Of course there are always interesting twists and turns in any field of study and secondary transition is no stranger to making its own “transitions.” As a result of Jeff Petersen’s and Bill Dorrell’s retirement at the end of this school year, our remaining GPAEA Secondary Transition Coordinators, Virgil Morgan and Keith Dimmitt, are ready and willing to “retro-fit” future services and supports. They will continue to help school districts across GPAEA with their special education activities and initiatives. Some of those are the following:
- They will continue to strive to provide quality services to our schools on an equitable basis…. meaningful availability with consistent and timely responses.
- Their future delivery model with students, teachers, parents and administration will include the use of technology and other emerging ways to communicate. This will help ensure services regarding the special need domains of living, learning and working.
- They will expand the content coach model within each school district. The content model will be implemented and consistent to develop more capacity within the districts regarding well-written and followed IEPs.
- Transition Coordinators will continue to:
- Assist school districts as they participate in the Special Education Compliance Monitoring IEP Reviews
- Complete transition interviews with 11th grade students who have IEPs.
- Provide consultation for Work-Experience or Multi-Occupational programs to support student placement in their communities.
- Collaborate with their Parent Educator Connection to research options for families for their living, learning and working needs.
- Provide professional development in all areas of secondary transition with a continued focus on Indicator B-13, which includes: 1. Student Interests, Strengths & Preferences, 2. Age-appropriate Transition Assessments for Living, Learning and Working, 3. Post-Secondary Expectations, 4. Course of Study, 5. Annual Goals, 6. Services and Supports.
During the 2011-12 school year, Transition Coordinators also interviewed a sampling of juniors from 14 high schools throughout Great Prairie AEA in order to assist in the IEP Transition Planning process. They also collected and generated data pertaining to particular responses. Some of those responses included the following:
- 85% of our juniors could state or produce their social security numbers.
- 90% of our juniors had previous paid work-experiences (although minimal times)
- 51% had their own driver’s license,
- 23% had driver’s permits, 26% had neither of these.
- 43% of the students could describe what their IEP was or meant to them.
- 72% of our students have always attended their IEP meetings, 20% sometimes attended their IEP meetings, 8% stated they never attended their meetings (attending since the age of 14 years).
When asked about extra-curricular involvement,
- 47% were involved in sports, 8% involved in FFA, 4% in drama club, 8% in band, 2% involved in speech/debate, 53% had no participation in extra-curricular activities.
When asked about having a checking or savings accounts,
- 29% stated having checking accounts and 38% stated having savings accounts
- 47% stated having either checking or savings.
When asked if they had been contacted or connected (at the time of interview),
- 16% stated their VR counselor had contacted them.
Over the course of the 2011–12 school year, our GPAEA college bound students have been introduced to some new options for post-secondary learning. Earlier in the year, Job Corps (http://ottumwa.jobcorps.gov/home.aspx) opened its facility to provide great opportunities. This enables our area students to become certified and licensed in several occupational areas. These areas are determined by the Department of Labor as areas of job demand/need within the United States.
Another post-secondary college program available for our area special needs students is the R.I.S.E. (Raising Individual Student Expectations) program. This program, through Indian Hills Community College, provides individual supports and accommodations for college freshman. This post-secondary opportunity was developed and modeled after the Southeastern Community College S.T.E.P. program based in Burlington.
The Transition Coordinator’s direct involvement with the Department of Education has led to the participation in grant activities. During the past six years the Secondary Professional Development Grant (SPDG) has proven to be beneficial to Great Prairie’s area schools. It has been responsible for providing assessment materials and professional development for teachers and AEA employees. The grant has enabled teachers to use a variety of assessment ideas and materials that they may not have had an opportunity to explore or purchase. As it nears the end of its sixth year it has clearly been a great benefit for districts within Great Prairie AEA.
The Transition Coordinators would like to give a special thanks to Tom Mosbach, Regional Special Education Director, for his leadership and guidance. We look forward to providing quality services to our area school districts in the future!
Keith Dimmitt, Transition Coordinator
Virgil Morgan, Transition Coordinator