VIA Student


Admissions Procedure for the James C. Hormel School

The James C. Hormel school is a year-round day school licensed to serve children aged 2 through 22 with educational diagnoses of autism, developmental delay, intellectual disability, and multiple disabilities.  Admissions decisions are based on a record review, interview, and observation of the student.  No specific academic criteria exist for admission.  Rather, the admissions decision is based on school staff’s assessment of a match between our environment and the student’s behavioral and social needs, including that student and staff safety is able to be maintained with a 1:1 ratio on a regular basis.  The James C. Hormel school employs a school nurse. All staff receive first aid/CPR training, and select staff are certified to administer medications.  An overview of the admission process is found below.

Step 1 (optional):

To inquire about admissions, to schedule a tour, or to request more information, you can complete our online Getting Started form, or contact VIA’s Admissions Team by calling (434) 923-8252.  A tour is recommended if you have not visited our school previously.

Step 2:

Complete the application and forms found here and send the following documents if applicable: current IEP, eligibility information, recent medical and/or educational evals, any recent disciplinary paperwork. After review of your application by VIA’s Admissions Team, determination will be made as to appropriateness of your child’s placement. If placement is deemed appropriate, someone will contact you to schedule an intake interview. This will occur within 5 business days of receipt of the completed application and related materials.

Step 3:

The parent/caregiver(s) participate in an intake interview lasting approximately one hour.  Interviews can take place in person or by phone, and can also take place at the same time as touring the school, prior to completion of the intake packet.

The parent/caregiver(s) are welcome to include other individuals who are active in the child’s care, education, or case management, but we appreciate knowing in advance approximately how many people will participate.

During the interview, the parent/caregiver(s) will speak with the family resource navigator and one of the school directors, reviewing the information from the application and supporting documents and discussing in further details the reasons for seeking placement. If you have not yet toured the school, we will also be happy to tour you around classrooms appropriate to your child’s age and needs.

VIA staff will also follow up with relevant educational personnel, physicians or caretaker contacts provided on the intake form.

Step 4:

Senior clinical school staff will observe your child either at home or in the current school environment. If a school observation is not possible, a home observation or review of video is required.

Step 5 (as needed):

Your child may come in to the school for an informal assessment with senior clinical staff. You are welcome to bring toys, snacks or other small items that may make your child more comfortable in a new environment. The nature of assessment will be determined based on intake documentation and will serve to confirm and gain further information about the child’s communication, academic and social functioning levels. No diagnostic or standardized assessments will be used at this time and no written report from this assessment will be available.

Please inform school staff in advance of the assessment of any information related to the child’s medical/toileting needs, dietary restrictions, allergies, or challenging behavior that may occur and likely triggers. This is extremely important to ensure the safety of your child, as well as our staff and students.

Step 6:

Within five business days of completing the interview/observations, the Admissions Team will contact you to update you on the status of your application. If your child has not been accepted, you will be provided with a letter with the reasoning for the decision and we will attempt to provide referrals for alternative services.

If your child has been accepted and a confirmed funding source is in place, either a start date will be assigned or, if no openings are currently available in the school, you will be placed on a waitlist and contacted periodically with status updates.

If your child has been accepted, but funding is not yet in place, we will issue a letter confirming the acceptance and will maintain the application information. In these cases, we ask that you contact us with any status updates. Once funding is in place, a start date or waitlist notification will be issued.

VIA staff reserve the right at any time to request additional information to re-evaluate an admission decision, particularly in cases where more than 6 months has elapsed since the original intake date.