The Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, a regional educational service agency, provides dynamic, visionary leadership and effective, efficient services for constituent school districts, schools and students.
What They Do
- Early Childhood Services
- Head Start
- Pre-K Counts
- Emotional Support Program
- Autistic Support Classroom Program
- Apartment Program
- Work Exploration, Training and Experience
- COMPASS Summer Program
- Summer Transition Program
and many more!
If you’re born and raised in Montco, there is no doubt you are familiar with major school districts like Norristown, North Penn, Spring-Ford, and smaller ones such as Upper Merion, Lower Moreland, and Bryn Athyn. However, what you might not know is the organization behind these schools that provides services to thousands of kids daily.
The Montgomery County Intermediate Unit (MCIU 23) is one of 29 IUs in the state, formed by the Pennsylvania State Legislature in 1971 to provide support to local school districts. Today, MCIU 23 provides educational and social services to 22 public school districts, more than 150 nonpublic schools, four career-technical schools, three charter schools and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. We decided to meet with Christie Clemens in the Office of Professional Learning to find out just what goes on inside that massive building on Lafayette Street, and how it’s commitment to shaping special education has impacted the community.
“We have kids here for two reasons.” says Christie. “First is early intervention, where parents will bring in their small children for evaluation to see what sort of services they may need, for example, trying to diagnose if your child has autism. Second is our transition services for students ages 18-21 who may be on the spectrum and need a few extra years before going out into the workforce or going to college after high school. They learn life skills like balancing a checkbook, how to use a time card, or making a grocery list and doing laundry in our apartment program. We provide plenty of responsibility by having them help manage the operations at MCIU 23 and we do games that aid with their social skills.”
One of the most impactful programs MCIU provides is the MontcoWorks NOW program as part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). MontcoWorks NOW is a youth workforce program for eligible young adults ages 14-24, that helps them overcome barriers to graduation and finding employment. “We have clients in the judicial system, early teen mothers, some of them are still in school and aren’t making it academically, some have already dropped out.” Clemens continued, “MontcoWorks NOW provides whatever they need to steer the ship straight. It could be resume building, GED prep, helping them get official copies of social security cards or birth certificates; whatever it may be to help them get a job or to enroll in a trade school or college.”
MCIU steps in for any school in Montgomery County when they cannot provide the services in-house. This even extends beyond students, showing commitment to teachers in need of further training. “We aren’t just servicing the kids, we also service the schools.” Another major component to the MCIU is organizing and hosting seminars for all teachers in districts. “Our office handles all of the professional development, running trainings and certifications for the teachers. We’ve brought in world renowned speakers on various topics for our staffs to learn from.” says Christie.
All the superintendents meet at the MCIU building monthly to share best practices, decide on purchases and more. With so many programs and training needs, The MCIU Building boasts over 20 conference rooms throughout its five floors, many of which can be rented out to the public for private meetings and events. “We have single rooms that are ideal for 4-8 people, all the way up to 50. We have some rooms with partition walls that, when open, can accommodate up to 200 people.”
I bet you didn’t know the MCIU 23 building could host your wedding! Get To Know even more about MCIU 23 and all the services they offer by visiting them at mciu.org and following on Facebook at @mciu23. And, if you’d like to book a meeting, conference or any special event in one of the MCIU spaces, contact Christie at firstname.lastname@example.org.