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Resources

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...

Green Bay YIPPEE Flyer

Join the YIPPEE Training in Green Bay...

Wisconsin Dells YIPPEE

Join u for YIPPEE Training in the Wisconsin Dells...

 

Spotlight News

Postsecondary Transition Plan (PTP) Hip Hop Video is a Must See!

Contributed by Pam Jenson, TIG Project & Data Coordinator

The "PTP" video is a collection of interviews with students who describe their Postsecondary Transition Plan (PTP) involvement and the impact it has on their plans after high school -- set to a contemporary beat.  Students, parents and educators will enjoy the video and are sure to identify with some of the student stories that are shared.  Students attending the statewide 360 Student Leadership Conference and Independence First Leadership Conference partnered with the Transition Improvement Grant and the Figureheads to create a video styling the PTP.  This video will promote involvement of youth everywhere in the Postsecondary Transition Planning process.

Check this video out to see how you can be involved and what Wisconsin youth have to share about the PTP! 

http://www.witig.org/youth-community

Thank you to all youth who took the time to share their experiences and knowledge of the PTP!

Articles Of Interest

Transition Coordinator Meeting - March 2014
Contributed by Pam Jenson, TIG Project & Data Coordinator

Register at www.witig.org
Join together for an informative professional learning opportunity.
Free to participants.
Date: March 4, 2014
Location: CESA 1 Office in Pewaukee, WI
Time: 8:00am - 4:00pm 

AGENDA
8:00              Registration
8:30-8:45      Welcome and Introductions
8:45-10:05    Report out from DPI, DHS & DVR
10:05-10:35  PROMISE Grant
10:35-10:45  Break
10:45-12:15  ACT Suite for Students with Disabilities
12:15-1:00    Lunch
1:00-1:10      WTCS Updates
1:10-1:30      A New Way of Thinking
1:30-1:45      Significant Disabilities & the PTP
1:45-2:15      Brag and Nag - Transition Assessment
2:15-2:30      Break
2:30-3:45      SMARTER Balance Assessments and Accommodations
3:45-
4:00      Questions/Comments & Adjourn

 

NEW! County Communities on Transition Retreat
Contributed by Pam Jenson, TIG Project & Data Coordinator

The Transition Improvement Grant and the Wisconsin Community on Transition would like to invite your County Communities on Transition (CCoT formerly known as TAC) to participate in the upcoming
CCoT Retreat on March 13th, 2014 at the Wilderness Glacier Canyon Lodge in Wisconsin Dells. 
We encourage members from each county to attend as a cross-agency team.  However, individual registrations are welcome.  
There is no cost for this event, but each member that is able to attend must register. 
Go to the EVENT DETAILS to register.  

Topics include:

  • An overview of the purpose of CCoT's around the state
  • An overview of county post school outcomes individualized to your county
  • Ideas for your CCoT
  • Ways to conduct an effective CCoT
  • Re-establishing CCoTs
  • Increasing employment outcomes
  • Postsecondary Transition Plans
  • Connections between accommodations and modifications in schooll

 

Voices of Self-Advocacy: The Student Perspective
Contributed by Brenda Swoboda, TIG Western Regional Coordinator

Let's be honest - sometimes there aren't enough minutes in the day! Between, Common Core, RtI, PBIS, Indicator 13, SLO's, IEP's, Educator Effectiveness, inclusion, staff meetings, duties, employment, community experiences, and parent phone calls, to name a few, we wonder how do we "fit in" instruction on Self Advocacy without compromising our work? Allow me to let you in on a little secret I'm researching - Self Advocacy is as intertwined with all of these initiatives as students and technology are to learning! With the help of two educators that teach the On Becoming a Self-Advocate curriculum and their students, I'm able to share the impact that this curriculum had on them. Their responses can guide the creative brainstorming needed to make this happen for schools and students. Without a doubt, some of their responses blew me away, some I expected, and some surprised me. Here's what our students are saying:

By taking Self-Advocacy as a class, I have learned that…..

  • "I can overcome what I thought I couldn't achieve." Ashley P
  • "Nothing is ever given to you and you have to advocate for yourself and work for what you want." Miles
  • "I can be the one that goes to talk to my high school teachers by myself and I don't have to ask any other teacher or my parents to do it for me." Anissa
     

This class has helped improve my future success with college or the workforce by…..

  • "Increasing my confidence! I've learned to speak out about my disability and needs. My classmates have learned from me that your disability doesn't matter but it's your abilities that mean the most. I was a pretty good advocate before but this class definitely helped me develop more professional skills when I talk to others about what my needs are." Andrea - college student
  • "I didn't talk for myself the first two years. I had someone else do it for me. This class has helped me get ready for what is going to happen in college." Anissa
     

If this class was taught in every high school, it would benefit students….

  • "All over, there are kids like all of us. They know they have a disability and are very, very shy about it and scared that they will be made fun of. It would make kids with disabilities stronger and more confident about themselves." Desha
  • ">"It will help you speak up for your rights and become the kind of successful person you want to be." Natalie
  • "Some kids don't have the access to life situations to learn about being a self-advocate and it would be very valuable to have the school provide this opportunity." Bailey
     

This class has changed how I feel about myself…..

  • "Now, I have the confidence to ignore bullies and move on." Mindy
  • "I can overcome my disability and do just what other people do but it might be at a different pace. I am stronger now that I can tell others that I have a disability." Ashley P
  • "It helps me through school and life. It doesn't bother me that I'm different from other people because I like being unique. It doesn't bother me that I have a disability." Natalie
     

This class as assisted me in coming up with a plan for after high school by….

  • "When no one is pushing you to help and guide you in researching careers, you are less likely to prepare for life after high school. Having a teacher help me and push me to develop a plan was a task I didn't think I could do on my own. It needed to be done." Bailey
     

Here is advice I would have for teachers that are thinking about teaching this class…

  • "Teach your kids how to become more independent and not rely just on their case manager in order to be successful." Ashley L
  • "Teachers can learn something about themselves and be more understanding of people with disabilities." John
  • "If a teacher wants to help students with disabilities, this is a perfect way to do it." Bailey
  • "I took over my IEP and that was huge! It also helped me with my public speaking so encourage students to do this." Andrea - college student
     

If you'd like to learn more about Self-Advocacy curriculum options in general or are interested in a training of the curriculum "On Becoming a Self-Advocate", contact your local TIG Regional Coordinator. Contact information for your region can be found at www.witig.org.

I would like to extend a huge thank you to Jana Weigandt from North Fond du Lac High School and Samantha Harter from Holmen High School for taking the time to have these discussions with students. Samantha states, "It was a really touching conversation that reminded by why I teach Self-Advocacy. One student told me that every student, disability or not, should take this class and that might give all students perspective on having a disability." Powerful words that will lead our work!

Wisconsin County Communities on Transition (CCoTs) : Making a Difference One Community at a Time
Contributed by Kathy Tuttle, TIG Northern Regional Coordinator

Throughout many of the 72 counties in Wisconsin, the collaborative efforts of local County Communities on Transition (CCoTs) continue to make a difference and be part of positive transition outcomes for our students with disabilities. No matter if the team is long standing, restarting, or just beginning, the meeting of these stakeholders will keep communication and information flowing and create a framework for working together creatively for the benefit of our students. Local communities can give a big "thank you" to these voluntary collaborations that are making a difference one community at a time.

Why Working Together as a CCoT Makes a Difference?

Simply put, these stakeholders coming together as a community and working within a collaborative framework have an end result that is greater than any of them working alone. Consider this quote:
"I can do things you cannot. You can do things I cannot. Together we can do great things".
Mother Teresa
It is not just the coming together that will bring these greater results. It is also the collaborative framework that is used that creates more powerful outcomes for students and families in their communities. The framework provides a "way of working" and a "way of learning."

A way of working

  • Involving those who do shared work 
  • Involving those that care about the issue
  • Always asking "who isn't here?"

A way of learning

  • Building on what each of the stakeholder groups know
  • Creating new knowledge grounded in doing the work together
  • Learning with those who can advocate for and make change

How do CCoTs make a difference?

Each county is unique and so each CCoT is unique in how their process of collaboration makes a difference for students. Their work and goals will reflect the needs of their individual communities. They may focus on providing transition information to families and students through a resource night, keeping the CCoT team current on resources through agency tours or resource maps, or focus on transition events for students; such as full day conferences or job shadows.

This is a short short list of how a CCoT can make a difference. Want to learn more or do you have more to add? You can by accepting the Transition Improvement Grant and Wisconsin Community on Transition invitation to participate in the upcoming CCoT Retreat on March 13th, 2014 at the Wilderness Glacier Canyon Lodge in Wisconsin Dells. We encourage members from each county to attend as a team. However, individual registrations are welcome. To see the event details and to register, go to http://www.witig.org/event-details.html?id=1443. There is no cost for this event, but each member that is able to attend must register. A new Guide for Wisconsin CCoTs will be available along with an incredible day of great sessions for all CCoTs--those longstanding, restarting or those just beginning their work. We are looking forward to a great day of learning and collaboration!

Wisconsin Post School Outcomes/Indicator 14 Survey and the Predictors of Post-School Success
Contributed by Mary Kampa, TIG Post School Outcomes with Jenny Jacobs, TIG Post School Outcomes Outreach

Indicator 14 is an unduplicated measure of the percent of youth who are no longer in secondary school and had Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) in effect at the time they left school.
Former students are counted in only one category. For more information about Indicator 14, go to the www.wipso.org website.


Districts Conducting Own Interviews to Improve District PSO Response Rates

The district's response rate is the number of successfully completed interviews divided by the total number of exiters who were eligible to be interviewed during that interview cycle.  The higher the response rate, the better the view the districts has of their transition programming and post school outcomes of their students. 

Districts now have the option to conduct their own PSO interview to fulfill the Indicator 14 data collection responsibilities of the Department of Public Instruction's Self-Assessment Monitoring.

Directors of Special Education/ Pupil Services, consider this option for your district:

  • Interviewer training is available to all staff.
  • A monetary stipend is provided to teachers who complete training (May) and conduct the interviews during the district's monitoring year (June - August).

  • Districts are required to have a minimum 20% response rate. If your district's response is lower than this, your district will be required to participate in the 2015 survey as well.

  • Teachers who have conducted their district's PSO interviews report the experience was very rewarding and helped them better understand the transition planning needs of district students and challenges of exited students.

  • St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute (SRI) will be contracted to conduct interviews on behalf of the district if interviewer training is not selected by the district.

During the 2012-13 school year, several districts conducted their own surveys and had much higher response rates than when SRI called. Teachers who conducted their district's PSO interviews report their experience was very rewarding and helped them better understand the transition needs of district students and challenges students have after exiting. Former students also report being impressed the school called to ask how things were going for them.  Consider conducting your own surveys each year to see the results of your hard work.  The survey will provide you with valuable information on graduated students so you are able to continue the good work you have completed with students as well as focus on the areas needed to improve outcomes for students with disabilities in your school.

Indicator 14 Data Review & Transition Improvement Plan (TIP) Trainings
Scheduled at the following CESAs during February and March
CESA #4 February 24th                       CESA #8 March 27th 
CESA #2 March 11th                           CESA #9 March 28th
CESA #7 March 26th                           Register on www.witig.org by clicking the event listed on the Calendar of Events.

Be sure to visit Indicator 14 - Post School Outcomes: www.wipso.org   - NEW URL!!

Transition Improvement Plan (TIP) and the Predictors of Post-School Success
Contributed by Mary Kampa, TIG Post School Outcomes with Jenny Jacobs, TIG Post School Outcomes Outreach


There are currently 16 Predictors, and in the last two newsletters we presented the first two Predictor categories which focused on Career Choices and Work Preparation.  The third cluster of Predictors focus on 
Networking, which includes the activities that engage family and community transition partners and provides transition programming  that is focused on supports and services.  Youth with involved transition partners report increased post high school satisfaction and success in many areas of adult living.

  1.  Family Engagement - Parents/families/guardians are active and knowledgeable participants in all aspects of transition planning.  They attend meetings, participate in decision-making and advocate for their child. • Activity:  Establish a welcoming atmosphere in the school by developing a system of ongoing communication and interaction.
    • Resource: Parent/Youth PTP Guide
  2. Student Support - Includes a network of people such as family, friends, educators and adult service providers who provide services and resources in multiple environments to prepare students to obtain post-secondary goals aligned with their preferences, interests, and needs.  
    • Activity: Develop and implement procedures for cultivating and maintaining school and community networks to assist students in obtaining their postsecondary goals.
    • Resource: The 10 Top Things You Should Know About DVR
  3.  Interagency Collaboration - This is a clear, purposeful and carefully designed process that promotes cross agency, cross program and cross disciplinary collaborative efforts leading to tangible transition outcomes for youth.
    • Activity: Participate in local County Communities on Transition (CCoT)
    • Resource: Transition Action Guide for Post-School Planning
  4. Transition Programming - Prepares students to move from secondary settings to adult life utilizing comprehensive transition planning and education that creates individualized opportunities, services, and supports to help students achieve their post-school goals in education and training, employment and independent living. 
    • Activity: Provide individualized transition services based on students' postsecondary goals in postsecondary education, employment, and independent living
    • Resource:  Opening Doors to Post-Secondary Education and Training.
District Transition Reports - View Professional Learning
Contributed by Tammi Biddle, TIG Administrative Assistant

A benefit of signing up for an account on the Transition Improvement Grant website is that it offers Special Education Directors a quick and simple way to view Professional Learning opportunities attended by staff through the District Transition link. 

To View Details regarding your district personnel:

Log into your account 

The District Transition feature will appear as it does above.

Next: 

  1. Select "District Transition" from the left-hand list
  2. Select your CESA 
  3. Select your School District
  4. Select your School
  5. Select Report Type "Full"
  6. Select "Submit"

As you view the Full Report for your district, you will find the list of individual Professional Learning opportunities attended or viewed by users affiliated with your district, including parents.

This list includes the title of the Professional Learning and the date on which it was attended or viewed to completion.

The District Transition Report contains other important information; such as listing Technical Assistance provided to your district by the Transition Improvement Grant team.

Please take the time to log into your account and take a tour of the District Transition feature.  You will find a great deal of useful information regarding your district as it associates to training and assistance to improve outcomes for transition-aged students in your district.  So, encourage your staff to sign up for a user account on www.witig.org and put the best, free information, updates and learning opportunities about transition in Wisconsin at your fingertips.

Technology - Read & Write for Google
Contributed by LaNae Jabas, TIG Eastern Regional Coordinator

The overall arching goal of finding and using appropriate assistive technology programs and devices starts with figuring out what is educationally necessary for a student to receive (FAPE) Free and Appropriate Public Education while allowing for adequate progress to be made.  The Read & Write Chrome Extension Tool Bar is a wonderful assistive technology option for struggling readers and writers, students with a learning disability (such as dyslexia), and English language learners. This robust, all-in-one tool, integrates with Google Drive allowing students to access Google Doc, PDF's, E-PUB and more.  The program provides read aloud (text to speech) with dual color and highlighting.  In addition, there are a variety of tools students can use when given a reading and/or writing assignment.  Tools such as word prediction, picture dictionary, talking dictionary, translator, fact finder, study skills highlighters, and vocabulary list builder to create a new document with highlighted words, definitions and images all of which can help bridge the gap between spoken and written language.  This free application can be run on Mac's, PC's and Chromebooks.  When you download the program you have access to ALL premium features for 30 days. Click on the link for more information:  http://goo.gl/qQ3X1p  

James: Making it at Monks
Contributed by Brian Kenney, TIG Southern Regional Coordinator

James Sellers is a 16 year-old, attending his junior year at the Wisconsin Dells High School.  He is enrolled in a special education program, in which his schedule consists of attending school the first half of the day and then going to work the second half.  James enjoys cooking and has set a postsecondary transition plan goal to become a cook.   James loves working in the kitchen at his current job with Monk's at the Wilderness and is on his way to meeting his goal.

James has been employed part-time at Monks for nearly 6 months.  In that time, he has become a full-fledged member of their team and any number of employees at Monks can verify that is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  In speaking with several of their employees, they describe James as humorous, happy, hard working, conversational and honest, and James is thriving there. 

Young man surrounded by his co-workers and job coachTeam James - Just looking at the smiling faces says it all! People are happier when they are working around James. Names (L-R) - Chef Tara Newman (Kitchen Supervisor), Ben Anderson (General Manager), Wendie Gregerson (Supportive Employment Specialist - Wisconsin Dells High School), James Sellers & Alex Galleros (Bartender)

Just looking at the smiling faces says it all!  People are happier when they are working around James. James' primary responsibility is portioning an assortment of products used in recipe and food service operations.   He has enjoyed learning to portion a variety of items and has been successful in handling the change from one product to another.  He has learned to use baggies and a scale to portion the items and is accurate in his measurements.  His job coach is responsible for quality control and ensures James is precise in measuring.  On a daily basis, James is told the services he provides are valuable to the cooks and food prep workers.   Because James provides quality work and accurate portions, Monk's is able to reduce waste and be more efficient, thereby saving money. This is a huge benefit to the employer!  James also accomplishes job tasks such as:sweeping the dining area, setting up tables, counting products on hand, stocking dry products and general cleaning inside and outside the kitchen.

Ben Anderson, General Manager of Monks, states that he really enjoys James' humorous and expressive personality. "It creates an instant morale-booster in the other employees."  They are happy when talking with James and staff engage him in meaningful conversations.  Ben is already looking at possibilities of giving James more responsibilities in the kitchen.  He also looks forward to including him in all staff development activities promoted by Monks.  Ben thought it would be good to see James do some salad preparation and possibly learn how to prepare quesadillas and small appetizers.  The vision Monks has for James speaks for their level of dedication to employing him long term.

His supported employment specialist Wendie, speaks very highly of the overall atmosphere at Monks.  They see James as a young man who wants to learn more, feel part of a team and show that he can be productive; more than see his developmental disability.  That type of dedication speaks volumes when you're attempting to provide supports and improve employment outcomes.  The entire staff at Monks views James as an equal, a contributor and a qualified individual who is developing social and emotional relationships.  Wendie sees her major role with James as a coach.  She is there to provide James with any needed redirection and to clarify expectations, sometimes utilizing visual reminders and cues, and other times, demonstrating and reinforcing him for a job well done.  Wendie is always looking for ways to improve his job performance and she would like to use more visual schedules and possibly utilize James' I-Pad in his employment.  She believes that creating video trailers of his various job tasks and utilizing various type of software, could be very helpful in increasing his independence. Young man stands, smiling, with his job coach

In speaking with the Franchise owner, Tom Heller, Monks has a strong interest in developing other employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities at its various locations.  With them opening franchises in various Wisconsin locations in the years to come, the employment outlook for individuals with disabilities looks bright.  During my time interviewing employees, they were all willing to share his success story from their perspective.  They were able to give me a snapshot of his work routines and describe how a vast array of support networks have evolved to help James succeed.  All of his supports and community based partners have joined together to ensure he maintains employment and continues his journey towards a fulfilling career at Monks.  James has numerous supports within his employment setting, in fact, so many I would need to write a separate article just to note them all.  Monks is no doubt making things happen for James, and in return, James is feeling the satisfaction of a job well done.  Keep up the good work Monks and James!

School to Work Transition Program Brings Unique Opportunity to Day Care Children
Contributed by Jane Ahl, Employment Training Specialist

Milwaukee Public Schools' junior Lizbeth Lopez-Carillo has had a chance to share her skills with children at the Nurturing Nook.

Lizbeth participates in the Community Assessment Training Program (CATP).  CATP is one component of the full spectrum of services offered by the School to Work Transition Program.  This program extensively prepares students, of varying abilities, for employment and community living.

In addition to her daily work duties Lizbeth has been able to teach sign language to the day care children.  Lizbeth uses sign language, gestures, facial expressions, lip reading, written notes and keen observation skills in order to communicate with children, staff and parents. Teachers requested that Lizbeth also share her dances skills with the young ones.  Lizbeth is a member of the Dance Academy of Mexico and recently performed traditional dances, in classic dress, with the group at a special event.  She enjoys seeing the kids imitate her dance moves.

In this picture, Lizbeth reads a book to a group of young students at the daycare center, where she works.

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