Workability and Transition Workability & Transition

Workability & Transition

June 25, 2013

June 25, 2013

Mission & Vision

The Mission/Vision of the Sierra County office of Education (SCOE) WorkAbility I program is to provide an opportunity for all individuals with disabilities to successfully participate in career/employment preparation and planning, workplace learning, and acquire independent living.

We involve key stakeholders, including students, families, educators, employers and other agencies in planning and implementing relevant services that culminate in successful student transition to employment, lifelong learning and a quality adult life.

The SCOE program is focused on student programming, integrity in the delivery of services to students, well thought out program design, and cooperation in a field driven governance and structure.

We strive to collaborate/leverage resources, supplement existing school and partner programs, promote student, staff, and partner accountability, and participation in state and regional development opportunities.

WorkAbility values:
• Student focused programming;
• Programmatic integrity;
• Research-based program design;
• Innovation and creativity;
• Local control with WA parameters, and
• Field driven governance and structure.

WorkAbility I culminates in preparing students for successful transition to employment, continuing education and quality adult life with an emphasis on work-based learning opportunities for all students.

The SCOE system is school based through one WorkAbility Coordinator and Aides.

Program Design –

SCOE WorkAbility engages in an integrated program design where staff (the WorkAbility Coordinator, teachers, the WorkAbility Aide, the School Psychologist, SELPA Director, and others) work with students enrolled in special education. This includes assisting students in the regular education classroom. The WorkAbility Coordinator participates as a vital member of the IEP team with traditional members such as students, parents, teachers, psychologist, and other guests such as Department of Rehabilitation, and Regional Center. All WA I staff collaborate with special education teachers to help them integrate workplace applications Secretaries commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) and relevance into contextual learning opportunities. WA I Staff are closely tied to the local School-to-work/School-to-Career (STW/STC) initiative and leverage this program and other programs to provide maximum benefit to students. Work-Based Learning (WBL) is an integral component of student learning and is our strongest program attribute.

Plans for continuous improvement

• Expand parent and student involvement in the IEP/ITP planning and implementation process;

• Expand the implementation of SCANs competencies to school staff outside of special education;
• Provide more training for feeder school staff regarding WorkAbility values;
• Place more emphasis on leveraging resources outside of Sierra County.

Capacity Building Features –

The SCOE WorkAbility I program is engaged in the implementation phase of capacity building. Staff attend mandatory state and regional meetings including making presentations to the state advisory committee to assist with special projects and share information. The SCOE administrative staff provide mentoring support to school site staff to expand learning opportunities for site personnel and ultimately students. Two to three local staff development training’s occur annually related to special education and WorkAbility. Our program director, serves as an alternate regional manager for region 8. Information for parent development is shared during the IEP/ITP Process and selected site parent training’s. We are well connected to key stakeholders both within and outside the county including service clubs (Lions, Rotary), governmental agencies (WIA, DR, SSA, RC) and others.

Plans for continuous improvement

• Have additional SCOE staff attend mandatory meetings;
• Provide additional parent training in each community about resources and programs that assist parents to fulfill their role in the transition process;
• Network more with key stakeholders regionally for purposes of capacity building and leveraging.
Sierra County Office of Education WAI role in helping students learn state content standards and life skills through contextual learning:

The SCOE WA I Program is developing with regard to academic standards. We provide support and resources for teachers and students to connect career development to academic skills by demonstrating the application of workplace competencies in core academic subjects. This is accomplished through the purchase of instructional resources for teachers and staff to use with students. Through our local STW/STC efforts we implement strategies to connect SCANS skills to the learning environment via realistic student projects and assignments.

Further, we provide opportunities for School-Based Activities that connect academic skills to “real world” active learning opportunities. This includes integrating career information in reading assignments using “vocationally-minded” textbooks, arranging for classroom industry speakers, and teaching students to conduct researches via the internet. Regarding Independent Living Skills, we provide support and connections to the community for the development of community-based independent living skills through encouraging mentoring, job shadowing, and work-based learning experiences.

Plans for continuous improvement –

• Strengthen SCANS skills in local learning environments;

• Identify additional resources for providing opportunities for School-Based Activities that connect academic skills to “real world” active learning opportunities.

• Provide additional training for parents to support the development of community-based, student focused, independent living skills.

Student Focus Features –

The SCOE WA I Program is implementing student-focused assessment. We help students identify their dreams and goals through vocational exploration exercises, this includes the development of competencies in the areas of self awareness and educational /occupational exploration. Through role playing, students are encouraged to express their needs, goals and interests, hone their self-advocacy skills, and explore a variety of careers and training opportunities within and outside the county/state.

SCOE WA I students complete grade and age appropriate career/vocational assessments that include, but are not limited to, self assessment, interest surveys, , personality trait exercises, and aptitude and ability assessments. We also review existing standardized special education and school-wide test reports to help students insight into their gifts and talents.

The SCOE WorkAbility Coordinator and WorkAbility Aides assist students to interpret assessment data and develop personal plans based on insight gained through assessment and work-based learning experience at least twice annually.

Plans for continuous improvement –

• Improve the quality of student portfolios;

• Provide formal self-advocacy training;

• Examine new/emerging vocational assessment instruments to improve information provided to students.

 WA role in implementing transition services language in the IEP –

The SCOE WA I Program is in the implementation phase of Transition Planning. We assist students in developing goals and plans for the future through the IEP/ITP process through the completion of recognized vocational assessments on an annual basis, provide opportunities to explore options through research and work-based learning experiences appropriate to each student, coordinating student meetings with counselors and career technicians to develop courses of study that include academic classes, extracurricular opportunities, and electives.

Special education teachers fulfill IEP/ITP objectives by assisting students in developing knowledge of disabilities and learning styles through standardized assessment and curricular materials. Teachers and WA I staff assist students in accessing information about career and educational opportunities using classroom computers, and in implementing career portfolios (Los Angeles County Office of Education format) that document the skills developed through the work-based learning experiences.

Plans for continuous improvement –

• Expand vocational assessment protocols;

• Provide more opportunities for students to explore options through field researches outside of the county;

• Involve more counselors in training that promotes a balance of academic classes, extracurricular opportunities, and electives for special education students;

• Use grant funding, such as the digital high school grant, to expand technology capabilities in the classroom for students.

WA role in developing workplace learning experiences for your students –

The SCOE WA I Program is sustaining best practices in work-based learning programs for students. We provide opportunities for students to develop an awareness of careers through classroom activities that focus on Self Awareness, Educational and Occupational Awareness and Career Planning. We have dedicated substantial time to the development of career awareness activities, career exploration, job skills development, and WorkAbility and student-driven employment placement. Our greatest accomplishment this year was the completion of our SCOE Work-Based Learning Handbook that outlines school sponsored activities and programs for students.

Plans for continuous improvement –

• Expand our job shadowing program;

• Expand school-based enterprise programs;

• Refine our service learning program.

Strategies we utilize to provide student support as they participate in work-based learning (WBL) experiences –

The SCOE WA I Program is implementing pre-placement support programs for students. We active ely recruit employers from all private and public employment entities to provide WBL for our students. The WorkAbility Coordinator and WorkAbility Aides Initiate contact with employers and secure WA placement opportunities for students. Provide training and support to the employer to create a learning environment for the student at the work site.

The classroom component of our program emphasizes preparing students for the work site via dress and grooming standards, understanding employer expectations, the development of interpersonal skills, personal qualities, and technology skills, and safety on the job.

Program sponsored placement support services include locating opportunities for student training/placement, providing follow-along support for students to maintain their employment beyond WorkAbility funding, identifying appropriate workplace mentors to assist students, developing training plans in compliance with Work Experience Education, ROP training plans, consistent with the SCOE Work Based Learning Handbook, and regularly evaluating student performance.

The SCOE WA I Program is sustaining best practices regarding placement support programs for students. WA I staff are trained and instruct students in job search skills and locating employment opportunities (networking, personal contacts, the local One Stop Career Center, labor market information). Program services for job search documents and skill development include student job applications, resumes, interview preparation and practice, and portfolio development. Students are also trained in locating job outside of the program with minimal support, requesting job upgrades, leaving a job in a professional manner, and requesting job references.

Plans for continuous improvement –

• Improve the quality of student portfolio;

• Upgrade student classroom practice forms.

Strategies you utilize to engage and support parental involvement –

The SCOE WA I Program is implementing their parent involvement component. We actively encourage parent/family participation as active members of the IEP/ITP team. This includes encouraging parents/families to give permission for the student to participate in activities that encourage and support their child’s career development, providing information to parents/families about programs and resources that may be helpful for their child via the IEP/ITP meeting, teaching parents to advocate for their children through educating them about programs and services available, and encouraging parents to support their children in extracurricular activities, chores, family activities and community organizations.

Plans for continuous improvement –

• Holding special trainings for parents outside of the IEP/ITP process;

• Developing a list of recommended extracurricular activities to use as a guide to assist parents during the IEP/ITP meeting.

Program Collaboration Strategies –

The SCOE WA I Program is sustaining best practices in their collaborative strategies. WA I staff collaborate with special education teachers and other school staff on a daily basis at the school site, collaborate with other school initiatives (School-to-Career/School-to-Work, ROP, etc.), and ensure that WorkAbility I services are provided to all students with an active IEP.

In the community, WA I staff collaborate with business partners (Lions/Rotary) to offer support services and training that will support students in work-based learning opportunities. This includes, but is not limited to, community agencies (DR, Regional Center), and workforce development programs: One Stop, Workforce Investment Act providers and other programs that provide post secondary education and training resources to students.

Plans for continuous improvement –

• Network more with key stakeholders regionally for purposes of collaborating, capacity building and leveraging.