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In This Issue


Age Appropriate Transition Assessments and Activities Guide

A comprehensive guide to transition assessments and activities involving education, training, college readiness, employment and career readiness, adul...

TIG Times Newsletter - May 2017

TIG Times Newsletter - May 2017...

Guiding Principles for Competitive Integrated Employment

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) has established a list of Guiding Principles that build on the value of full inclusion of people wit...


Spotlight News

Strategies to treat ALL students responsively during the holidays

Contributed by Jen Bourget, TIG Urban Transition Coordinator

When I think of the holiday season I picture a kitchen full of great food, lots of family milling around, and a beautiful tree with presents spilling out from the underneath. The house is warm and lit up with lights and decorations. What do you picture when you think about the holiday season? Our shared or different experiences help add to our individual cultures and identities. Our students have many different thoughts and experiences during the holiday season, and some of them are not so cozy.

For some, the thought of having two weeks off from school is a great thing to look forward to. The classroom parties, the gifts and Secret Santa’s, family celebrations, and family trips are a few examples of what can make holiday break a memorable experience. For others, the reality of not knowing when their next meal will be, if they will get to see their family members, or if they will have a safe place to spend their days off can make the holiday break stressful and terrifying.

The following scenarios and suggestions could help make this holiday season less stressful and terrifying for your students and help keep your classroom running smoothly. All students don’t celebrate the same holidays in the same ways. Give students an opportunity, if they choose, to share about their unique holiday traditions. Help students tell their story and help others show understanding and acceptance for stories different than their own.

One classroom tradition that may cause extra stress is asking the whole class to bring something to share for the holiday party. Asking each student privately if they would like to or are able to bring a treat to share may help take the pressure off. The student may say they can bring something if asked in front of their peers when the family cannot financially or otherwise contribute to a holiday party. Students may be criticized if they don’t bring what they signed up for.

Be aware that all students may not have enough to eat during the holiday break. Many families in poverty are struggling to meet the extra financial demands the holiday season can bring and may not be able to provide three full meals every day. Many students rely on the school meals to provide sufficient and consistent nutrition. I attended an end of the year party last year where a student asked for extra platefuls of food to take home. I didn’t know what to think. After reflecting on the situation and what I had learned about the student’s home life, I changed my assumption from the student being selfish to a realization that the student was planning ahead for a meal or two. He had even mentioned taking some for his little brother. Providing containers for leftovers at the holiday party would make it easier if a student is asking for seconds or to take leftovers home. The student may be planning ahead and storing food for the long break.

Sometimes it can be easy to forget that students face the same stressors we do during the holiday season. As great as my family holidays are, they can come with a lot of stress. Show patience and understanding when students seem more anxious, angry, aggressive, or withdrawn. Some students may be stressed about family members who are not able to spend time with them, a lack of nutritious food, or leaving the stability and safety school offers for such a long break.

As a teacher, I usually returned to school feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on at least January and February. It can be easy to assume that everyone enjoyed their holiday break. However, some may return hungry, frustrated, exhausted, anxious or sad. Think about the way you are having students share about their break – gifts, trips, family events. How does this make students who didn’t get gifts or go on a trip feel? Giving the student time to discuss his/her break one-on-one can help build a stronger relationship and provide an opportunity to talk about what he/she is feeling or have experienced. Students could write about their break and share with an adult one-on-one instead of sharing about the break as a whole class.

If students are creating holiday gifts or art projects for a present don’t assume it will be for a parent/s. Some students may have parents that are not in their life or are incarcerated. Ask questions about what they are creating and who the special person is that will receive it. Help encourage students to take pride in their gifts and talents that aren’t materialistic or cost money. Students could also use their gifts and talents to help others in the community.

No matter what religious beliefs, holiday traditions, or economic status you or your students come from, the message is the same. As Khalil Gibran said, “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” Sometimes that is all our students need, a little more time and compassion. These are truly gifts when time is so scarce and compassion makes us all a little more human.

Warm wishes for a safe and happy holiday season!

Articles Of Interest

Dual Enrollment Opportunities for Students with Disabilities - Pro’s and Con’s
Contributed by Brian Kenney, TIG Southern Regional Coordinator

The benefits and positive outcomes of dual enrollment opportunities

  • Dual enrollment gives students a snapshot at what college coursework and rigor of the academics will be like. Getting used to academic environments outside the K-12 setting can help with transitioning to postsecondary environment. 
  • Students can get a closer look at their areas of career interest by completing a dual enrollment course. Our passions and interests can often be discovered by utilizing structured college level coursework and the accomplishment that can come with it. 
  • Advance Placement courses can be difficult to qualify for and often times colleges require certain predetermined scores before awarding you the college credit. Dual enrollment courses can offer more flexible options to gain college level credit while at the same time allowing students to demonstrate their ability to handle college level academics.

Potential areas of concern regarding dual enrollment opportunities

  • College level coursework may add additional stress to students. These courses could impact participation in extracurricular activities and other before and after school activities due to the high demands and rigor the courses require. Pay close attention to the level of stress students are put under when looking at college level coursework. 
  • Be certain to pay very close attention to the student’s preferences, interests and career passions prior to choosing dual enrollment coursework. Let these decisions be part of the IEP process and always center around the youth and the family. 
  • Be very mindful of the college policies and procedures for academic probation as well as those directly related to grades. Dual enrollment requires students to receive college level transcripts and this means they fall under the guidelines and policies of that institute of higher education. These grades count towards college level credits on a permanent record, and they mean something. Being extra cautious can only help in making a good quality decision. 
  • If your student needs specialized accommodations and supports or services, those need to be approved by the institute of higher education. Any fees or charges for accommodations and other services / supports for dual enrollment course work will be at the expense of the high school. Proactive planning with disability services / student services staff is highly recommended. Involve these individuals in the IEP process early on when making those decisions about dual enrollment coursework.
Wisconsin County Communities on Transition (CCoT) In Action
Contributed by Kathy Tuttle, TIG Northern Regional Coordinator

Wisconsin County Communities on Transition (CCoTs) have been busy “leading by convening” this first semester of the 2014-15 school year. Here are a few examples of upcoming events and meetings! 

Waukesha County “Take Charge” December 11 at WCTC (Wisconsin CCoT Guide p. 10)

December 9, 2014 - Sheboygan County Meeting
December 15, 2014 – Rock County Meeting
December 16, 2014 – Fond Du Lac County Meeting
December 18, 2014 - Manitowoc County Meeting
January 8, 2015 - Brown County Meeting
January 8, 2015 - Calumet County Meeting
January 13, 2015 - Kewaunee County Meeting
January 20, 2104 – Rock County Meeting
January 20, 2014 – Fond Du Lac County Meeting
January 22, 2015 - Manitowoc County Meeting

Check out the Wisconsin CCoT Guide for specifics on these collaborative opportunities for students and families. http://www.witig.org/wstidata/resources/CCoT_Guide_03_2014b.pdf

Wisconsin Special Educators do a Good Job!
Contributed by Mary Kampa, TIG Post High School Outcomes Coordinator

Annually, the Indicator 14 Post School Outcomes (PSO) of Wisconsin youth with disabilities are collected from one-fifth of the districts in the state, in conjunction with the Department of Public Instruction Compliance Monitoring Self-Assessment.  Youth are contacted for a telephone interview one year after exiting their secondary placement with a regular diploma or certificate of attendance, by reaching the maximum age of eligibility for services, or by dropping out of school.

The chart below shows the percentage of youth with disabilities in Wisconsin that have been engaged in either higher education, competitive employment, any other type of postsecondary education or training program, or some other employment within the year of exiting high school.  Survey years 2012 to 2014 are presented for Wisconsin.

2014Outcomes of 2012-13 Exiters for Indicator 14

2014  % (N=887)

2013 %(N=711)

2012 %(N=699)

Higher Education

Completion of at least one term at a 2-yr College or Technical College or 4-yr College or University - Regardless of participation in Employment or other Postsecondary Education or Training.




Competitive Employment

90 consecutive or cumulative days in a community setting, working 20 hours or more per week and earning minimum wage or greater AND Never engaged in Higher Education and regardless of engagement in other Postsecondary Education or Training or Other Employment.




Other Post-Secondary Education or Training

Completion of at least one term at any other short-term education or training program, humanitarian program or high school completion program AND Never engaged in Higher Education OR Competitive Employment and regardless of engagement in Other Employment.




Other Employment

90 consecutive or cumulative days of employment in any setting AND Never Engaged in Higher Education OR Competitive Employment OR Postsecondary Education or Training.




 A.   Higher Education




 B.   Higher Education and Competitive Employment




 C.   Higher Education and Competitive Employment and Other Post-Secondary Education or Training and Other Employment




 Not Engaged (no work or school, postsecondary ed. term not completed, or employment that is less than 90 days)




Wisconsin has youth engaged in these activities above the national outcomes for years 2009 to 2012, the most recent available data.  The State needs to set targets, both annual and 5-year, to demonstrate increased outcomes for youth.  Below please find a brief summary of Wisconsin’s PSO.

Higher Education and Postsecondary Education or Training Outcomes

Over the past three years, participation in 2-year technical colleges has increased, participation in 2-year colleges has stayed about the same, and participation in 4-year colleges and universities has decreased.

  • 38% have participated in postsecondary education or training but fewer did than in 2013 (42%).
  • 12% (2013 = 14%) participated in a 2- or 4-year college or university program, 17% participated in a 2-year technical college program, and an additional 6% attempted a program but discontinued before completing a term.
  • Females participated at a higher rate than males (42% vs. 36%), though both participated less than 2013, 2012 and 2011.
  • Youth who exit with a diploma (42%) were much more likely to participate in postsecondary education or training than youth who drop-out (17%).
  • 57% of youth disclose their disability and 37% use assistive technology or accommodations.

Employment Outcomes

Overall, competitive employment outcomes have increased very slightly.

  • 81% (2013 = 79%) have worked in the year since high school.
  • 52% (2013 = 48%) meet the criteria of competitively employed.
  • 95% work in a community setting and 2% (2013 = 4%) work in a facilitated employment setting.
  • A slightly higher percentage of males (83%) than females (77%) have been employed within the year of leaving high school,
  • Few youth (8%) report asking for an accommodation on the job, but a majority (80%) received the requested accommodation.
  • 70% (2013 = 69%) of respondents had a paying job in the community while in high school.
  • 48% (2013 = 45%) had a paying job when they left high school, and over one-half maintained the same job for seven or more months after exiting.

Activities to Consider

These activities are goals to strive towards, and have been shown to positively impact post school outcomes.

  • Investigate the types of postsecondary education and training programs available in your community, and make sure these programs are discussed in transition planning as options.
  • Make sure every student has at least one paying job in the community sometime during their high school placement.
  • Connect students with disability services on campus, and in the workplace.  Make sure they can ask for and receive the needed accommodations to make these successful activities.
  • Go to www.witig.org and become familiar with the “Transition Improvement Plan”, which shows users how to utilize the National In-School Predictors of Post-School Success to increase the post school outcomes of district exiters. 
Pin Now! Read Later.
Contributed by Brenda Swoboda, TIG Western Regional Coordinator

Ever find a fantastic self-advocacy resource online only to go back and not be able to find it later?  Enjoy and follow this Pinterest board, Transition and Self-Advocacy for Youth at http://www.pinterest.com/bswobs/transition-and-self-advocacy-for-youth/, with pins to the most popular tools and curriculum for teaching self-advocacy skills to youth with disabilities.  Have a resource that’s not listed?  Please email Brenda Swoboda at brendas@witig.org to have it added! 

State Representative Visits Bay View High School Senior
Contributed by School to Work Transition Program contact Supervisor Barbara Barnes

State Representative of the 20th District Assembly visited a Bay View High School senior at his job during the WI BPDD’s Take Your Legislator to Work Campaign. This event demonstrated how collaboration between school, business, community and family can be a “win, win” for all involved.

Representative Christine Sinicki, herself a Bay View graduate, met with Hazem Tbaishat, his parent, his teacher and his boss at Bluemels Garden and Landscape Center. Hazem gave a guided tour of the facility and described his work duties. His supervisor told of how Hazem has developed into a valued employee with a strong work ethic.

Having successfully completed all components of the Milwaukee Public School’s School to Work Transition Program and after attending the district’s Job Readiness Training, Hazem was offered a short term position at Bluemels. Subsequently, with the support of his Employment Training Specialist, Hazem was hired as a seasonal employee working full time this summer.
For more information about the School to Work Transition Program contact Supervisor Barbara Barnes @ 414 438-3414.

When You Think College - Think BooU!
Contributed by Liz Kennedy, Transition Coordinator for Sauk Prairie School District

Sauk Prairie School District, in collaboration with Baraboo School District and UW-Baraboo/Sauk County has been developing a Think College site at the UW Baraboo/Sauk County Campus. A small team has been working since last year to formalize a process and define the services in the Think College model. Key to the group’s success has been Dedra Hafner, Edgewood College’s Cutting Edge Program Director, Carole Carlson, now with Think College in Boston, and some graduate students who have been assisting in the implementation of a Peer Mentor component for the Think College Program in Baraboo.

Joining in the venture are: Matt Jurvelin, Assistant Dean for Student Services, UW Baraboo/Sauk County, Liz Kennedy, Transition Coordinator for Sauk Prairie School District and Shelley Mordini, Special Education teacher, Baraboo School District. The Think College pilot at Boo-U provides students with significant disabilities access to higher education. The students follow the application process much like any other student; however, they are dually enrolled in their home district (with a placement in the 18-21 program) while also attending UW Baraboo.

Students meet with college staff to learn how to access D2L, their campus email and how to access any special services through the student services center. These new college learners are completely integrated with their peers, enjoying college life. Students are, or have been, enrolled in Freshmen Seminar, business classes, economics, archeology, art, and English. Some students audit the classes, others are taking them for credit. New this year, one of the students is staying in the recently opened residence hall, is doing well, and is adjusting to life away from home.

This semester’s students are already enrolling in classes for next semester. When you “Think College”, think BooU!

Evidence-Based Practices in Transition
Contributed by Jenny Jacobs, TIG Post School Outcomes Outreach

Evidence-Based Practices are interventions, instructional strategies, or teaching programs that are supported by high-quality research studies.  These interventions, instructional strategies or programs are selected because they cause positive changes in student outcomes.  High school special education teachers working in transition have resources available to them for working with transition aged youth if they know where to look.  The National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC) reviews evidenced based practices focusing on youth involved in transition.  Some evidence-based practices that are noted on the website include backward chaining, using check and connect to promote student participation in the IEP meeting, using least to most prompting, and many others.  To find out more about evidence-based practices for students involved in transition visit the NSTTAC website at www.nsttac.org.

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The Transition Improvement Grant (CFDA #84.027) acknowledges the support of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in the development of this website and for the continued support of this federally-funded grant program. There are no copyright restrictions on this document; however, please credit the Wisconsin DPI and support of federal funds when copying all or part of this material. [34 CFR Sec. 75.620]