAA everyday; from the parents, to students, to professors, everyone involved honestly cares about the college and loves what they do. I have a full-time job that is very demanding with my time, so I am unable to work for CAA as much as I would like. When I am able to go to the site, many professors give me a hug and tell me how they would like to see me more. Same goes for the students, and they notice when I am able to be there. This makes me feel the love that is shown for the professors; the students really care and want to learn from their professors. 

The freedom to not only express what you, as the professor, think is important to the students, but the students have the freedom to pick and choose whatever course of study they wish. As the professor of Health and Wellness, I like to fill my class curriculum with helpful hints that hopefully students will retain and use in everyday life. Ideas like proper nutrition, hydration, hygiene, and work-out tips. I feel like these are important items for any young adult to know and implement in their everyday life. As a professor, I have the freedom to deliver these concepts and the students will learn, and hopefully, retain this information every quarter. It is a win-win situation. 

In sum, my experience as a professor with CAA has been amazing; the love and freedom to try to make a difference in with community with adults who otherwise will not have this opportunity to excel anywhere else. It is a great place which I hope to be a part of for years to come.

Thank you 

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CAA Supporters

by CAA Supporter - Donna Dubinsky & Len Shustek

We met CAA as a result of my brother Michael's volunteer work there. He started getting more and more involved, so we figured we would check it out. We started by attending a class to get an idea for the type of curriculum that was proposed. I watched a fascinating group put together a storyboard for an animated video. Although it was clear that the capabilities amongst the students varied greatly, they worked nicely as a team to get to a good result.

We've also attended some performances and graduation events, as well as toured the current facility. We became supporters of CAA because we just cannot imagine a better way to support these young adults. They clearly gain a great deal out of the experience at CAA. Not only are they being personally enriched by the program material, they are learning key skills of collaboration and participation. The staff at CAA treats the students with the utmost respect and clearly values their contributions at whatever level. The students show enormous support of each other as well.

We're happy to be part of the CAA community.

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