Category Archives: Student-Focused Planning

Utah 2016 Transition Institute

This week Utah will host its annual Transition Institute: “Supporting Transition Planning and Building Capacity to Improve Post-School Outcomes for Students with Disabilities” at Davis Conference Center in Layton. Interspersed with content-rich learning sessions and facilitated team work sessions, LEA teams from all over the state (over 200 people!) will come together to learn how to use a national transition team planning tool, write SMART goals for transition plans and sequence transition plan actions and activities, as well as how to develop tools for evaluating plan implementation and the impact on student outcomes.
 
Participants who have Twitter or Facebook accounts are encouraged to post about the Utah Transition Insitute using the hashtag #uttransition
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EnvisionIT – A Transition Curriculum for Students with Disabilities

This curriculum comes from the Nisonger Centers Transitions Team at Ohio State University.

Florida After School High Tech Program Helps with Transition, Graduation Rates

Posted in The Ledger, Lakeland, Florida, (February 25, 2014)

The newest of 40 high school sites around the state of Florida has implemented the High School High Tech Program, an after school program designed to support students with disabilities work towards life after high school, focusing on science and mathematics.

High School High Tech helps students with disabilities explore career paths that fit their skills and interests, pursue post-secondary education and secure employment, with a focus on STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — fields.

The after-school program is managed by the Able Trust, a state nonprofit dedicated to providing people with disabilities the opportunity for employment, and by the Center for Independent Living.

“The goal is to have every student live independently and have awesome opportunities in life, especially in the high-tech world, where we need all the people we can get,” said Sen. Kelli Stargel.

Read the article here.

Smiling With Hope Bakery: Real Life Skills with a Smile

Students in a Newark, Ohio High School are all smiles when it comes to making pizza. Smiling With Hope Bakery is operated by students with disabilities in a non-traditional way.

When it comes to pizzerias, the Smiling with Hope Bakery is not what you might call traditional.

Smiling with Hope is in a school, which means locked doors and specific hours.

There’s no direct phone line, no advertising, and customers have to order in advance.

There’s only one size option for pizzas, 18 inches, and two topping choices: cheese or pepperoni.

Still, the pizza is good, and people are starting to notice. This winter, Smiling with Hope Bakery — run by special-needs students at Newark High School — will be featured on Serious Eats, a cluster of websites dedicated to celebrating food.

Walter Gloshinski, Special Education Teacher, musician, and founder of Smiling With Hope, created this video as a thank you to the community for supporting the program:

….[Walter] Gloshinski has a caseload of six students at Newark High School, and they spend most of the day working in the bakery. There are another 10 that stop by just for a class period — Gloshinski’s students go elsewhere during that time for academic training — but to Gloshinski, the important factor is his students are learning while they bake. They’re not just rolling dough and shuttling pans in and out of ovens; they’re learning how to measure, shop, take inventory, follow directions for deliveries and work on a team, even with people they may not like.

Those are all necessary skills for the real world, Gloshinski said, and they are skills that will help his students land jobs later in life.

Read more about Smiling With Hope Bakery here.

See the Smiling With Hope Bakery website with menu here.

“For special education students, diplomas, jobs increasingly elusive”

This article, posted in The Hechinger Report, February 3, 2014, chronicles the struggles of a young woman with a disability in pursuing her post-secondary education because she did not have a standard diploma.

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Four weeks into a medical assistant program at Antonelli College, Nikki Mclendon eagerly took her parents to the college’s student appreciation day. The 20-year-old looked forward to discussing her progress and pre-registering for the next term, but instead received devastating news.

School officials told the Mclendons their daughter was ineligible to continue. Without warning, the career technical college that accepted Mclendon a year after she finished high school said the “occupational diploma” she’d received from Forrest County Agricultural High School disqualified her.

“I thought, ‘What? I just went through my first semester of college…. I’m having a blast at it, and you all are ruining my career,’” Mclendon recalled.

Mclendon had no way of knowing the alternate diploma many Mississippi special education students choose if they cannot meet the academic requirements of a regular diploma would be a roadblock to higher education and a career — one the state can ill afford. In Mississippi, some 20 percent of youth ages 16-24 are not in school or the workplace, the highest rate in the U.S., according to U.S. census data.

When Mclendon was admitted to Antonelli, the school had not yet received her transcript, said Steve Bryant, president of Antonelli’s Hattiesburg campus. Mclendon was allowed to start classes and start paying tuition for the $30,000 program, which was refunded when she left. Then the transcript showed that she had not passed all her exit exams, and did not have a regular diploma.

“If we can’t verify when the transcripts arrive that they did in fact receive a normal, regular high school diploma, then the student’s conditional acceptance is revoked,” Bryant said.

What happened to Nikki Mclendon is emblematic of a larger problem in Mississippi, where students are much less likely to graduate with a regular diploma after they are classified with a disability. A review of data by the Clarion-Ledger, of Jackson, Miss., found that the majority of special education students receive an occupational diploma, meant to prepare students for a job, or a certificate of completion, meant to honor special education students’ efforts in high school — even if they fell short of graduation requirements.

As a result, thousands of capable students leave high school with few career and education options in a state with one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates.

Read the article here.

“The Best Me I Can Be” – Student Led IEPs

Transition for youth with disabilities really begins when a student is identified as having a disability.  DC Education has developed a series of modules that addresses students being involved in their IEPs, from a very early age.

This module is about student-led IEPs and shows real examples of students leading their own IEPs.  Helping students develop these skills early in their education will provide a solid foundation for future transition planning.

New High School Diploma Requires Work-Related Experience

Schools in a New York District are changing their diploma requirements for students with disabilities.  The change is controversial amongst different stakeholders, according to the Ithaca Times, January 25, 2014.

Along with the well-publicized changes in education brought by the Common Core and the new Annual Professional Performance Reviews for teachers, comes a less-famous change in the diplomas for students with disabilities. As of last July, students with disabilities no longer graduate with an IEP diploma, which used to be the standard for Individual Education Plans. A greater proportion of students will be expected to graduate with a Regents diploma, but students of different abilities will have a more career-oriented option. “Now we have a local diploma and a Regents diploma,” said director of Special Education at Lansing schools, Kathy Rourke. “The IEP meant that they reached their individual educational goals, but it was lacking a work-related piece.”

“We’re now focusing more on students leaving our schools work-ready,” said Rourke. Lansing’s special education department offers services from kindergarten to 12th grade, including speech and occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling and academic support. Rourke said that the new diplomas at Lansing quantify Career Development And Occupational Skills (CDOS) credentials.

According to the NYS Education Department, “Most students with disabilities will be able to graduate with the NYS CDOS Commencement Credential as a supplement to their regular diploma (Regents or local diploma). Students who are unable to earn a regular diploma because of their disability may graduate with the NYS CDOS Commencement Credential as the student’s only exiting credential, provided they meet the requirements … and have attended school for at least 12 years, excluding kindergarten. If the NYS CDOS Commencement Credential is the student’s only exiting credential and he/she is less than 21 years of age, the parent must be provided prior written notice indicating that the student continues to be eligible for a free appropriate public education until the end of the school year in which he/she turns age 21.”

In order to prepare students for being work ready, Rourke said she had met with representatives of Challenge Industries/Challenge Workforce Solutions several times, and “that’s been kind of exciting.”

“We are looking at opportunities for students to have internships with businesses in the community,” said Rourke. “The new diploma requires over 200 hours of work-related experiences.”

State education is offering a Regents Certificate of Work Readiness, to replace the IEP, but at least one advocacy group for students with disabilities strongly opposes the certificate on the grounds that, if it’s only for students with disabilities, it will stigmatize them and force them to disclose their disability to a potential employer. The Learning Disabled Association of NY, in a position paper requesting that the state education department hold off on new CWR (Career and Work Readiness) certificates, objects to the use of the word “Regents” in the title, among other things:

“To most persons in the field, the term “Regents” is associated with the standardized NYS high school exams required for a Regent’s Diploma. Calling the work-readiness certificate a Regents Certificate will blur the distinction between this credential and a diploma, much the way the word “diploma” blurred the distinction between the IEP Diploma and the legitimate high school diplomas.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Transition for Students with Disabilities in the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems

Students with disabilities are over represented in the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Systems.  This training webinar (December, 2013) provides information on the laws and regulations for providing transition services for students with special needs in both systems, as well as strategies, tools and action steps for practical application.

The presenting organization is the Juvenile Law Center,which is “the oldest non-profit, public interest law firm for children in the United States. Founded in 1975 by four new graduates of Temple Law School in Philadelphia, Juvenile Law Center has become a national advocate for children’s rights, working across the country to enforce and promote the rights and well-being of children who come into contact with the justice, child welfare and other public systems.”

 

More resources are available at the Juvenile Law Center’s website.

Ten Minutes with Temple Grandin

This interview is from June, 2010 with Temple Grandin.  She discusses what needs to be done for students with autism to get them prepared for their future.

In the world of Autism, Temple Grandin is a legend. She has singularly contributed more to science’s knowledge of autism than any other one individual. There’s a reason she’s #23 on Time’s list of 100 Most Influential People… and that Hollywood is producing movies about her.

After her speaking engagement at a Future Horizon’s conference here in Minneapolis today, Temple and I had an intense, 10 minutes conversation. We touched on a number of her favorite subjects including autism as a gift, preparing future autists for successful careers, her movie, key learnings about autism and more.

Confessions of an Asperger’s Mom: Transition to Adulthood

Blog Post on a mother’s experience with a Transition meeting in her home with the IEP team, December 17, 2013.

Last night we had a Person Centered Planning meeting here at our house for Red.  The purpose of the meeting is to do personal goal setting alongside the mentors in Red’s life.  He decides who to invite to these meetings.  He actually schedules it with his facilitator and sends out the electronic invitations to everyone.  He also follows up with them days prior to the meeting to confirm if they will attend.

We have also made him responsible for shopping for and preparing a snack for his guests.  The snack last night was fresh grapes, oranges, apples and brownie bites.

Our crowd last night consisted of myself, Red, his Vocational Training teacher from the high school, his Pastor, and our facilitator, who just happens to be the head Transition Coordinator for our school district, and the Vice Principle of the 18 plus Transition Program, which he will be entering into as of January.

Yes.  Red will complete his high school credits at the end of this week! As of now, he will walk the stage with his peers in the graduation in June of 2014.  We will decide between now and then whether or not to give him his diploma at that time, and then transition him to the Department of Rehabilitative Services.  DARS will assist him and hopefully help pay for, career training/college or a certification program.  Otherwise, he can continue to receive adult transition services through the school district up until the age of 22.

Continue reading here.