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Transition Leadership Institute Thursday 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


Thursday June 13, 2019

8:00 AM - 9:30 AM  - General Session - Welcome & Keynote

Radical Leadership/Heart-Centered Leadership for Educators

A Radical Leader is someone who knows deeply in their heart, who and what to follow.

Craig Zablocki

With strong elements of relevance and levity, Craig challenges educators to consider what an effective leader is: someone who leads by example; who takes themselves lightly while leading from purpose; who is willing to be vulnerable, who champions others, can own their “stuff”, and knows their weaknesses. Someone who taps into their innate creativity, joy, and passion, and helps their colleagues and students do the same. Radical Leadership will bring you back to your authentic self, create enthusiasm for your mission, and create a tangible model for your students.

Craig was an inner-city high school teacher, and has managed several businesses. He is called upon to help others transform the obstacles that keep them stuck, lift them up and breathe new life into their purpose! Aside from numerous interviews and articles written by or about Craig, he authored the book “Improv 101, Unleashing Your Creative Spirit” and has an audio program “The Intelligence of Fun, Live with Craig Zablocki”.

9:45 AM - 11:00 AM  - Concurrent Sessions

Bridge positive post-school outcomes for students by investing in Career & Technical Education (CTE) programming!

Lauren Jones Austin, CTE in Colorado/Community College System                   
Robin Russel, Colorado Department of Education (CDE)

Strand: Career Tech/Ed

Alternative Cooperative Education (ACE) is a Career & Technical Education (CTE) program inclusive of students identified as Special Populations. Join seasoned ACE-CTE teachers to learn how an ACE program can benefit your students, your school culture and your post-school outcomes.  Discover ideas and strategies to improve engagement rates, completion rates and post-secondary outcomes utilizing this dedicated Career and Technical Education via a panel of practitioners.

Greater than You and Me: Synergy in Action

Craig Zablocki, Trainer, Keynote Speaker & Author

Strand: All Strands

Working with other educators, agencies or your students, shouldn’t feel like pulling a sled through waist-high mud. If a group really works together, it becomes totally doable! It’s in the connections that the magic happens; just like setting those last jigsaw pieces in place and seeing all the pieces together.

Synergy in Action teaches us how to collaborate and be productive, while being energized, creative, and deeply satisfied! It allows our natural individual strengths to compliment the group. It’s about tying one’s individual purpose into something greater than themselves.

Using Facilitative Skills to Improve Outcomes within the IEP Process

Dr. Mary Anne Fleury, Colorado Department of Education (CDE)
Michelle Nay, Parent Liaison, Lewis Palmer School District

Strand:  Family Engagement

This workshop will focus on increasing collaborative relationships in the IEP process, ensuring parent engagement. Participants will learn about and receive tools that can be implemented immediately to support positive outcomes in the development of the IEP.  The tools will support moving a team towards success, even when conflict is already present.  Attend and receive your tool kit to bring back to your teams!

Postsecondary Options Other Than College

Brett Schager, Business Development for Youth, Adams County Workforce & Business Center 

Strand:  Post-Secondary Education/Training

This workshop is designed to familiarize those who are well-versed in information about entering college but do not have as much information about alternative educational and vocational pathways into the workforce for youth after high school.  The course presents free tools for career exploration and labor market information, including Virtual Job Shadow, a website of engaging videos where people talk about what it’s like to work in their occupation.  It spans all industries and can be filtered by career assessment results.  Participants will learn about postsecondary options that are alternatives to college including apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, JobCorps, certificates, and licenses.  They will also learn about other paths into the workforce through clubs, professional memberships, internships, externships, and informational interviewing.

Secondary Transition 101: Writing Meaningful and Compliant IEPs

Deb Huerta, ESS Consultant, Aurora Public Schools  
Dr. Eric Purdy, Special Ed Coordinator Academy 20
Nicole Minnis, Specialist, Pueblo City Schools
Dr. Chris Elliott, Director, Eagle
Denise Rahe, Special Ed Director, Colorado River BOCES

Strand:  All Strands

This presentation is an overview of the transition requirements of IDEA and best practices in transition planning. Participants will become familiar with the major components required in transition IEPs and access materials and information to use for planning.

Partnership in Action, A Summit County Story

Katy Boothby, Youth Career Coach, Colorado Department of Labor & Employment (CLDE)    
Anne Christensen, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)
Lianne Jackson, Northwest Colorado Center for Independence

Strand:  Interagency Collaboration

Six entities have come together to make a difference for transitioning students with disabilities in Summit County. The Workforce Center, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Easter Seals, Northwest Colorado Center for Independence, Summit High School and Colorado Mountain College collaborate to plan events, tours and learning opportunities. Please join us and hear how we do it.

I Love Pets!

Emmalyn Hendricks, Student
Karen Artemis, Teacher, Clear Creek HS 

Strand:  Employment Career

The youth-driven company which supplies dog treats and dog cakes to teachers, parents, students, and local businesses.  The catalyst for, I Love Pets, is Emmalyn's dream to save cats and dogs from shelters as well as start her own bakery and supply store for dogs and cats. We are not in local business yet!  That is in-process!

11:15 AM - 12:30 PM - Concurrent Sessions

Bridge your Successes with Capstone and ICAP!

Lauren Jones Austin, CTE in Colorado/Community College System
Robin Russel, Colorado Department of Education (CDE)
Strand:  Employment Career

Colorado Graduation Guidelines (GG) go into effect in 2021. Colorado ICAP turns 10 years old during 2019-2020 school year. Join a panel of subject matter experts as we dive into practical strategies and ideas for meeting and exceeding Capstone as a GG menu item - specifically for students with disabilities AND dive deep into how IEPs are ICAP on steroids!

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. 


Autism, Autism Speaks and YOU

Colleen Shinn, Director of Community Outreach, Autism Speaks

Strand:  Family Engagement

Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. You are invited to join us to learn more about Autism and how Autism Speaks enhances lives today and accelerates a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow for the 1/59 individuals living with Autism and their loved ones through their resources in the mission areas of Science, Advocacy and Supports and Services.


Closing the TGAP: A Tool to Create Meaningful and Compliant Annual Goals in Transition IEPs​ (PART 1)

Dr. Lori Peterson, Professor, University of Northern Colorado (UNC)
Pamela Brezenski, Special Education Coordinator, Scottsbluff, NE
Jessica Stauffer, Special Education Teacher, Harrisburg, NE

Strand:  All Strands

Simplify the process of developing compliant and meaningful transition IEPs. The Transition Gap Analysis Process (TGAP) is a graphic organizer that walks you through the creation of annual goals that authentically relate to the skills, knowledge and behaviors needed to close student performance gaps. In this presentation you will learn about the TGAP, and how you and your students can use the TGAP to develop compliant and meaningful IEPs. Hear experiences and tips from a practitioner who successfully develops IEPs using the TGAP. The presentation includes the opportunity for guided and independent practice with the TGAP.

Identifying Conditions for Success in Employment: Discovery Services for Students

Patricia Henke, Manager of Supported Employment Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)                                               
Deb Huerta, Exceptional Student Services, Aurora Public Schools

Strand:  Employment Career

Discovery Services provides students with significant disabilities the opportunity to explore their talents that can be realized in competitive integrated employment.  There are 3 key principles to consider for Discovery Services to be successful:
  1. Conditions for Success 
  2. Interests for employment
  3. Potential Contributions    
This breakout session will illustrate how these services were implemented with a student at Aurora High School as part of the Discovery Services & Customized Employment Pilot in Colorado.


Implementing Self-Directed IEPs

Tom Jacobs, Special Education Coordinator, Colorado Spring District 11, Mitchell HS
Student Panel  
Strand:  Independent Living

Over the past several years, students from Mitchell High School have been successfully presenting Self-Directed IEPs. As a result of these experiences, the students have had opportunities to share them with college students at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs who are preparing to be teachers. Recently, the PEAK Parent Center Youth team has collaborated with these students to bring this presentation to the Conference on Inclusive Education. The students share parts of their self-directed IEPs and explain how being involved with their education has positively affected their lives. Participants will be: 
  1. Inspired to implement student-led IEPs
  2. Informed about the logistical requirements 
  3. Provided with a template that can assist the process 

Voices of Entrepreneurship - Success Comes in Many Forms

Barb Goldsby, Parent, Non-Profit business owner, Advocate for entrepreneurs
Parent & Entrepreneur Panel 
Strand:  Employment Career        

Individuals with disabilities and their parents/caregivers will discuss their individual paths to creating their own businesses. They will discuss what worked, what didn’t, and what supports they needed through the process. They will also have their wares/good available for sale in the vendor area of the conference.

1:40 PM - 2:00 PM - General Session 

2:10 PM - 3:25 PM - Concurrent Sessions

STRIDES - A 5-Star Model for Post-High School Transition Program through Community Collaborations with Yampa Valley Autism, DVR, and Other Community Agencies.

Lisa Lorenz, Executive Director, Yampa Valley Autism Program
Agency Panel
Strand: Interagency Collaboration

The presentation focuses on our successful model that can be replicated in any community, rural or urban, and focuses on off-campus post-high school transition services. This includes inter-agency collaborations, engagement of the business community, independent living skills, and social immersion in the community.

Leveling Up: Promoting Successful Transitions into Post-Secondary Education  for Students with Disabilities

Dr. Erin Yosai, Assistant Professor of School Psychology, University of Northern Colorado (UNC)                                         
Student Panel
Strand: Postsecondary Education/Training

From 1978 to 1994, the number of students with disabilities (SWD), attending college more than tripled; with the number of SWD enrolled in post-secondary education continuing to increase every year  (Newman, 2005; Stodden, 2001). In 2015 alone, approximately 11% or 2 million college students registered with a disability at their post-secondary institution (National Council on Disability, 2015) Unique stressors accompany the college experience, and SWD are particularly vulnerable to stress, academic hardship, and attrition (Hutcheon & Wolbring, 2012).  Although disability accommodation services vary widely from institution to institution, it is important to consider how SWD are being prepped for this transition while still in high school. This presentation will provide helpful tips and methods for helping students bridge the post-secondary transition successfully. This interactive workshop will include discussion of current barriers and challenges faced by high-school educators and administrators when helping SWD prepare for the post-secondary transition. Multiple aspects of the college transition will be discussed, including legal/ethical considerations, skill-building, and self-advocacy. Finally, recommendations for better preparing both educators and SWDs for a successful college transition will be offered. 

College for Students with Intellectual Disabilities? Making it Happen!

Shelby Bates, Education and Outreach Coordinator, IN! Colorado Initiative for Inclusive Higher Education
Tracy Murphy, Executive Director, IN! - Colorado Initiative for Inclusive Higher Education
Strand: Postsecondary Education/Training

Thanks to the Inclusive Higher Education Pilot Program in Colorado, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities can now attend college at the University of Northern Colorado, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and Arapahoe Community College as fully matriculated students.  At this session, you will learn more about the programs, the intended outcomes, including how students transition towards independent living and gainful employment.  The presentation will review the skill sets that will help students transition to college and what schools can do to work towards this goal. The session will conclude with a discussion on collaborative methods to ensure college opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities are maintained in our state. 

Closing the TGAP: A Tool to Create Meaningful Annual Goals in Transition IEPs (Part 2)

Dr. Lori Peterson, Professor, University of Norther Colorado (UNC)
Pamela Brezenski, Special Education Coordinator, Scottsbluff, NE
Jessica Stauffer, Special Education Teacher, Harrisburg, NE
Strand:  All Strands

Simplify the process of developing compliant and meaningful transition IEPs. The Transition Gap Analysis Process (TGAP) is a graphic organizer that walks you through the creation of annual goals that authentically relate to the skills, knowledge and behaviors needed to close student performance gaps. In this presentation you will learn about the TGAP, and how you and your students can use the TGAP to develop compliant and meaningful IEPs. Hear experiences and tips from a practitioner who successfully develops IEPs using the TGAP.  The presentation includes the opportunity for guided and independent practice with the TGAP.  

Work Experience Study (WES) Capstone: How to Support Students in Independence and Documenting.

Elizabeth Lynch, Alternate Coop Special Education (ACE) Teacher, Thomas Jefferson HS, Denver Public Schools                              
Strand: Postsecondary Education/Training

Strategies for meeting Capstone requirements for students with disabilities will cover different strategies to complete a Capstone for students with disabilities. This session will include examples of class lessons, interest surveys, and online organizational strategies. We will utilize Google classroom, forms, and sheets to create efficient structures for case management. There will be time for collaboration with peers, sharing resources, and brainstorm solutions to common Capstone challenges.

It’s Time to Shift for Successful Transition! Role Changes for Families during Transition and How Professionals Can Help

Beth Schaffner, Director of RSA Shift Project, PEAK Parent Center
Strand: Family Engagement

Parents provide important guidance and support to their young people as they grow up.  However, as children with disabilities move from school to the adult world, the parents’ role needs to shift from direct caretakers and decision-makers to “guides on the side” so youth can be empowered to take charge of their lives.   Attend this interactive session to discuss strategies for how transition professionals can assist families in shifting their role and participating actively in transition planning. 

Career Explore and the ACE Connection

Jennifer Marquez, Career Link specialist, Jeffco Public Schools
Student Panel
Strand: Career Tech/Ed

Participants will develop an understanding of Career Explore model and implementation strategies.  Come hear about this model from the student’s point of view. 

To Friday Session Descriptions

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