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Transition Leadership Institute Friday Sessions

COVID-19 and Special Education

View information for educators and parents to support students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 resources for special education


Friday June 14, 2019

The Gift: LD/ADHD Reframed

Jonathan Mooney, Author

Learning disabilities (LD) and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) are profoundly paradoxical experiences. Often students with these academic and behavioral labels struggle profoundly in traditional settings. Yet emerging brain research suggests that many students labeled LD/ADHD have profound gifts for creative and visual thinking that go unrecognized in academic environments. As a result, many bright and gifted labeled students struggle with a devastating pattern of academic failure, learned helplessness, and low self-esteem. This presentation tackles this paradox head on. In this presentation, Jonathan clearly outlines the research that validates a reframing of LD/ADHD as not a set of deficits or disorders but in fact, as cognitive gifts. He speaks honestly, based on his personal and professional experience, about the systemic and cultural barriers to validating these unique learning styles. Most importantly, in this practical presentation, Jonathan empowers educators with concrete strategies to build a positive self-understanding in their labeled student.

Jonathan Mooney is a writer and learning activist who did not learn to read until he was 12 years old. In 1997, as an undergraduate at Brown University, Jonathan co-founded Project Eye-To-Eye, a non-profit advocacy organization for students with learning differences. Jonathan is a highly sought after speaker on neurodiversity, education reform, the learning revolution, and creating college and career pathways for at risk youth. He has lectured in 43 states and three countries. He has been featured and quoted in/on The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, HBO, NPR, ABC News, New York Magazine, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. Jonathan has published several books including, Learning Outside The Lines (now in its 18th printing) and The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal published in the spring of 2007.

Differentiation in Career Education Center (CTE) - Beyond Extended Time

Johanna Staple, Special Education Teacher, Denver Public Schools

Strand: Career Tech/Ed

Career and technical courses provide great opportunities for hands-on learning in which students with special needs can thrive and excel. What instructional tools and techniques can best support student learning in these environments? This presentation will share teacher experiences and strategies from DPS' CEC Early College that have helped students to successfully access CTE courses.

Implementing W.A.G.E.S.: An Effective Vocational Related Social Skills Curriculum for Students 15-21

Josh Barbour, Transition Network Facilitator

Strand: Employment Career

W.A.G.E.S. (Working At Gaining Employment Skills) is an intensive and easy to use curriculum designed to teach students social and executive functioning skills to acquire and keep a job. The W.A.G.E.S. features 33 lessons that are built on the precepts of Locus of Control, Teamwork, Communication, and Problem Solving. This session will feature an overview of the W.A.G.E.S. curriculum and a discussion on how it has been implemented in school districts in Oregon. The presenter will give an overview of several lessons and speak about how the learned skills can be generalized to the work setting.

Digital Portfolios for Demonstrating Mastery

Sahvanna Mease, Family Consumer, ScienceTeacher, El Paso-Falcon 49 - Vista Ridge High School

Strand: Technology

Bring your computer to this interactive session! Learn how digital portfolios are being used to demonstrate classroom and graduation mastery in a CTE classroom. Using Google Sites, you will see student examples as well as have time to build your own portfolio.

Welcome to Starting a School Business

Jacques Plante, Special Education/ACE CTE Teacher, Denver Public Schools

Student Panel

Strand: Career Tech/Ed

Welcome to Starting a School Business is intended to be an informational and ideas sharing session on developing work based learning experiences and starting a school business. The presenter will share his experiences collaborating on the development of a school store business over the past 2 years. The presentation will focus on steps for developing a school based business team and proposal, as well as an approach to planning work based learning experiences. The presentation will be open to questions, comments, and collaboration throughout the session and will include a student panel.

Assistive Technology and Transition from High School

Maureen Malonis, Director, Consultant, Assistive Technology Partners

Strand: Technology

Assistive Technology (AT) devices and services help people with disabilities participate more independently within their home, employment and school settings. Students who have access to AT options that meet their specific needs will be more successful both in the present and as they plan for their futures. Transition planning is designed to prepare a student for post-secondary educational, employment, and/or community environments and it is important that AT be a part of that process. Students, their families, and their education teams need to carefully consider, plan and document AT needs during this time. This session will explore some of the resources for AT before, during and after transition from high school. We will discuss some of the differences between K‐12 and post high school in regards to AT expectations, laws, and processes. We will share strategies to help students become self-advocates in the area of AT.

Transition Trifecta: Self-Advocacy, Executive Functioning Skills and Competitive Employment Opportunities

Dr. Chris Elliott, Director, Eagle School District Salon GDonna Johnson, Teacher
Susan Elliott, MS Special Education Teacher

Strand: Employment Career

Hear first-hand how this rural transition team has utilized self-advocacy strategies and executive functioning skills training to facilitate competitive employment. The presenters will share a variety of person centered planning resources that are available to support the person-centered planning process. Learn how the students in this 18 - 21 program use the information garnered from their person-centered plan to lead their own IEP meeting, set their IEP goals and live their preferred future. Over 80% of the students, over the past five years, have gained and maintained competitive employment. Dr. Elliott will share the tools and strategies for executive functioning skills training for best post-secondary life outcomes. Be inspired and take home the tools to implement this model in your community.

Economic Opportunities and Challenges in Rural Colorado – Do what we do Best and Link to the Rest!

Clarke Becker, Director, Colorado Rural Workforce Consortium

Strand: Employment Career

This session will discuss the economic challenges and opportunities unique to rural Colorado as well as the unique challenges for those with special needs in career development. Clarke will provide background and insight from his many years of community and economic development experience working in small and rural areas and looks forward to discussion and dialogue from the attendee perspective toward lifelong learning. Learn, connect, transfer, and think Goals before Tools!

Building Purposeful Lives Through Individualized Student Transition Employment Program Services (InSTEPS)

Jami Salyer, Assistant Principal, Mesa School District

Student Panel

Strand: Career Tech/Ed

InSTEPS differentiates experiences for 18-21 year old participants with significant cognitive and/or adaptive skills deficiencies. Our program focuses on professional, life and social skills. These young adults learn to live practical and purposeful lives at the highest level of interdependence possible. You will see multiple viewpoints as our panel will include two InSTEPS graduates, Kelly Weeks (Instructor) and Donna Whetstone (SWAP).

Normal People Are People You Don't Know Very Well

Jonathan Mooney, Keynote Speaker, Author

Strand: Postsecondary Education/Training

This presentation draws on the best practices of inclusion to affirm and celebrate and challenge the audience to recommit to inclusive education and communities. In this presentation Jonathan looks at how inclusive leaning environments and communities believe that individuals don't have disabilities but experience disabilities as a result of environmental constraints, have a deep commitment to disability as a form of human diversity, and have taken steps to include disability within a larger diversity and social justice and civil rights paradigm, and lastly, have a strength-based human centered design approach to engaging and empowering opposed to pathologizing people with cognitive and physical differences. This presentation draws on cutting-edge research in inclusion and neuro-diversity giving concrete examples of best practices from communities around the world and ultimately affirms and celebrates the inclusive movement as a fight for every human being's right to be different.

Mobile Technology Supports for Work-Based Learning

Courtney Kallas, Transition Specialist, Denver Public Schools

Strand: Technology

Explore the effects of mobile technology on self-efficacy, self-determination and meeting workplace expectations in high school work-based learning programs.

Post-Secondary Partnerships and Services: Workshop and Networking in Colorado

Nicole Beauvais, Transition Coordinator, El Paso 12, Cheyenne Mtn SD, EvergreenTheresa Felton, El Paso 2- Harrison SD
Katie Ueberroth, Ute Pass BOCES
Kim Van Valkenburg, El Paso 20 - Academy

Practioner Panel

Strand: Interagency Collaboration

This presentation will discuss how the transition coordinators in the Pikes Peak Region meet on a monthly basis in order to support one another and share information and resources. It will also discuss the Pikes Peak Interagency Transition Team's (PPITT) purpose and history. The presenters will discuss the benefits of being a part of the two groups; how it has enhanced their student's services and how it has helped in idea sharing. The presentation will also go over how to create these type of groups. In addition, participants will be asked to share ideas of creative and innovative services that they are providing in their own districts. The first part of the presentation will be a panel discussion and the second part will be an opportunity to workshop, network and share ideas with others from around the state.

College and Career Preparation: The Skills that Matter

Cathi Allen, Executive Director, Inclusive Higher Education Certificate Program, Metro State University

Strand: Postsecondary Education/Training

Engagement and academic success in high school is critically important to ensure students with learning, intellectual, and developmental differences complete high school and have a viable path to and through postsecondary education. Although many high school students say they want to pursue postsecondary education or training, a significant proportion are not actively engaged in their current coursework and know little about focus, learning, and study strategies. Lessons learned from developing an online College and Career Preparation curriculum and implementing it with transition age youth in both on-campus and high school settings will be shared. Access to and comfort with technology, the need for age and intellectually appropriate content, and strategies for increasing student engagement will be presented. Recommended practices and free resources will be offered to expand educator's toolkits of College and Career Preparation strategies for transition-age youth with a wide range of learning, intellectual, and developmental differences.

Book Clubs Rock! Helping people with disabilities enjoy books, friends and their community!

Dr. Chris Elliott, Director, Eagle School District
Donna Johnson, Teacher
Susan Elliott, MS Special Education Teacher

Strand: Independent Living

Book Clubs are rewarding learning and social opportunities for all people. Hear first-hand how the presenters from Eagle County School District launched a book club and partnered with their local library district to share their love of books and enrich the lives of young adults with disabilities. This interactive presentation will cover all aspects of sponsoring, organizing and implementing a book club in your community. Participants will learn how to engage book club members with pre-reading visual supports, use strategies to initiate or improve reading skills, and build an interactive social community in which a love of lifelong learning is fostered. Please join us for a mini book reveal party and a captivating introduction to the selected book. Presenters will model a typical book club session. Following this presentation, participants will be prepared to enrich their community with a book club for adults with disabilities.

Options: Planning for a Successful Transition from High School to the World for Students with Executive Function Challenges

Kay Axtell, ADHD/Executive Function Skills Life Coach, Center for Living Well with ADHD

Strand: Postsecondary Education/Training

Many exceptional students experience executive function skill deficits that make transitioning from high school to the real world a challenge. Oftentimes, these students and their parents do not consider the complexity experienced in this transition, nor do they have a real awareness of the options available that might be in the student's best interest. The presentation will identify the importance of students understanding their interests, skills, capabilities and passions. It will also explore specific academic and social challenges that impact life after high school. Assessments of the strengths and challenges for the individual student as a precursor to choosing among the many options available will be discussed. An emphasis on the importance of the student's role in the process will be highlighted. Strategies that parents and teachers might utilize for engaging the student in a collaborative method for future plans will be presented.

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