VIP Academy – High School Program

VIPThe VIP (Vocational Introduction and Preparation) Academy is an alternative high school program offered through the Manatee County School Board for students’ age 14-22 years old that are eligible for Exceptional Student Education (ESE) services. The students who attend the VIP Academy have a wide range of developmental and/or physical disabilities and the focus of the program is to assist these students with developing confidence, maximizing their attainable levels of independence, and to introduce and refine pre-vocational and employment skills to prepare them for their transition into life after school. The primary purpose of the program is to teach vocational skills, leading to job placement and increased healthy individual development, such as self-esteem, feelings of self-worth, and independence.


Taking a functional approach to academics, the VIP Academy helps students transition to adulthood and prepare for entering the workforce through small, intimate learning environments and opportunities to “go out and be a part of the community they live in.” Students not only gain important skills through the daily programs at the Braden Avenue campus, but they also participate in a variety of community service activities. In doing so, each student has an opportunity to gain additional job training experience while also giving back to the community through their work. On the job training is provided at local businesses such as Global Organic Specialty Source and Manatee Apparel Graphics, where the students learn important job skills and earn a paycheck. The students also gain skills and give back to the community by delivering meals for Meals on Wheels.