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Assignment: Continuous Program Evaluation

As with whole systems change and sustainability, continuous program evaluation is required to fulfill your commitment to improving the lives of all students. Although some of the evaluations you conduct may be informal, at the program level, the evaluation process is typically formal, can be quite complex, and must be formalized into a written plan. Data are gathered and collected from hundreds of students to compare their overall performance. Other factors include program costs, student and teacher input, and feasibility, just to name a few. Evaluations may also consist of comparing the effectiveness of two different instructional approaches. Here, data collection may consist of pre- and post-data from students and data collected from teachers to determine the effectiveness of each approach. Despite the type of evaluation, there is a formal written plan that is typically shared amongst stakeholders and used for curriculum planning and programming for students with exceptionalities.

For this Assignment, you will evaluate your program’s effectiveness using Fullan’s Coherence Assessment Tool and reflect on what you have learned from this collaborative process. This is Part 5 of your Course Project and will further demonstrate your effectiveness of implementing the Coherence Framework.

To Prepare:

· Review the Model of Sustainability in the McIntosh et al. article. Reflect on the four factors contributing to sustainability.

· Although it is not a requirement, you may wish to conduct a meeting with other leaders in the system and reflect on the components of the Coherence Framework to assist you in complete the tool. Use their responses and suggestions to assist in completing the assessment tool.

· Review and complete the Coherence Assessment Tool (Figure 6.2).

By Day 7 of Week 9

Part 5: Reflection, Social Change, and Lifelong Learning

Write a 4- to 6-page paper addressing the following:

· Complete the Coherence Assessment Tool (Figure 6.2) and include as an Appendix to your paper. Provide a 2- to 3-page analysis of your findings and the identified evidence that you reported on the tool, including the following:

o Briefly summarize how you are addressing the four components and the related 13 subcomponents. Please note: You do not need to address each component/subcomponent, just provide an overall summary.

o Describe how coherence is perceived at all levels of your organization and identify one area where perceptions are similar and one area where perceptions are different.

o Explain at least two strengths as well as two areas you believe are of greatest need to move toward continuous improvement and sustain whole systems change.

· Include a 2- to 3-page reflection on what you learned from this collaborative process of program evaluation, including the following:

o Identify at least two positive and two negative outcomes of program evaluation. Support these with evidence from research and professional experience.

o Explain how you, as a leader in special education, plan to improve positive program outcomes based on special education program evaluation and impact student learning. Include in your response how program evaluation can align with Walden’s Mission of creating positive social change.

o Describe the key elements you will need in the future to lead special education programs that are accountable and sustainable.

o Describe how you will stay current on evidence-based practices for program leadership, systems change, and program evaluation.

 

Information: I am attaching the Table as assignment 5

CIRCLES is the project I am working on.

I will attach previous assignment done and articles

Assignment 5 documents

Assignment: Continuous Program Evaluation

As with whole systems change and sustainability, continuous program evaluation is required to fulfill your commitment to improving the lives of all students. Although some of the evaluations you conduct may be informal, at the program level, the evaluation process is typically formal, can be quite complex, and must be formalized into a written plan. Data are gathered and collected from hundreds of students to compare their overall performance. Other factors include program costs, student and teacher input, and feasibility, just to name a few. Evaluations may also consist of comparing the effectiveness of two different instructional approaches. Here, data collection may consist of pre- and post-data from students and data collected from teachers to determine the effectiveness of each approach. Despite the type of evaluation, there is a formal written plan that is typically shared amongst stakeholders and used for curriculum planning and programming for students with exceptionalities.

For this Assignment, you will evaluate your program’s effectiveness using Fullan’s

Coherence Assessment Tool

and reflect on what you have learned from this collaborative process. This is Part 5 of your Course Project and will further demonstrate your effectiveness of implementing the Coherence Framework.

To Prepare:

· Review the Model of Sustainability in the McIntosh et al. article. Reflect on the four factors contributing to sustainability.

· Although it is not a requirement, you may wish to conduct a meeting with other leaders in the system and reflect on the components of the Coherence Framework to assist you in complete the tool. Use their responses and suggestions to assist in completing the assessment tool.

· Review and complete the Coherence Assessment Tool (Figure 6.2).

By Day 7 of Week 9

Part 5: Reflection, Social Change, and Lifelong Learning

Write a 4- to 6-page paper addressing the following:

· Complete the Coherence Assessment Tool (Figure 6.2) and include as an Appendix to your paper. Provide a 2- to 3-page analysis of your findings and the identified evidence that you reported on the tool, including the following:

· Briefly summarize how you are addressing the four components and the related 13 subcomponents. Please note: You do not need to address each component/subcomponent, just provide an overall summary.

· Describe how coherence is perceived at all levels of your organization and identify one area where perceptions are similar and one area where perceptions are different.

· Explain at least two strengths as well as two areas you believe are of greatest need to move toward continuous improvement and sustain whole systems change.

· Include a 2- to 3-page reflection on what you learned from this collaborative process of program evaluation, including the following:

· Identify at least two positive and two negative outcomes of program evaluation. Support these with evidence from research and professional experience.

· Explain how you, as a leader in special education, plan to improve positive program outcomes based on special education program evaluation and impact student learning. Include in your response how program evaluation can align with Walden’s Mission of creating positive social change.

· Describe the key elements you will need in the future to lead special education programs that are accountable and sustainable.

· Describe how you will stay current on evidence-based practices for program leadership, systems change, and program evaluation

Coherence Assessment Tool

Component

Evidence

Component

Component

Evidence

Fostering Direction

Shared purpose drives action.

A small number of goals tied to student learning drive decision

A clear strategy for achieving the goals is known by all.

Change knowledge is used to move the school/district/system forward.

Creating Collaborative Cultures

A growth mind-set underlies the culture.

Leaders model learning themselves and shape a culture of learning.

Collective capacity building is fostered above individual development.

Structures and processes support intentional collaborative work.

Deepening Learning

Learning goals are clear to everyone and drive instruction

A set of effective pedagogical practices is known and used by all educators

Robust processes (collaborative inquiry and examining student work) are used regularly to improve practice

Securing Accountability

Capacity building is used to continuously improve results

Underperformance is an opportunity for growth, not blame.

External accountability is used transparently to benchmark progress.

MICHAEL

FULLAN
2013

making it happen
in your school

and system

CHANGE

Welcome to the workshop.
We hope you have an enjoyable time.

The goal of this workshop is to establish a change process that successfully accomplishes large-scale reform as

measured by teacher and student engagement, and increases in student achievement including raising the bar and

closing the learning gap for all students.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Module I The Right Drivers

3

Module II Professional Capital

7

Module III The Stratosphere

19

Module IV Motion Leadership in Action

27

Library

29

Taking Stock

1

Introduction

Our work with schools and systems around the world is heavily biased toward
purposeful action. We have four key concepts focused on realizing the moral imperative of
raising the bar and closing the gap for all students.

1. Simplexity

2. Motion Leadership

3. Whole System Reform, and

4. ‘The Skinny’

Simplexity

 Identifying a small number of core factors (6 or so) that must be included in your
focus (the simple part); and realizing that the problem is how to make them
gel—the chemistry of getting them to play out among individuals and groups
(the complex part).

Motion Leadership  The kind of leadership actions that cause ‘positive movement’ forward in
individuals, schools, and systems.

Whole System Reform  Making the entire system the focus—all schools, all students—in clusters,
regions, states, and countries.

The Skinny  Our summary term for the previous three.
 The answer to ‘what’s the skinny of change’ is the essence of what you need to

know to get success—an essence that can be easily grasped by leaders who
apply themselves (and then they continually get better at the skinny through
deliberate practice, reflection and learning).

Introduction

2

Moral Imperative

My moral imperative is…

How closely is my moral imperative linked to the moral imperative of the school/system?

What evidence do I have that I (we) can (are) making progress on realizing our moral imperative?

Taking Stock

3

i The Right Drivers

When the Centre for Strategic Education in Melbourne commissioned and published
the policy paper, Choosing the Wrong Drivers for Whole System Reform, in April 2011, it hit a
massive responsive chord. Whether people agreed with the argument or not, they knew that
thinking about effective and ineffective policy ‘drivers’ was a productive way of considering
whole system reform. In this module we will re-examine the drivers with a view to seeing how
we:

a) Might contend with wrong drivers, and

b) Position right drivers within our strategies.

Choosing the
Right/Wrong Drivers:

Four Criteria:
1. Foster intrinsic motivation
2. Engage teachers and students in continuous improvement
3. Inspire collective or teamwork
4. Affect all teachers and students

Right vs Wrong Drivers Wrong

 Accountability
 Individual teacher and leadership quality
 Technology
 Fragmented strategies

Right

 Capacity building
 Collaborative work

Pedagogy

Systemness

Good Accountability  Is a function of good data, used as a strategy for improvement.
 Requires non-judgmentalism.
 Depends on widespread transparency.

 Produces strong ‘internal accountability’ which in turn produces strong public
accountability.

 Fuses assessment and instruction.

Module I

4

Capacity Building  Focus on the development of individual and collective competencies essential for

improvement at school and district levels.

Human vs Social Capital  Team work trumps individual work (do both)

 Be careful: focusing on school principal competencies and professional development
of teachers is NOT the driver (it is an enabler)

 ‘Learning is the work’ is the driver, not personnel decisions

Technology vs
Pedagogy

 Technology is seductive
 It outraces pedagogy every time

 The digital revolution is now unstoppable: technology for learning becomes 24/7;
roles of student and teacher are flipped.

Fragmented vs Systemic  It’s a system thing.

 You need inspirational focus, good diagnosis and a coherent plan of action (the
latter based on the four right drivers, using the so-called wrong drivers judiciously).

—Mourshed, et al, 2010

Coherence Making  Alignment is about structures; coherence is about mindsets
 System coherence is about shared mindsets
 A tool is only as good as the mindset using it

Elements of Coherence  A small number of ambitious goals
 A focus on instruction and the student achievement agenda
 Continuous capacity building around that agenda
 Cultivation of ‘systemness’ on the part of all

The Right Drivers

5

Strategies for
Coherence

 Good and bad plans
 Getting the right kind of excitement
 Effective and ineffective communication
 Managing resistance

 Fostering leadership at all levels: learning is the work, reinforced by personnel
practices

 Finessing school and district energies: mutual allegiance and collaborative
competition

 Learning from implementation during implementation
 Changing the culture of the district
 Handling distractors: activity trap, et al
 Exploiting public policy

Impact of Coherence  Focus/Consistency
 Sustained attention on improved practice
 Multiple reinforcing energies to get results
 Better performance
 Large numbers of people talk the walk as they walk the talk

Systemness  Beware of school autonomy

Action Steps 1. Exploit policy: you are not stuck with their mindsets.
2. Maximize the right drivers.
3. Integrate the so-called wrong drivers, so that they play a supporting role in

reinforcing the direction of your change.

Debrief  What best resonated with you about the ‘drivers’? (the aha question)

 What question/puzzle or worry do you have about the ‘drivers’? (the worry list)

Module I

6

System/School Self
Assessment of Drivers

Current State:

 Record evidence of policies and practices you are currently using on the self
assessment organizer.

Reflection:
Use the 3-step interview process to reflect on your practice—

 What is driving your reform/change efforts and where is your emphasis?
 Describe how you have integrated your use of the drivers?
 What steps will increase your integrated use of the drivers?

Moving to Action:

 What 3 steps will you take to increase your use of the right drivers?

Self Assessment Organizer

Wrong Drivers Right Drivers

Accountability

Capacity Building

Individual Teacher and Leadership Quality

Collaborative Work

Technology

Pedagogy

Fragmented Strategies

Systemness

Taking Stock

7

ii Professional Capital

This module goes deeper into what is the most powerful of all the change drivers,
namely the development of Professional Capacity. Change leaders have to become experts
at fostering professional capacity within their schools, in clusters and networks and in the
system as a whole. Andy Hargreaves and I mapped this area out in our recent book
Professional Capital.

Building Community

Professional Capital  Read the quotes and select the one that is most important to you.

 Complete a Quick Write explaining why you selected it.

Professional Capital: Quotes
Hargreaves, A., & Fullan, M. 2012. Teachers College Press.

# Quote Quick Write

1 People are motivated by good ideas tied to action; they are
energized even more by pursuing action with others; they
are spurred on still further by learning from their mistakes;
and they are ultimately propelled by actions that make an
impact—what we call ‘moral imperative realized’. (p.7)

2 Dangers, risks, opposition and disappointment all lay in wait.
But professional capital can be both your armor and your
sword. It can cut through the misunderstandings and
misrepresentations of teaching. It can protect you again
attacks on your profession. (p. 7)

3 …collective responsibility is not just a commitment; it is the
exercise of capabilities on a deep and wide scale. It
encompasses positive competition: challenging the limits of
what is humanly and professionally possible. (p. 142)

4 The core principles that draw on and build professional
capital in schools are the same as those that cultivate
professional capital through an entire system…They are
about developing your commitments and capabilities,
pushing and pulling your peers, exercising collective
responsibility together and collaborating with your
competitors across the whole system for the great good that
transcends us all. (p. 146)

Module II

8

Two Kinds of Capital

A Capital Idea Capital relates to one’s own or group worth, particularly concerning assets that can
be leveraged to accomplish desired goals.

Activity:
“Say Something”

 Form pairs and agree on a place to stop reading in the middle of the following
passage from Professional Capital.

 Use the ‘Say Something’ strategy and have a brief discussion at your mid-point.
Record in Section 1, the ‘I didn’t know that…’ and ‘I wonder about…’ on the
table below.

 Complete the reading, add to your recording, and discuss the key ideas.

“Say Something” Worksheet

1. I didn’t know that ….

I wonder about …

2. I didn’t know that ….

I wonder about …

Professional Capital

9

Professional Capital
Hargreaves, A., & Fullan, M., 2012. New York, Teachers College Press; Toronto, Ontario Principals’ Council.

People don’t really disagree about the importance of getting and keeping good teachers and good teaching.
However, two schools of thought about different kinds of capital are driving entire nations in diametrically opposite
directions on this front.

Business Capital

In the first view, what kinds of teachers we need and how best to get them are driven by ideas about business
capital. Here, following the collapse of worldwide property and financial markets, the primary purpose of education
is to serve as a big new market for investment in technology, curriculum and testing materials and in schools
themselves as for-profit enterprises. In the estimates of some multinational moguls, this is a massive $500 billion
market.

When education is organized to get quick returns on business investment, and to increase immediate returns by
lowering that investment, it favors a teaching force that is young, flexible, temporary, inexpensive to train at the
beginning, un-pensioned at the end (except by teachers’ own self-investment), and replaceable wherever possible
by technology. Finding and keeping good teachers then becomes about seeking out and deploying (but not really
developing or investing in) existing human capital—hunting for talented individuals, working them hard, and
moving them on when they get restless or become spent. This is the human widget image of the profession.

The business capital strategy towards teaching is advocated aggressively in the US and gaining ground in places like
the UK, and several countries in Europe. Yet, as we will see later, none of the most successful school systems
around the world go anywhere near this approach in building one of their most valuable societal assets. In Finland,
South Korea and Singapore, teachers are nation builders, top leaders say. They are indispensable national assets.

Professional Capital

A second view—our own—promotes what we call professional capital. This strategy has already been adopted by
the highest performing economies and educational systems in the world. Countries and communities that invest in
professional capital recognize that educational spending is a long-term investment in developing human capital
from early childhood to adult life, to reap rewards of economic productivity and social cohesion in the next
generation. A big part of this investment is in high quality teachers and teaching. In this view, getting good
teaching for all learners requires teachers to be highly committed, thoroughly prepared, continuously developed,
properly paid, well networked with each other to maximize their own improvement, and able to make effective
judgments using all their capabilities and experience.

Professional capital is itself made up of three other kinds of capital—human, social, and decisional. A lot has been
written about the first kind—human capital. Alan Odden’s book on The Strategic Management of Human Capital in
Education defines human capital as ‘talent’ and describes how to get more of it, develop it, and sustain it.
Strangely, though, as we will show, you can’t get much human capital by just focusing on the capital of individuals.
Capital has to be circulated and shared. Groups, teams and communities are far more powerful than individuals
when it comes to developing human capital.

Module II

10

Human capital therefore has to be complemented by and even organized in terms of what is called social capital.
Like human capital, the idea and strategy of social capital, as we will explain later, also has a distinguished history.
The important point for now concerns the contributions of human and social capital respectively. Carrie Leana, a
business professor at the University of Pittsburg, points out the well-known finding that patterns of interaction
among teachers and between teachers and administrators that are focused on student learning make a large
measurable difference to student achievement and sustained improvement. She calls this social capital, which she
contrasts with individual capital that is based on the belief in the power of individuals to change the system. By
contrast, Leana shows that the group is far more powerful than the individual. You need individuals of course, but
the system won’t change, indeed individuals won’t change in numbers, unless development becomes a persistent
collective enterprise.

Leana has been closely examining the relationship between human and social capital. She and her team followed
over 1,000 4th and 5th grade teachers in a representative sample of 130 elementary schools across New York City.
The human capital measures included individual teacher qualifications, experience, and ability to teach. Social
capital was measured in terms of the frequency and focus of conversations and interactions with peers that
centered on instruction, and was based on feelings of trust and closeness between teachers.

Leana also obtained the mathematics scores of the students at the beginning of the year compared to the gains by
year-end. She found that teachers with high social capital increased their mathematics scores by 5.7 percent more
than teachers with lower social capital scores. Teachers who were both more able (high human capital), and had
stronger ties with their peers (high social capital) had the biggest gains in mathematics achievement. She also
found that low-ability teachers perform as well as teachers of average ability “if they have strong social capital in
their school.” In short, high social capital and high human capital must be combined.

Since it is necessary to have both high human and social capital, the question remains how to develop both of
them? Here is the answer. If you concentrate your efforts on increasing individual talent, you will have a devil of a
job producing greater social capital. There is just no mechanism or motivation to bring all that talent together. The
reverse is not true. High social capital does generate increased human capital. Individuals get confidence, learning
and feedback from having the right kind of people and the right kinds of interactions and relationships around
them.

Consider what happens when a talented individual enters a school low on social capital. Although it is possible to
make a difference through heroic effort, eventually the overwhelming likelihood is that the person will leave or burn
out in the process. We set out considerable evidence later on to back up this observation. Now consider the reverse:
a teacher who is low on human capital and has poor initial confidence or undeveloped skills enters a highly
collaborative school. Chances are high that this teacher will be socialized into greater teamwork and receive the
assistance, support, ideas and feedback to help him or her improve. This is dramatically powerful when you stop
and think about it. Imagine that you would become a better teacher just by joining the staff of a different and better
school.

Everything we say about individual human capital versus collaborative social capital applies not only to teachers but
also to schools. A few unusually innovative schools or ones that beat the odds here or there through the brilliance
of individual teachers, the charismatic leadership of their principals, and the endless self-sacrifice of everyone may
perform far beyond expectations for a few years. But efforts to turn around individual schools by finding the right
individual leaders or replacing all the bad individual teachers with good ones, or by parachuting in an outside

Professional Capital

11

intervention team are doomed to get temporary gains at best. The gains almost always disappear after the
intervention teams pull out, once the key leaders leave or when the overworked and isolated staff finally run out of
steam. If we need much more social capital within our schools—colleague to colleague, peer to peer—we need this
just as much across and between our schools. Professional capital as human capital plus social capital is therefore a
personal thing, a within-school thing and a whole-system thing. In the end, professional capital must become a
system quality and a system commitment if it is to develop school systems further.

There is more. Professional Capital also has a third essential element. We will unpack this later but think of
professional capital as the product of human capital, and social capital and decisional capital. Making decisions in
complex situations is what professionalism is all about. The ‘pros’ do this all the time. They come to have
competence, judgment, insight, inspiration and the capacity for improvisation as they strive for exceptional
performance. They do this when no one is looking, and they do it through and with their colleagues and the team.
They exercise their judgments and decisions with collective responsibility, openness to feedback and willing
transparency. They are not afraid to make mistakes as long as they learn from them. They have pride in their work.
They are respected by peers and by the public for knowing what they are doing. They strive to outdo themselves
and each other in a spirit of making greater individual and collective contributions.

When the vast majority of teachers do come to exemplify the power of professional capital, they become smart and
talented, committed and collegial, thoughtful and wise. Their moral purpose is expressed in their relentless, expert-
driven pursuit of serving their students and communities, and in learning, always learning, how to do that better.
Those few colleagues, who persistently fall short of the mark, even after extensive assistance and support, will
eventually not be tolerated by their peers because they let their profession and their students down by not teaching
like pros!

Module II

12

Business Capital view
assumes that good
teaching…

 May be emotionally demanding but it is technically simple
 Is a quick study requiring only moderate intellectual ability
 Is hard at first, but with dedication can be mastered readily
 Should be driven by hard performance data about what works and where best to

target one’s efforts

 Comes down to enthusiasm, hard work, raw talent, and measurable results
 Is often replaceable by online instruction

Professional Capital
view assumes that good
teaching…

 Is technically sophisticated and difficult
 Requires high levels of education and long periods of training
 Is perfected through continuous improvement
 Involves wise judgment informed by evidence and experience
 Is a collective accomplishment and responsibility
 Maximizes, mediates, and moderates online instruction

Views of Teaching

Teaching Like a Pro “Teaching Like a Pro”— What does this phrase mean to you?

Point and Go!  Share your thoughts on ‘teaching like a pro’ with a colleague from another table

group.

 Note any commonalities and differences.
 Be prepared to share with the whole group.

Commonalities Differences

Professional Capital

13

Teaching Like a Pro … is about undertaking difficult, inspiring work; constantly trying to improve

practices and working with all the collective might and ingenuity of professional
colleagues to do so.

 

 

Teaching Like a Pro
Means

1. Continuously inquiring into and improving one’s own teaching.
2. Planning teaching, improving teaching and often doing teaching not as an

isolated individual but as part of a high performing team.
3. Being a part and parcel of the wider teaching profession and contributing to its

development.

Investing in Capability and Commitment

Investing in Capability
and Commitment

Even with the best of intentions, even if you seem like a ‘natural’ as a teacher, unless
you deliberately learn how to get better so you can teach the students of today for
the world of tomorrow, you will not be teaching like a pro. You will be just an
enthusiastic amateur.

 

 

The Five ‘C’s of
Professional Capital

1. Capability
2. Commitment
3. Career
4. Culture
5. Contexts or conditions of teaching

 

 

  Commitment
 

 
  Higher Lower

Relationship Between
Career Stage and
Capability/Commitment

Higher

Mid-career

Capability
 

Lower

Early career

 

 

 

 

Late
Career
 

 

 

 
 
 

Module II

14

Career Support Brainstorm
 strategies
 to
 support
 teachers
 during
 each
 of
 the
 three
 career
 

stages.
 

 

 

 

Early
  Mid
  Later
 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professional Culture
and Communities

Culture, in other words, is affected by the conditions and contexts in which it
operates.

Professional Learning
Communities

 Communities
 Learning communities
 Professional learning communities

Change Strategy Read the passage below.
As a change strategy how would you rate it:
1-2 I like it
3 I am ambivalent
4-5 I don’t like it

Professional Capital

15

Pushing In that teacher’s first week in the new school, two of his colleagues visited him and

suggested that he should use word walls because they had both found them to be
effective. When, two weeks later, he had not yet put up the word walls, his
colleagues visited him again, this time urging him more strongly to put up the word
walls, sitting him down to share why this was the practice in their school and the
difference it had made for students. A few weeks later, by then well into the school
term, he had still not put up the word walls. His colleagues stopped by again after
school, this time simply saying: “we are here to put up your word walls and we can
help you to plan how to use them”.

—Mourshed et al, 2010

Professional Learning
Communities

Courageous leaders of PLCs are not bullying and self-congratulatory. They are humble
and self-reflective.

When push comes to shove, they know and are alert to when they have overstepped
the mark and gone too far; they know when they need to remain committed but not
push too heavily and too hard.

Professional Learning
Communities…

 Push and pull
 Focus on flexibility
 Are committed to relationships and results

Teachers will be short
on professional capital if
they …

 are under qualified
 come from the lower end of the graduation range
 have not been screened for their emotional capability
 have not been screened for their previous experiences of working with young

people

 do not get feedback and support from colleagues
 spend most professional time alone
 are not connected to teachers in other schools
 do not put in the time to perfect their practice
 are not provided with the coaching, mentoring and time that helps them reflect

on that practice

Module II

16

Enacting Change It’s time to invest and reinvest in your own and your colleagues’ professional

capital—for the good of yourself and your whole profession! And it’s time to
persuade, push, pull, and nudge the public and policy makers to invest in teacher’s
capital as well.

Children need it, teachers will thrive on it, and achieving a productive economy and
cohesive society demands it.

Clusters and Networks

Effective Networks  Focus on student achievement
 Require effective leadership
 Have adults as learners
 Learn ‘specific practices’
 Combine mutual allegiance and collaborative competition
 Reach outside the network to learn from and contribute to others’ learning

Professional Capital
Hargreaves, A., & Fullan, M., 2012. New York, Teachers College Press; Toronto, Ontario Principals’ Council.

Individual school autonomy is just as problematic as individual classroom autonomy. Several jurisdictions around
the world are beginning to employ the same principle of schools learning from each other in systemic designs that
promote win-win relationships, focused inquiry, and widespread development. Two examples documented by OECD
and McKinsey & Company come from Asia.

Shanghai—a city of over 20 million—literally came from nowhere in the period 2006-2009 to become the
world’s highest performing system in the PISA/OECD assessment of 15-year-olds in literacy. One of the
ways they did this was to pair high-capacity schools with lower capacity schools and enable them to work
together in a non-judgmental relationship.

In Singapore, every one of its more than 400 schools in a formal network of 12-14 schools with a full-time
coordinator to run the cluster. Here, talented people work purposefully to leverage each other’s knowledge
while focusing on personalized learning for all students. Effective collaboration requires teachers with
strong capabilities. In McKinsey & Company’s description of this case, one Singaporean educator made
clear that “we could not have implemented professional learning communities as effectively in the 1980s.
We did not have the skill levels in schools for it, and it may have backfired. However our teachers and
leaders are highly skilled now, and therefore we have shifted to peer collaboration and it works.

Professional Capital

17

We need to be careful, of course, about how we transplant principles of success from Southeast and East Asia to
non-Asian contexts—as we should be cautious about transplanting any reforms internationally. Many Asian
cultures, for example, have a traditional and historical respect for teachers, a traditional family focus on learning
and achievement, and an established deference to hierarchical authority. So educational mandates work out
differently here than they do in many other cultures—even when the mandate is to collaborate. Even so, it is
encouraging that federations, networks, and clusters can be as widespread and effective in cultures as different as
Anglo-Saxon and Asian ones.

There are yet more examples of successful peer-to-peer improvement in places such as Finland, where there is a
national network of innovation; Alberta, where the province’s schools, now in their fourth 3-year cycle of school-
designed innovation, are concentrating on networking innovative practices within and across school districts; and
York Region School District, just north of Toronto, which has all of its almost 200 schools in clusters of 6-8 schools.
So the reach of these ways of circulating and sharing professional capital across cultures is considerable. Where it is
difficult to establish cross-school networks or indeed any kind of professionally collaborative behavior is in countries
that have been, within the memory of one or two generations, form despotisms or dictatorships, where fear and
corruption were (or still are) widespread and habits of suspicion and compliance are deeply ingrained; or in places
where there is a deep-seated political culture of top-down control or competitive individualism.

In the United States, there are a few small pockets of school clusters within districts, but they are not nearly as
formally structured as in the previous examples, and they are still very much the exception. Sanger Unified School
District near Fresno, California, a district that one of us has filmed, has every one of its 15 schools in small clusters
of 3 or 4 schools that meet regularly and learn from each other. The student achievement results are consistently
impressive.

All these examples are systemic—the whole system of schools sets about improving on a comprehensive and
mutually supportive basis. Some systems mandate federations or clusters, but mandating professional changes like
these is likely to be counterproductive in cultures that do not defer to hierarchical authority. In the main, then, in
our view, complete participation or almost complete participation in networked professional capital should be an
energetic aspiration and normative expectation with a system’s professional culture, rather than a bureaucratically
enforced mandate. These forms of learning together can be powerful system builders leading to the mutual
development of new capabilities and commitments, or they can become the system-level equivalent of comfortable
collaboration (shared practice) or excessively contrived collegiality, which all too often characterizes collaborative
efforts within schools. When you circulate professional capital freely, energetically, and inclusively, you get
wholesale professional improvement at its best.

This can be true even in very large-scale systems that appear to be and often are, in some respects, competitive.
This competitiveness, we believe, is not just an obstacle that can be overcome, but a force, when it is not of a win-
lose nature, that can actually be capitalized upon. This occurs when two powerful forces come together: collective
responsibility and collaborative competition—or what the business literature call co-opetition.

Module II

18

Collective responsibility consists of the enlargement and deepening of identity beyond oneself. When individual
teachers within a school start identifying with all students in the school, not just those in their classroom, that is
collective responsibility. When individual school principals become almost as concerned about the success of other
schools in their cluster as they are about their own school, we see enlarged commitment again. When districts see
themselves as part of a state’s or country’s quest for success for all their students and as part of the nation’s or
state’s development of its common identify, we see the force of collective responsibility once more. Moreover, as
countries around the world attempt to learn from each other, and openly share what they know, we see the
makings of a global identity that will contribute powerfully to the future of humankind.

Butt the collective responsibility is not just a commitment; it is the exercise of capabilities on a deep and wide scale.
It encompasses positive competition: challenging the limits of what is humanly and professionally possible. In every
healthy cluster or network that we have studied or been part of, there has also been a powerful tendency to try to
compete, but in a spirit of how we can outdo ourselves as well as each other, for the good of the whole, or even the
good of the game, to use a sports analogy. We call this “collaborative competition,” co-opetition, or friendly rivalry,
because concepts both f collaboration and competition come together to form an unbeatable combination.

We certainly have seen many bad forms of win-lose competition that include self-centeredness, widespread
cheating, divisive effects of performance-based pay, envy and jealousy, unwillingness to offer assistance to
struggling neighbors, and, like a spoiled child, finding yourself all alone with no one to share all your expensive toys
(books, interactive whiteboards, sporting facilities, or highly skilled teachers) when you keep all your goodies for
yourself. But when you get collective responsibility on the rise, and embrace strong developmental strategies in
pursuit of a noble cause, you also get a kind of “Moral Olympics” where there is almost no ceiling to what can be
accomplished.

This is the kind of professional capital worth fighting for—collective responsibility and capability, as well as
collaborative competition or friendly rivalry for the good of everyone in the system.

The Resistance Mindset

Motivational Work  Is meaningful, accomplishable work
 Enables development
 Promotes a sense of camaraderie
 Means being well led

Resistance Mindset
Means:

 Giving people respect before they have earned it
 Requires leaders to have impressive empathy
 Doing everything possible to make people more loveable
 Dealing firmly with what is left over

Taking Stock

19

iii Stratosphere

It is ironic that we fingered technology as a wrong driver, and now we are touting it as
part of a breakthrough solution. The consistency is that pedagogy is the driver, but one
wonders now that technology is becoming supercharged whether it might take an equal
place. The important thing is that technology and pedagogy be integrated. In this module
you will examine why and how teachers and students can partner for learning with
technology as a powerful accelerator.

Stratosphere Integrating technology, pedagogy and change.

Stratosphere Defined

Module III

20

Jigsaw  Read the quotes and select the one that is most important to you.

 Complete a Quick Write explaining why you selected it.

Stratosphere: Quotes

Fullan, M. 2012. Pearson Canada.

# Quote Quick Write

1 Only those who know how to learn, who can relate to
others and the environment and who can make the world
part of their own evolving being will thrive in this world.
pg. 3

2 Students take greater charge of their own learning and
each other’s learning and teachers become agents of
change. pg. 47

3 …we need to create the new digital learning reality on a
massive scale—for all students and teachers. …Pedagogy
is becoming sharper and more penetrating; technology is
becoming mightier and easier to use and integrate. pg. 54

4 Technology has dramatically affected virtually every sector
in society that you can think of except education. pg. 72

5 If you want to head off destruction, we need to make it all
about learning, let technology permeate and engage the
whole system. pg. 74

Stratosphere

21

The Challenge for
Education

 It is time that gadget goes to school and schools go to gadget 24/7.
 It is teachers with technology who will make the difference.
 Students are partners.

Stratosphere is About:  Making explicit connections between technology, pedagogy and change
knowledge

 Mystery, intrigue and the unknown

New Learning—
Exciting innovative
learning experiences for
all students needs to be:

 Irresistibly engaging for both students and teachers
 Elegantly efficient and easy to use
 Technologically ubiquitous 24/7
 Steeped in real-life problem solving

The New Pedagogy Teachers are needed but it is a new role that is required—the teacher as change
agent.

The New Pedagogy
A New Role for Teachers

Turn and Talk:

 What does it mean for teachers to be agents of change?
 What does it look like and sound like?

Teachers and Students
as Pedagogical Partners

 Teacher as Facilitator .17
(simulations and gaming; inquiry based; smaller class sizes; individualized
instruction; problem-based learning; web-based; inductive teaching)

 Teacher as Activator .60
(reciprocal teaching; feedback; teacher-student self-verbalization; meta-
cognition; goals-challenging; frequent effects of teaching)

Expert Teachers Expert teachers can provide defensible evidence of teaching on learning.
—Hattie, J., 2012

Module III

22

Focus on Pedagogy
Instructional Precision

 Treating students as learning partners
 Employing students’ own tools for learning
 Using more peer to peer teaching
 Offering students far more choices rather than mandates

—Prensky, M., 2012

Focus on Pedagogy
Instructional Precision

 Allowing students to be the primary users of classroom technology
 Sharing success via short videos
 Regularly connecting students with the world using technology

—Prensky, M., 2012

Technology Integrated
with Instructional
Precision

It is time to define the learning game as racing with technology.

Case Study:
Park Manor Senior
Public School
Activity:
Say Something

1. Find a partner.
2. Both begin reading the case study and stop mid-point to reconnect and discuss:

 How does this school reflect the ‘Stratosphere’?
 The concept (Pedagogy-Technology-Change Knowledge).

3. Stop again at the end to:
 Summarize the case study.
 Outline the key learnings about the school wide focus on integration of

technology.

Stratosphere

23

Park Manor Middle School
Fullan, M., 2013. Motion Leadership in Action. Corwin.

James Bond wasn’t always 007. In fact when it came to technology he and his colleagues were 000 in 2009 (I
promise that this is the first and last James Bond joke, but that is the name of the principal). Park Manor is a senior
public school (Grades 6-8) with 300 students in the town of Elmira, just west of Toronto. I don’t usually write about
individual schools in isolation (because a key principle of motion leadership is multiple schools moving, or system
change), but Park Manor is one of the few examples of an ordinary school becoming technologically dynamic in a
short period of time. And a reminder once more: Although I am personifying motion leadership around a specific
individual, all such leaders if they are to be successful mobilize leadership throughout the staff. It is principal James
Bond, lead teacher Liz Anderson, and the whole staff ensemble at Park Manor who deserve the credit.

When Bond started as principal in September 2009, the school had two data projectors, and old computer lab, and
no technology integration in the classrooms. As of June 2012, the entire school is wireless and every one of the 16
classrooms have a document camera and an HD data projector; half have SMART boards; there are 104 PlayBooks;
and the computer lab has 36 new dual-boot iMacs. Pedagogical practice has changed dramatically, teachers are
engaged in purposeful learning, and student learning is thriving. What’s the skinny here?

In a nutshell, Park Manor’s success is built on three key change drivers. One places the moral imperative and
pedagogy in the driver’s seat; a second is to make technology non-threatening to use—to treat it as an opportunity
to learn new things where mistakes will be normal; and the third is to set up means for teachers and students to
learn from each other during implementation. The whole idea is to minimize judgmentalism so that people can
learn, a kind of attitude that says, “I don’t want to complicate the lives of teachers, I want to enliven them.”
Learning is voluntary but inevitable!

First, let’s establish the pedagogical focus. The school has developed an Accelerated Learning Framework
reproduced here:

Module III

24

In the center of the framework are the specific goals and success criteria that pertain to global critical thinkers
(communication, critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, citizenship). The success criteria explain in detail how
students and teachers can determine that technology, tools and applications add value to student learning. These
criteria pertain to student engagement, active learning, easier learning, assessment for learning (student feedback),
assessment as learning (students monitoring their own learning), assessment of learning (concrete evidence), and so
on.

Thus the success criteria are linked to evidence of accomplishments (what success looks and sounds like; what
students are doing, saying and producing. In the course of using this framework, the school assesses how much
accelerated learning is occurring as a result of particular technologies. Does the technology in question enable the
student to meet (M)the success criteria? Does it help the student get there faster (F)? And does it assist the student
in achieving higher levels (H) of learning than might have been the case without using the particular technology?

Park Manor, like other successful schools we work with, uses techniques that personalize progress for each and
every student and does so with full transparency for all students that all staff process. For every student in the
school there is a simple one-page diagnostic sheet called a Sticky Note that contains the following information:

 Student’s Name
 Learning Problem
 Why Analysis
 Root Cause (e.g., engagement, skills)
 Countermeasure
 Verification (Did the intervention work?).

Students, all of them, are then tracked according to progress (color coded) for all teachers to see and learn from.
Lyn Sharratt and I call this “putting the faces on data,” and if you visit Park Manor you will see word walls galore—
very specific, very much living action mechanisms to make and track progress. All of this pays off. Teachers are
excited, students are engaged, and test scores have risen dramatically (although attributing specific causal
relationships is difficult). The gains as measured by Ontario’s assessment agency have been substantial. The number
of student achieving Levels 3 and 4 (standards that reflect higher-order skills) in writing, for example, increased
from 49% to 82% from 2008-2012. Stated even more dramatically, in 2008 Park Manor was 15% below the school
district average (49% vs. 64%); by 2012 it was 9% above the district average (82% vs. 73%). While the trends
started prior to the technology infusion, I would suggest progress was strongly leveraged by the integration of
pedagogy and technology in the past 2 years. We should also realize that this initiative is still very much at the
beginning, less than 3 years old.

The more interesting motion leadership story is how the school did this in such a short period of time and without
the normal change resistance. One of the teachers put it this way:

What made the change easier was making it clear to us that part of using technology is having to take the
risk that what you try at first may not work, or not work as planned. This made it much less threatening to
try new things, and the added value was that the kids got to try new things as well. I think that just the
continued encouragement and exposure to technology will naturally keep people trying new things, make
them comfortable in learning from mistakes.

Stratosphere

25

Another key feature of improvement at Park Manor, and one central to our motion leadership repertoire, is that if
you want to change something deeply and quickly, use the group to change the group. Thus set up the expectation
and the means for teachers to continually learn from each other. Several teachers commented on the use of the
Sticky Note mentioned earlier: We can see where students are visually; there is consistency across the school; when
I see better progress in other classes I can find out why and learn from it; it helps us set school goals; it deepens my
understanding of what Level 3 is; I can find out what types of pedagogy can move a student forward.

In an e-interview with James Bond he reflected on his own change stance:

You need to be willing to get messy with technology as every tool, program and application will not work
perfectly every time, and tools are always changing.

I tried to make it easy for teachers to use technology by having it in their classrooms set up for them all the
time, so they just have to turn it on. I was also willing to help them so that they would be okay with not
knowing how to use it in front of me, and see that it was okay not to use the technology perfectly.

As more technology expertise grew in the building, I encouraged the staff to learn from each other and
then even from their students. I connected teachers who were learning how to use technology to those
teachers who were reluctant to start.

During one staff meeting last February, we toured each classroom, where the teacher shared an application
of a technology tool, program, or website, and one piece of evidence of accelerated learning. From this one
staff meeting, we were exposed to 16 different examples of how using technology had helped students
learn better using the success criteria for accelerated learning.

And during our staff meeting in June, teachers shared one thing they learned from another staff member
and its impact on student learning. It was amazing to hear how much learning among staff was going on.

Just as in the best learning with students, you have to create an atmosphere of fun and learning. In Stratoshpere
when I set the first criterion for the new learning as irresistibly engaging, I was getting at this element; as was Tony
Wagner (2012) when he wrote about “creating innovators,” showing that you need to combine “play, passion,
purpose” (p.26). James states his version as a culture of FIRE (fun, innovation, respect, and excellence). The staff at
Park Manor are always sorting out whether a new way or app is value-added or wasteful, including having students
be evaluators in this respect.

Another aspect of motion leadership is whether the so-called espoused theory of action by the leader is the one that
teachers recognize and can describe and appreciate with equal clarity. Some leaders talk a good game, all the right
words are there, but their actions are not authentic or are not experienced as authentic by those with whom they
are working. More subtlely, leaders sometimes think they are implementing a given practice but may unknowingly
be doing so superficially.

If you are a follower, you may perceive the leader’s actions as a matter of trust (a leader does not walk the talk) or
as lack of clarity (he or she made me an offer I can’t understand). So the test is whether the leader and staff
experience and appreciate the strategy with equal clarity. Here are a few comments in this regard from the range of
teachers at Park Manor.

Module III

26

James allowed collaboration time with other “informed” staff members—shared apps, sites, and tips with
us technologically inept individuals.

James allowed us to explore technology at our own pace…did not push it on us. He encouraged those who
were comfortable with new uses and applications to share their successes with us, which in turn made
some of us try.

James helped me ask students how they like to use different technologies and to show me how to use it.

Motion leaders also model what they learn about the change process, including when they made mistakes. James
learned from one episode when he veered too much into a push strategy. During one staff meeting, he asked
teachers to stand in a circle based on their perceived proficiency with understanding and using technology (those
with more knowledge standing in closer). James said he had hoped to show that it doesn’t matter where you were
in the circle as long as they get a little better and that there is lots of expertise in the building. What actually
happened was that the circle made many staff members self-conscious and embarrassed (both those on the inner
and outer circles). James learned that sometimes the best intentions can have negative outcomes.

Lead teacher Liz Anderson says that she found herself sometimes overusing technology. She had to learn that some
uses are not best for student learning. She then paid more explicit attention to the links between specific learning
activities and accelerated learning. By also focusing on what other staff and students were doing to add value to
student learning, she was able to build better integration of technology and learning.

Why will it be easy? 1. The old technology of ‘tell and test’ does not work.

2. Examples of the new pedagogy partnering with students are rapidly under
development.

3. There will be great appetite for new ways.
4. People will like doing what they like and many will be helping.

Taking Action: Whole
System Reform

The solution lies in the concentration of the three forces of pedagogy, technology and
change knowledge:

 Make it all about learning
 Let technology permeate
 Engage the whole system

Taking Stock

27

iv Motion Leadership in Action

Motion Leaders ‘cause’ positive movement forward. To accomplish this, great
leadership requires mastering the three tranches below in concert. These stances are not
simply linear: you will need to be good at change by paying attention to all three from the
beginning. Think of sustainability from day one, and engage in all three on a continuous
basis.

Components of the
Change Stance

1. Deepen your moral imperative realized.
2. Focus on a small number of ambitious goals.
3. Build and extend a guiding coalition.
4. Toughen your resolve.
5. Practice impressive empathy.
6. Push, pull, and nudge.
7. Think bigger.

Components of the
Implementation Stance

1. Premature excitement is fragile.
2. Make capacity building central.
3. Beware of fat plans.
4. Communication during implementation is paramount.
5. Have purposeful data permeate.
6. Use the group to change the group.

Components of the
Sustainability Stance

1. Stay the course.
2. Leadership for all—position leadership for the present and the future.
3. Balance improvement and innovation.

Module IV

28

Next Steps Use the Change Leader Checklist to identify where you might strengthen your plan.

Change Leader Checklist

Checkpoint Evidence

Do I have a small number of priorities?

What am I doing to communicate with
organization members both initially and on an
ongoing basis?

Have I stopped to see if I am practicing
impressive empathy in relation to potential
naysayers?

Have I spelled out the norm of speaking up
when there are persistent problems and
provided opportunities for people to identify
problems?

Are we gathering data that are simple,
ongoing, and used for quick feedback on how
well things are going? Are the data helping us
to focus or are we drowning in it?

Have I specified when the team needs to meet
periodically to discuss progress and problem
solve? In the past six months have I stopped to
acknowledge mistakes publicly, and to learn
from them?

Do we have a fat or skinny plan—one that is
clear, actionable, and sticky?

Taking Stock

29

Library

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Dufour, R., Dufour, R., Eaker,R. and Karhanek, G. (2010). Raising the bar and closing the gap: Whatever it takes. Bloomington,
IN., Solution Tree Press.

Fullan, M. (2008). The six secrets of change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Fullan, M. (2008). What’s worth fighting for in the principalship. 2nd Edition. New York: Teachers College Press; Toronto:
Ontario Principals’ Council.

Fullan, M. (2010). Motion Leadership: The skinny on becoming change savvy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press; Toronto:
Ontario Principals’ Council.

Fullan, M. (2010). All systems go: The change imperative for whole system reform. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Fullan, M. (2011). Change Leader: Learning to do what matters most. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Fullan, M. (April, 2011). Choosing the wrong drivers for whole system reform. Seminar Series204. Melbourne, Victoria: Centre for
Strategic Education.

Fullan, M. (2011). The moral imperative realized. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press; Toronto: Ontario Principals’ Council.

Fullan, M. (2013). Stratosphere: Integrating technology, pedagogy, and change knowledge.

Fullan, M. (2013). Motion Leadership in Action. Thousand Oak, CA: Corwin Press; Toronto: Ontario Principals’ Council.

Fullan, M., Hill, P., & Crévola, C. (2006). Breakthrough. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press; Toronto: Ontario Principals’ Council.

Hargreaves, A., & Fullan, M. (2012). Professional capital: Transforming teaching in every school. New York: Teachers College
Press; Toronto: Ontario Principals’ Council.

Hattie, J. (2009). Visual learning. London: Routledge.

Herold, D., & Fedor, D. (2008). Change the way you lead change. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Leana, C. (2011) An open letter to Bill and Melinda Gates on the value of social capital in school reform. Stanford Social
Innovation Review (Draft, Febuary 28, 2011).

Levin, B. (2011). Leading an improving school. Unpublished.

Mintzberg, H. (2004). Managers not MBAs. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Moeller, B., & Reitzes, T. (2011). Integrating technology with student-centered learning. Quincy, MA: Nellie Mae Education
Foundation.

Mourshed, M., Chinezi, C., & Barber, M. (2010). How the worlds most improved school systems keep getting better. London:
McKinsey & Company.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (2010). Are the new millennium learners making the grade:
Technology use and educational performance in PISA. Paris: Centre of Research and Innovation, OECD.

Prensky, Marc. (2012). “The Reformers Are Leaving Our Schools in the 20th Century.” In Digital natives to digital wisdom:
Hopeful essays for 21st century learning. Thousand Oak, CA: Corwin.

Pfeffer, J. & Sutton, R. (2008). Hard facts, dangerous half-truths and total nonsense. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Reeves, D. (2009). Leading change in your school. Alexandria, Virginia: Association of School Curriculum Development.

Robinson, V. (2011). Student-centered Leadership. Jossey-Bass.

Sharratt, L., & Fullan, M. (2009). Realization: The change imperative for deepening district-wide reform. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Corwin Press; Toronto: Ontario Principals’ Council.

Sharratt, L., & Fullan, M. (2012). Putting FACES on the data: What great leaders do. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press; Toronto:
Ontario Principals’ Council.

Timperley, H. (2011). Realizing the power of professional learning and development. Open University Press.

Michael Fullan is professor emeritus of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the
University of Toronto. Recognized as a worldwide authority on educational reform, he advises
policymakers and local leaders around the world in helping to achieve the moral purpose of all
children learning. Michael Fullan received the Order of Canada in December, 2012. He holds
honorary doctorates from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; University of
Edinburgh, Scotland; Newman University College, University of Leicester; and Nipissing
University in Canada.

Fullan is a prolific, award-winning author whose books have been published in many
languages. His book Leading in a Culture of Change was awarded the 2002 Book of the Year
Award by Learning Forward (formerly the National Staff Development Council),
Breakthrough (with Peter Hill and Carmel Crévola) won the 2006 Book of the Year Award
from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Turnaround Leadership in
Higher Education (with Geoff Scott) won the Bellwether Book Award in 2009, and Change
Wars (with Andy Hargreaves) was awarded the 2009 Book of the Year Award by Learning
Forward.

His latest books are
• Stratosphere: Integrating Technology, Pedagogy, and Change Knowledge (2012)
• Motion Leadership in Action: More Skinny on Becoming Change Savvy (2012)
• Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School (with Andy Hargreaves)(2012).

Special thanks to Joanne Quinn and Eleanor Adam for their training design contributions.

Produced by Claudia Cuttress

Please visit our website
michaelfullan.ca

2013

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European Journal of Special Needs Education

ISSN: 0885-6257 (Print) 1469-591X (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rejs20

Evaluating the quality of learning environments
and teaching Äpractice in special schools

Lotte Hedegaard-Soerensen & Susan Tetler

To cite this article: Lotte Hedegaard-Soerensen & Susan Tetler (2016) Evaluating the quality of
learning environments and teaching Äpractice in special schools, European Journal of Special
Needs Education, 31:2, 264-278, DOI: 10.1080/08856257.2016.1141524

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08856257.2016.1141524

Evaluating the quality of learning environments and teaching
practice in special schools

Lotte Hedegaard-Soerensen and Susan Tetler

department of Education, aarhus university, copenhagen, denmark

  • Background
  • In many European countries, demands on quality increase – for all parties in the educational
    process. Thus, quality control and improvement have become the fundamental concern of
    educational governments (Wastiau-Schlüter 2004) and a number of self-evaluation instru-
    ments have been developed in response (Hofman, Djikstra, and Hofman 2008). Increasingly,
    special schools in Denmark are also held accountable for the quality of education they pro-
    vide, so just like in mainstream schools the use of quality evaluation and feed-back systems
    has become important.

    Special schools in Denmark are under pressure by three international educational agen-
    das: the agenda of accountability, the agenda of standards and the agenda of inclusion. In
    the Danish educational debate all pupils’ achievement are strongly emphasised, based on a

    ABSTRACT
    This article reports on findings of a study which objective is the
    development of an instrument for systematic evaluation and
    improvement of the quality of teaching in special schools. The article
    describes the research process which led to the construction of the
    instrument as well as the way teachers can use the instrument to
    improve the quality of their teaching. The article advocates a practice
    perspective to professional development in special schools, as
    special schools in Denmark are under pressure by three international
    educational agendas: the agenda of accountability, the agenda of
    standards and the agenda of inclusion. The instrument suggests
    that professional development is teacher driven and not driven by
    the accountability agenda. The research approach was collaborative
    as 35 teachers and principals from 16 special schools participated
    in the research process. Their perceptions of quality in the practice
    of teaching in special schools and research literature on the quality
    of teaching in both mainstream schools and special schools have
    shaped the development of the instrument. Thus, the instrument is
    based on the finding, that teaching methods in general and special
    education are not as different as assumed. This finding is reflected in
    the instrument.

    © 2016 taylor & francis

    KEYWORDS
    Special needs education;
    educational quality; self-
    evaluation and professional
    development

    ARTICLE HISTORY
    received 9 March 2015
    accepted 7 January 2016

    CONTACT lotte Hedegaard-Soerensen loHES@edu.au.dk

    mailto:LOHES@edu.au.dk

    http://www.tandfonline.com

    EuropEan JournaL of SpEcIaL nEEDS EDucaTIon 265

    concern about the progress of pupils in special schools and special classes in comparison with
    other pupils. However, the monitoring of achievement and progress of this group of pupils
    has often been less rigorous than in mainstream schools as well as the achievements tends
    to be unrecognised and unscrutinised by national and international studies such as pISa
    and TIMSS which examine school attainment. This gives rise to myths that special schools
    emphasise pupils’ well-being, rather than pay attention to their learning achievements, as
    well as they are less academic and contain more manual and physical activities.

    furthermore, special schools are challenged by finding ways to secure their future in
    an inclusive educational system. In Denmark, inclusive education has become a highly
    prioritised national agenda, and the Government’s formal commitment to the devel-
    opment of an inclusive school system was proclaimed in 2012 by the amending of the
    folkeskole act. It called for reducing the numbers of pupils in special schools and special
    classes (from 5.6% of pupils in 2010 to 4% by 2015) and also encouraged mainstream
    schools to be more inclusive. at the same time it was stressed that the educational
    system will continue to include special schools and special classes, though to a lesser
    extent. as a result of these national inclusive efforts, special schools have become mar-
    ginalised in the municipalities’ school systems, financially impoverished and teaching
    staff feel growing resignation. a new ministerial initiative intended to break this pattern
    by encouraging and empowering special schools to take part in the transition process
    towards a more inclusive school system. This participation should be accomplished
    not by closing down special schools, but, on the contrary, by raising their educational
    teaching standards in order to support mainstream schools to include better pupils in
    need of special attention. However, this new role for special schools requires professional
    development in order to communicate with mainstream colleagues.

    up till now, special schools have often been ignored or denigrated, and there is a lack
    of knowledge about special schools and their teaching culture and practices. Therefore the
    Ministry of Education initiated and financed a study with the aim to provide meaningful
    and reliable comparative information about pupils’ achievement and the quality of teaching
    practices in special schools in order to facilitate professional development. This study was
    conducted from January 2013 until february 2014 in collaboration with the national Institute
    of Social research (SfI) and the university of aarhus, Department of Education.

    The overall study included four parts: (1) a systematic review of research on the quality
    of special schools (Dyssegaard and Larsen 2014), (2) a national survey of principals in special
    schools in Denmark and educational psychologists in all Danish municipalities (rangvid and
    Egelund 2014), (3) a survey of pupil outcomes in special schools (rangvid and Lynggaard
    2014) and (4) the development of an instrument for evaluating the quality of teaching prac-
    tices in special schools (Morin 2014; Tetler and Hedegaard-Soerensen 2014). The overall
    research project illustrates how special schools are influenced by the agenda of accounta-
    bility, described as a global pressure associated with the push for specific and measurable
    pupil outcomes (Hardy 2012). The first three parts of the Danish study can be seen as a part
    of a managerial approach to educational practice, as the aim of the study – seen from the
    perspective of the Ministry of Education – has to do with the ability to regulate and control
    the use of resources in special education. as a part of this managerial approach is the process
    of quantitative measures of pupil achievement, as pupil achievement becomes an important
    quality indicator for effectiveness of the practice of teaching. Thus, the professional devel-
    opment of teachers’ practices is an integrated part of the accountability agenda.

    266 L. HEDEGaarD-SoErEnSEn anD S. TETLEr

    This article focuses on the fourth part: development of an instrument for evaluating the
    quality of the learning environment and teaching practices in special schools in order to
    facilitate professional development. Even though the outset for the instrument for eval-
    uating the quality in teachers’ practice is this accountability agenda, it has not been the
    generator for the development of the instrument. rather, the aim of this fourth part of the
    study has been to provide teachers in special schools a self-evaluating instrument that is
    based on knowledge about the culture and practice of teaching and allowing teachers
    both to consolidate existing good practice and to facilitate for professional development
    by focusing on curriculum initiatives. The question, however, is which criteria of quality are
    relevant for evaluating teaching approaches and practices in special schools when focus is
    on pupils’ learning achievement, as well as on developing their social competencies and
    personal well-being? Then, an initial crucial question to ask is: To what extent do pupils in
    special schools need teaching strategies that are different from strategies used in the general
    educational system? or put in other words: What is special about special education?

  • Quality of teaching practices in special schools. What’s that about?
  • Evaluation of quality is, in many ways, a matter of opinion. Skårbrevik (2005) talks about two
    central concepts in norway, when the discussion is about the quality in special education:
    the concept of adequate programmes and the concept of equity. adequate programmes
    are about differential teaching approaches, designed to meet pupils’ experiences, interests
    and needs, which is a critical component of the Danish school reform. However, a study from
    The Danish Evaluation Institute (Evalueringsinstituttet 2011) shows teachers’ perceiving the
    principle of differential teaching very difficult to get along with in their teaching practices.
    They express a quite narrow understanding of the principle, as they talk about differential
    teaching as individualised teaching and as a way to organise teaching in tiered groups. They
    primarily see it as a method they can use, when they have ‘enough hands’ in their classrooms.
    Thus, the challenge is to make this principle as a basic and sustainable part of the learning
    culture. Hence, it is important for teachers to plan, teach and evaluate activities, having both
    the learning community and the individual pupil in mind. pupils’ diversity is emphasised
    within the framework of the class community, and cooperation with the pupils on aims,
    objectives and academic points in the lessons is at the core of understanding the concept
    of differential teaching. In line with that, corbett (2001, 1) refers to a ‘connective pedagogy’,
    which connects the learner with their own way of learning, thus connecting them with the
    curriculum.

    another quality indicator of teaching pupils with special needs is about pupil participa-
    tion, and a study of ainscow, Booth, and Dyson (2006) has shown how to prompt teachers
    to examine ways of increasing pupil participation, engagement and motivation. In the study,
    teachers were able to develop more effective pedagogical approaches to maximise pupil
    participation and achievement. This dimension is also emphasised in other studies that
    document that children emphasise the importance of being able and to learn, to participate
    in the social life of school, and to give and take more responsibility at all institutional levels
    (ruddock 2007; Tangen 2009).

    In a study conducted by Tetler and Baltzer (2011) pupils express that they lack positive
    experiences of influence and appreciation. Seen from their points of view, schools need
    to create learning situations and processes based on values such as ‘pupil influence’ and

    EuropEan JournaL of SpEcIaL nEEDS EDucaTIon 267

    ‘educational participation’. However, facilitating pupils’ development of autonomy and
    engagement in their own learning processes requires involving them in teaching planning
    and evaluation even if they have difficulties expressing their wishes or requests verbally.
    not least, it requires time for teachers to reflect on how to balance inconsistent processes
    such as support and challenges to each individual pupil, protection and autonomy, security
    and risky situations.

    according to a recent research meta-review, three main factors of creating a climate that
    facilitates learning have been identified (Mitchell 2014): (1) relationships (the extent to which
    people in the classroom support and help each other); (2) personal development (the extent
    to which personal growth and self-enhancement is facilitated) and (3) system maintenance
    (the extent to which the classroom is orderly, and educators are clear in their expectations,
    maintain control and are responsive to change). This view is supported by a review from
    nordenbo (2008). as Mitchell focuses solely on the classroom’s psychological climate, we
    have found further inspiration from another meta-review conducted within a context of
    ‘good teaching’ (Meyer 2004). He finds ten characteristics of good teaching, which include
    more details about the structure of the teaching process, communication and differentiation.

    In the study, reported on in this paper, quality of teaching is defined as teachers’ acknowl-
    edgement and management of learners’ individual interests and preconditions without rely-
    ing only on disability categories. Quality is interrelated with and based on a broad approach
    towards learning, as learning is perceived as a mixture of personal, social and academic
    dimensions. furthermore, quality of teaching is connected with teachers’ ability to teach
    according to both this multi-dimensional definition of learning and to their specific knowl-
    edge about individual differences. That means that quality also has to do with knowledge
    sharing and collaboration between different professional groups as well as with families.

  • Across special and inclusive education
  • In this section, we will present the theoretical background for the development of the instru-
    ment for evaluating the quality of teaching practices in special schools. In the nordic and
    European context, educational reforms have been on the agenda since the beginning of the
    nineteenth century (Haug 2000); for instance school reforms with the purpose of transform-
    ing a highly segregated school system into the common and inclusive school for all children.
    The criticism was and still is directed towards the fact that the compensatory-oriented spe-
    cial education had difficulties in contributing to the aims of social justice and equity. The
    democratic-oriented principle of participation in general education became the dominant
    paradigm for social justice and for the development of both mainstream and special schools.

    researchers have participated in this transformation process and in the discussions about
    special education and inclusive education. parts of the theoretical discussions have been
    influenced by a sociological critique of special education and thus of the teaching prac-
    tice in special schools. In this critique the problematic sides of segregated provisions have
    been emphasised: injustice, marginalisation, stigmatisation and exclusion (e.g. Booth and
    ainscow 1998; Skrtic 1999; Slee 2011; Tomlinson 1982). Special education is here described
    as diagnostic, separative and help-based and has been problematised for drawing primar-
    ily on a psycho-medical knowledge base. Based on psycho-medical research a range of
    teaching methods has been developed: Direct instruction, diagnostic prescriptive teaching
    and behavioural techniques (Hick and Thomas 2008). This approach to teaching has been

    268 L. HEDEGaarD-SoErEnSEn anD S. TETLEr

    criticised as insufficient (florian 2008; Hedegaard-Soerensen 2013a; norwich 2013). rather
    the provision of the right condition for learning in communities has been emphasised. The
    understanding of learning from sociocultural theory has underpinned the meaning of the
    context and culture of learning in the pedagogical debate in general. and as stressed by
    Hick and Thomas (2008), this focus has not been strong in the field of special education – as
    a consequence of special educators’ isolation in a particular part of the educational system.
    The context-oriented theory of learning – and thus a focus of teaching – has not played a
    significant role in the development of the practice of teaching in special schools.

    The research debate on special and inclusive education rests on two assumptions: first,
    the debate is based on a presumption about a dichotomy between the practice of teaching
    in special education and in inclusive education, which means that teaching is seen as two
    different practices and types of professional knowledge bases. Second, what is going on in
    practices of teaching in special schools is primarily diagnostic-prescriptive and is not influ-
    enced by sociocultural theory of learning. Instead, special education is organised around
    types of impairment and the conventional wisdom is that teachers who work in specialist
    forms of provision use specialist teaching methods and procedures (florian 2008; florian
    and Graham 2014).

    However, in recent empirical studies on teachers’ approaches in both segregated and
    inclusive settings it is found that the teaching methods are not as different as assumed
    (Egelund and Tetler 2009; Hedegaard-Soerensen 2013a). Teachers’ knowing, doing and
    believing in special needs educational settings draw upon many theoretical perspectives
    and these different perspectives are combined into complex patterns in response to learning
    situations in everyday classroom teaching (Hedegaard-Soerensen 2013b). Thus, the profes-
    sional knowledge in special school teachers’ practices cannot solely be described as diag-
    nostic prescriptive. rather, it consists of knowledge about how to teach pupils according to
    their individual needs and at the same time how to support their learning. This is related to
    what corbett (2001) refers to as ‘connective pedagogy’ as it connects the learner with their
    own way of learning, thus connecting them with the curriculum.

    It is an outset for the development of the instrument that the quality of teaching in special
    schools can be understood in the light of the quality of teaching and learning in general.
    Therefore, we suggest that the quality of teaching practices in special schools involves a
    combination of different theoretical and professional perspectives. The development of the
    instrument begins with this insight. Thus, we problematise the assumption of a simple split
    between special and general education. rather, we perceive this as a theoretical assumption
    in a debate on opposite values in special and inclusive education. In the practice of teaching
    this opposition does not seem to be the case (Hedegaard-Soerensen 2013a). Therefore, we
    have examined how teachers in special schools perceive the quality of teaching as our aim
    has been to develop an instrument for this group of teachers that make sense for them in
    their everyday teaching.

  • Method
  • The development of the instrument draws on research literature about the quality of teach-
    ing in special schools, the quality of teaching in general and on data from a two-day research
    seminar. The seminar included seven researchers from aarhus university and 35 practition-
    ers (principals and teachers) from 16 special schools. Thus, data include schools for pupils

    EuropEan JournaL of SpEcIaL nEEDS EDucaTIon 269

    diagnosed with multiple disabilities, learning difficulties, emotional difficulties, autism spec-
    trum disorder (aSD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The research approach was
    collaborative and used action research methodology (Bjoernsrud 2008). Within a phenome-
    nological research approach (feldman 1994; Giorgi 1985) the goal was to examine teachers’
    and principals’ perceptions of quality in practice by using a narrative research approach (Boje
    2001; Bjørnsrud 2008; Hedegaard-Soerensen 2013a). During the two-day seminar teachers
    and principals participated in three different workshops. as an introduction the practitioners
    were asked to articulate how they perceive quality in their practice of teaching.

    In the first workshop the teachers and principals were divided into six groups and each
    group was asked to agree on influential and important indicators of quality in their own
    teaching practice. The research group joined the practitioners’ discussions and reported them
    as data. The second workshop began with the practitioners’ written narratives on situations
    of practice that, from their points of view, were ‘good’ learning situations. They were then
    interviewed in groups about their narratives and about the quality characteristics depicted
    in the situations. Below is one example of a narrative written by one of the participants,
    teaching pupils diagnosed with aSD.

    It’s morning and the school day is about to begin. We (the teachers and assistants) meet with
    the pupils every morning. We say hello and the pupils are prepared for the school day. now the
    planned teaching is about to begin. The pupils are asked to split up and go to two different
    rooms. Three pupils are sitting around a table in one of the rooms. I tell them, what is going to
    happen. They are going to work with three assignments. first the recognition of specific words,
    then the letters ‘d’ and ‘p’ and finally they are going to read. The pupils are asked to go to their
    desks. Two of the pupils start to work with the assignments and they accept the help that we
    offer. The third pupil doesn’t work. When my colleague approaches her, she says ‘no, no thank
    you’ in an aggressive body language. She signals that she doesn’t want to be interrupted. I try to
    approach her, but receive the same reaction. We instruct the two other pupils. finally the pupil
    that did not work opens her book and starts working. She points at the words and pronounces
    the ones that she knows well.

    This learning situation is an example of a dominant pattern in practice as it was expressed
    by the teachers. What is going on in this classroom is not that different than what is going
    on in mainstream classrooms. for the teacher the narrative is an example of a learning
    situation that meets her understanding of quality in teaching. She reflects on the narrative
    and verbalises the quality as she sees it. She emphasises that all the pupils – in the end –
    are working with their assignments and follow the instruction. She is not surprised that the
    pupil resists. She sees this as a part of her professional craft knowledge to work with the
    relations to the pupils and to approach – in collaboration with a colleague – individual pupils
    according to their needs during teaching. The narrative illustrates that teaching involves
    the ability to adjust to unforeseen incidents, as for instance pupils’ reluctance to work, and
    is an example of ‘situated professionalism’ (Hedegaard-Sørensen and Tetler 2011) as they
    observe, improvise, reflect and act in order to make situations successful. The narratives and
    the taped discussions are used as data.

    finally, in the third workshop the research team collected the most frequently occurring
    indicators from the first workshop and wrote them up on chart paper. These indicators
    were as follows: pupils’ well-being and life mastery; structuring of teaching and lessons;
    subject knowledge and learning; cross-disciplinary collaboration, and knowledge about the
    individual pupil. Then the participating teachers and principals were invited to discuss and
    write down examples from their own teaching practice that could be used as evidence of

    270 L. HEDEGaarD-SoErEnSEn anD S. TETLEr

    quality teaching. all discussions were taped, and the examples generated by the discussions
    became data.

    Thus the data from these three workshops can be described as values, professional reflec-
    tions and practice knowledge in relation to special school teachers’ own understandings of
    quality in their professional practice. In the process of constructing an instrument we were
    able to incorporate indicators and sub-indicators that derived from the way teachers them-
    selves phrased them and in a way, they could recognise them as making sense for them in
    their teaching practice.

    In a subsequent phase of the study, we compared the analysis of the special school
    practitioners’ own understandings of quality with international meta-reviews (Meyer 2004;
    Mitchell 2014) and research literature about teaching practice in special schools (Berthén
    2007; Beyer 2009; Dyssegaard and Larsen 2014; flem, Moen, and Gudmundsdottir 2004;
    Hedegaard‐Soerensen 2010; oestlund 2012; Tetler et al. 2009).

    We found that the variety of teachers’ and principals’ definitions of quality was very much
    in line with the criteria for ‘good instruction’, which Meyer (2004) outlined in his empirically
    based review of characteristics of ‘good teaching’ in general. Based on the above-mentioned
    meta-reviews, research on teaching in special schools and data from the research seminar,
    the instrument was constructed, which follows a framework of seven main quality indicators,
    each with a range of sub indicators. afterwards the participating teachers and principals
    from the seminar piloted the instrument by evaluating their own teaching practice, and
    they were interviewed about their experiences. according to their feedback the instrument
    was adjusted and finished.

  • The main indicators of the instrument
  • We have elaborated Meyer’s ten criteria of good instruction1 in order to decide on and
    organise the main indicators of the instrument, while the practitioners’ understandings and
    descriptions of teaching quality in special schools represent the main source for the con-
    struction of the sub-indicators of the instrument. Thus some of Meyer’s characteristics are
    replaced with others or are defined differently so they reflect the research literature about
    the field of special schools. In particular, the sub-indicators are elaborated and worded so
    they can easily be recognised by teachers in special schools. Thus the instrument consists
    of seven main indicators: (a) the school’s cross-professional collaborative relationships, (b)
    the physical teaching environment, (c) promoting a culture of learning, (d) structuring of
    teaching and lessons, target setting and evaluation, (e) management of teaching, (f ) indi-
    vidual considerations and differentiation and (g) pupil involvement. The first main indicator
    addresses both teachers and principals. The other six main indicators are only of interest to
    teachers. Below is a short description of each indicator.

    Main indicator A: the school’s cross-professional collaborative relationships

    This indicator addresses several aspects of collaborative practice among professionals with
    different approaches to pupils’ situations in the schools. This collaboration between different
    types of professionals is connected to the quality of special schools when the collaborative
    practices support pupils’ learning and life mastery. The main indicator and associated sub-in-
    dicators are designed to support teachers’ evaluation of the organisation of collaboration

    EuropEan JournaL of SpEcIaL nEEDS EDucaTIon 271

    and the collaborative practice itself including collaboration with specialists (e.g. speech
    therapists) and equally important collaboration among teachers, child care workers and
    classroom assistants (e.g. collaboration when teaching).

    Main indicator B: the physical teaching environment

    The quality of the physical environment influences pupils’ learning outcomes, and therefore
    it is important to organise the physical environment to promote and support different edu-
    cational objectives and arrangements of learning and teaching. for example, many pupils
    with special educational needs experience physical restrictions with regard to accessibility
    to buildings and classrooms. Included in this indicator is an evaluation of the assistive tech-
    nologies that are available for teaching (e.g. IcT equipment).

    Main indicator C: promoting a culture of learning

    If pupils experience the learning climate positively, they are better able to show their abil-
    ities and interests and therefore improve their skills, academically, socially and personally.
    This indicator focuses on a learning climate characterised by mutual respect, rules that are
    followed, shared responsibility, equality and care for one another (Meyer 2004, 51). This
    indicator and the associated sub-indicators support teachers’ evaluation of the classroom
    climate and the balance between the time spent on learning activities and on caring and
    supporting.

    Main indicator D: structuring of teaching and lessons, target setting and
    evaluation

    This main indicator emphasises the importance of the relation between goals, content and
    teaching strategies. The focus is on classroom leadership and development of a learning
    climate that communicates expectations for pupils’ behaviour and interactions, well-defines
    pupils’ tasks, and makes a clear distinction between self-regulated and guided learning
    experiences. among other things, it requires that all professionals are aware of their roles
    in both planning and instruction processes.

    Main indicator E: management of teaching

    This indicator is about management of teaching with a focus on content clarity; for example,
    structuring content in well-defined tasks adjusted to pupils’ individual pace, rhythm and
    learning style. It is also important to consider if the variety of learning tools is sufficient to
    support the instruction with visual aids, illustrative teaching materials and concrete exam-
    ples. Included in this category is pupils’ ‘practicing’ since it is important for pupils to practice
    emerging skills that are relevant to the goals they are working towards.

    Main indicator F: individual considerations and differentiation

    This indicator supports teachers’ reflections on the tension between the individual and the
    group. The dilemma is one of teaching all the pupils and at the same time teaching to the

    272 L. HEDEGaarD-SoErEnSEn anD S. TETLEr

    individual. Teachers face dilemmas in responding to pupils’ experiencing difficulties and
    providing for all pupils without stigmatising some as different. In evaluating this aspect of
    teaching it is important to consider whether individualised learning and collective learning
    is balanced, and whether a variety of methods and teaching strategies are used in order for
    pupils to collaborate with each other and have opportunities to take part in the learning
    community.

    Main indicator G: pupil involvement

    The indicator concerns involvement and responsibility, which are important means for sup-
    porting individual pupils to develop personal and social competencies. Meaningful commu-
    nication is central which means that teachers can talk to and negotiate with pupils about the
    meaning of goals and tasks in order for them to be involved and included in a participatory
    planning process, especially about their own individual educational plan and instruction.
    for example, do they influence the content? and are they able to relate the content to their
    everyday activities?

  • A culture of evaluation and improvement of practice
  • as it is stressed in research on professional development in schools (both mainstream and
    special schools) improvement of professional practice must take the point of departure in
    teachers’ practice. The starting point for professional development should be teachers’ situ-
    ated professionalism (Hedegaard-Sørensen and Tetler 2011) and thus actions, professional
    judgements and reflections during teaching. furthermore it is emphasised in research that
    the aim of the professional development must be teacher driven and not driven by the
    accountability agenda (Hardy 2012). In a teacher driven process of professional development
    the outset for improvement is teachers’ craft knowledge about responding to individuals’
    difficulties (florian and Graham 2014). finally the quality of professional development will
    increase by using methods that instil strengths, confidence and capacity to teachers (narian,
    ferguson, and Thomas 2012). The approach to the development of the instrument is aligned
    with the research knowledge about professional development as mentioned. The indicators
    for quality are based on knowledge about the practice of teaching in special schools – across
    general and special education. The indicators are – as it was validated by teachers – recog-
    nisable for teachers as they mirror the teachers’ professional values and traditions.

    Thus the purpose of the instrument is to support a culture of documentation, evalua-
    tion and improvement of teaching practice according to predefined indicators of quality.
    Each indicator has a range of sub-indicators that targets different dimensions of quality.
    Teachers using the instrument will, for instance, find three sub-indicators under the indicator
    ‘pupil involvement’: (1) opinion-forming communication, (2) participation in lessons and (3)
    participation in target setting. Each sub-indicator includes descriptive statements for the
    teacher to reflect on. for example, the sub-indicator ‘participation in lessons’ is clarified by
    the following statements (figure 1):

    Teachers are offered the possibility to evaluate and improve the practice of teaching by
    considering whether the practice in special schools is aligned with the different descrip-
    tive statements in the sub-indicators. from these indicators teachers can be systematic in
    observing and evaluating their practice and can develop a professional language that can be

    EuropEan JournaL of SpEcIaL nEEDS EDucaTIon 273

    shared.2 Through this process of common and collaborative evaluation teachers can actively
    asses and measure the practice of teaching against the different indicators.

  • Evaluation and improvement
  • Thus the instrument can be used to develop a culture of evaluation and improvement of
    teaching in special schools. as a part of the development of the instrument all participating
    teachers and principals were interviewed about their experiences with the instrument. The
    feedbacks from working with the tool unfold a variety of different perspectives:

    The development of a shared professional language

    The instrument is (seen from the views of the teachers who tested it) supporting the develop-
    ment of a professional language. In completing the tool teachers discovered and rediscovered
    the practical and partly tacit knowledge and in teachers’ sharing of reflections about the relation
    between practice and indicators, the teachers are supported in unfolding and elaborating a pro-
    fessional language, for example about pupils’ learning in relation to the learning environment
    and the practice of teaching. In this process, the instrument supports the teachers in aligning the
    practical knowledge with a professional language. This supports a kind of teacher development
    in which teachers’ concrete situated professional judgements about what is educational desira-
    ble is in focus (Biesta 2012). Developing practice from the outset of educational judgements or
    situated professional reasoning (Hedegaard-Soerensen 2013a) offers teachers the possibility to
    teach in an educational way and not to draw of diagnostic-prescriptive methods and procedures.

    The development of new professional approaches to teaching

    furthermore, the teachers stress its supporting new dialogues and ways of reflecting on
    teaching. In discussions of both process and outcome of completing the instrument, teachers

    G.2. Participation in lessons (tick one box in each row)
    aoT

    high
    extent

    To
    some
    extent

    To a
    less
    extent

    Not
    at
    all

    Pupils actively participate in lessons 1 2 3 4

    Pupils are motivated and show interest in the lessons 1 2 3 4

    Pupils can draw on their own experiences during the lessons 1 2 3 4

    Pupils can relate teaching to their own lives 1 2 3 4

    Pupils influence the topics to be taught 1 2 3 4

    Pupils influence the choice of materials and how they are used 1 2 3 4

    The starting point for teaching is pupils’ interests 1 2 3 4

    The starting point for teaching is pupils’ levels of ability 1 2 3 4

    Pupils focus their attention on the teacher during lessons 1 2 3 4

    Figure 1. an example of a sub-indicator in the instrument.

    274 L. HEDEGaarD-SoErEnSEn anD S. TETLEr

    created a shared professional language about the knowing, doing and believing in the prac-
    tice of teaching in specific educational settings and about the overall quality of the learning
    environments. out of this reflection new approaches to teaching are able to occur. This is in
    line with the concept of ‘didactic reasoning’ (aldrin 2015) as an important dimension of aca-
    demic teacher development. The professional development can be accomplished through
    intersubjective meetings in which teachers’ didactic voices can be nurtured.

    The development of a culture of evaluation and improvement

    another purpose of the instrument is the creation of an ongoing culture of evaluation and
    improvement of practice. The instrument is – seen from the perspectives of the principals
    who tested it – an important outset for a collaborative and systematic evaluation and devel-
    opment of the teaching practice in special schools. Linked to the instrument supporting new
    dialogues and ways of reflection, teachers and principals stress that the instrument offers
    inspiration for talks about values and philosophies of teaching in special schools – and thus
    for improvements.

    as quality in education is linked to expectations and values, teachers and principals are
    offered the possibility to examine whether the actual practice is aligned with the values
    shared by teachers and principals. This examination can be arranged in two different ways.
    one way of using the instrument for a general and systematic examination of the teaching
    practice implies that all teachers are completing the instrument. and thus a systematic
    analysis can be conducted by the teachers. This can – as it is stressed by some of the schools
    – provide inspiration for further development of the teaching practices. This involves an
    overall examination of practices at the school level. another way of using the instrument for
    systematic examination of the practice of teaching involves teachers’ emphasis on a specific
    predefined indicator for quality (e.g. pupil involvement). Individual teachers or teams of pro-
    fessionals are offered the possibility to examine whether the everyday practice is aligned with
    the predefined statements in the sub-indicators and thus, the teachers can find inspiration
    in the instrument for improvement of practice.

  • Discussion
  • The study reported in this article has found that it makes sense to describe good teaching
    in special schools from the perspective of good teaching in mainstream schools. Thus, it
    makes sense to further explore the relationship between good quality teaching approaches
    and the notion of inclusive pedagogy which seeks to ‘extend what is generally available to
    everybody as opposed to providing for all by differentiating for some’ (florian and Black-
    Hawkins 2011, 183).

    The instrument supports teachers in special schools to articulate their craft knowledge
    about responding to individual learner difficulties in the process of teaching, which
    is meaningful for teachers in special schools in their professional development and
    improvement of the practice of teaching. furthermore, the instrument for evaluating
    the quality of special educational teaching can contribute to a view on the SEn-field
    as an integral part of mainstream education. This emerged in a follow-up study that
    focused on the kind of collaboration between special school teachers and mainstream
    school teachers about the development of inclusive learning communities in mainstream

    EuropEan JournaL of SpEcIaL nEEDS EDucaTIon 275

    schools (riis-Jensen, Hedegaard-Soerensen, and Tofteng forthcoming). In this study it
    was examined how knowledge derived from special educational settings can be included
    successfully in mainstream schools in developing inclusive learning environments. not
    as a simple task of transferring knowledge, but a process of co-creation in which special
    educational knowledge had to be transformed in order to meet the needs of mainstream
    teachers in inclusive classrooms. In this study, the instrument was used as a tool for the
    special school teachers’ articulation of their craft knowledge, but the instrument was
    also used as a platform, from which teachers from both special and mainstream schools
    were able to communicate and share knowledge about teaching pupils with a diversity
    of needs, interests and experiences.

  • Notes
  • 1. clear teaching structure, high amount of time-on-task, climate conducive to learning, content
    clarity, meaningful communication, variety of instructional methods, individual support,
    intelligent exercises, clear description of goals to be achieved and well-prepared learning
    environment (Meyer 2004).

    2. The instrument for evaluating the quality of teaching can be downloaded: http://edu.au.dk/
    index.php?id=42212&L=1.

  • Disclosure statement
  • no potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

  • Funding
  • This work was supported by the Danish Ministry of Education under Grant 104.53L.391 (The Danish
    Ministry of Education).

  • Notes on contributors
  • Lotte Hedegaard-Soerensen is an associated professor at the Department of Education, aarhus
    university, and head of Master of Special needs Education. Lotte Hedegaard-Soerensen’s research is
    on teachers’ knowledge and competencies across special and inclusive learning environments, multi-
    disciplinary collaboration and professional development from the outset of teachers’ craft knowledge
    and situated professionalism.

    Susan Tetler is professor of the Department of Education, aarhus university and Director of the research
    program: Inclusion and Exclusion – in society, institution and pedagogical practice. Her research is
    at the intersection of inclusive education, special pedagogy and didactics/curriculum, with a focus
    on students with disabilities and their participation in learning communities. recent publication
    include: Situated professionalism in Special Educational practice, Educating pre-service Teachers for
    Special Education/inclusive Education, a practicum Turn in Teacher Education 2011; The climate of
    Inclusive classrooms: The pupil perspective, London review of Education 2011; Listening to Students:
    a collaborative research Effort between Denmark and the united States. paper presented at ISEc
    2010, International Special Education conference 2010; Jenseits der Inklusionrhetoric in der skandi-
    navischen Ländern, Integration/Inklusion aus internationaler Sicht 2009; Tensions and Dilemmas in
    the field of Inclusive Education, resistance, reflection and change: nordic Disability research 2005
    and Gemeinsamer unterricht in Dänemark: Dilemmata und perspektiven, Integration von Menschen
    mit Behinderung: Entwicklungen in Europa 2000.

    http://edu.au.dk/index.php?id=42212&L=1.

    http://edu.au.dk/index.php?id=42212&L=1.

    276 L. HEDEGaarD-SoErEnSEn anD S. TETLEr

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    • Abstract
    • Background
      Quality of teaching practices in special schools. What’s that about?
      Across special and inclusive education
      Method
      The main indicators of the instrument
      Main indicator A: the school’s cross-professional collaborative relationships
      Main indicator B: the physical teaching environment
      Main indicator C: promoting a culture of learning
      Main indicator D: structuring of teaching and lessons, target setting and evaluation
      Main indicator E: management of teaching
      Main indicator F: individual considerations and differentiation
      Main indicator G: pupil involvement
      A culture of evaluation and improvement of practice
      Evaluation and improvement
      The development of a shared professional language
      The development of new professional approaches to teaching
      The development of a culture of evaluation and improvement
      Discussion
      Notes
      Disclosure statement
      Funding
      Notes on contributors
      References

    Chapter 6

    Our Coherence Framework is “simplexity.” Simplexity is not a real word, but it is a valuable concept. Simplexity means that you take a difficult problem and identify a small number of key factors (about four to six)—this is the simple part. And then you make these factors gel under the reality of action with its pressures, politics, and personalities in the situation—this is the complex part. In the case of our framework, there are only four big chunks and their interrelationships. Not only are these components dynamic but they also get refined over time in the setting in which you work. You have to focus on the right things, but you also must learn as you go. One of our favorite insights came from a retired CEO from a very successful company who, when asked about the most important thing he has learned about leadership, responded by say- ing, “It is more important to be right at the end of the meeting than the most important thing he has learned about leadership, responded by saying- ing, “It is more important to be right at the end of the meeting than the beginning” (David Cote, Honeywell, nyti.ms/1chUHqp). He was using this as a metaphor for a good change process: leaders influence the group, but they also learn from it. In fact, joint learning is what happens in effective change processes. If you are right at the beginning of the meeting, you are right only in your mind. If you are right at the notional end of the meeting, it means that you have processed the ideas with the group. McKinsey & Company conducted a study of leaders in the social sector (education et al.) and opened their report with these words: “chronic underinvestment [in leadership development] is placing increasing demands on social sector leaders” (Callanan, Gardner, Mendonca, & Scott, 2014). Their conclusions are right in our wheelhouse. In the survey of 200 social sector leaders, participants rated four critical attributes: balancing innovation with implementation, building executive teams, collaborating, and manag- ing outcomes. Survey respondents found themselves and their peers to be deficient in all four domains. In one table, they show the priorities—ability to innovate and implement, ability to surround selves with talented teams, collaboration, and ability to manage to outcomes—in terms of how respon- dents rated themselves and rated their peers as strong in the given domain. Both sets of scores were low—all below 40 percent. Collaboration, for example, was rated as 24 percent (self-rating) and 24 percent (rating of their peers). So the top capabilities are in short supply. Leaders build coherence when they combine the four components of our Coherence Framework with meeting the varied needs of the complex organizations they lead. Coherence making is a forever job because people come and go, and the situational dynamics are always in flux. They actively develop lateral and vertical connections so that the collaborative culture is deepened and drives deepened learning and reinforces the focused direction. Achieving coherence in a system takes a long time and requires continuous attention. The main threat to coherence is turnover at the top with new leaders who come in with their own agenda. It is not turnover per se that is the problem, but rather discontinuity of direction. Sometimes systems performing poorly do require a shakeup, but we have also seen situations where new leaders disrupt rather than build on the good things that are happening. And we have seen (more rarely in our experience) districts like Garden Grove where there was a change of superintendents based on a deliberate plan to continue and deepen the effectiveness of the system. The idea in changeover ideally combines continuity and innovation. As we have said, coherence making and re-making is a never-ending proposition. The previous chapters contain many ideas about leadership, and we hope the reader has garnered key lessons about each of the four components. We won’t repeat these ideas here. Instead, we boil down leadership to two big recommendations: master the framework, and develop leaders at all levels.

    There are many different ways to proceed. Here are a few: conduct a mental inventory with others by applying the framework to your system to examine whether you have included everything and to determine how well you are doing on each sub-item; discuss the framework among your leadership team, starting with the four main headings to see if the ideas resonate; start discussing the main concepts with other leaders in the system as you begin to form plans and strategies; and start through action forums, working on the four domains. However you go about it, take the advice we gave in Chapter 2: participate as a learner working alongside others to move the organization forward. The framework is not a blueprint but a prompt to assess whether you are actually addressing the four components and the 13 subcomponents. Use the framework to get a 360-degree snapshot of how the coherence is perceived at all levels. To get you started, we provide a Coherence Assessment Tool in Figure 6.2. The tool includes the four components and prompts for starting discussions about the subcomponents. We encourage you to focus on identifying the evidence of each element in your organization. You may want to have individuals in different roles in the organization reflect and then combine those reflections to get a full picture. Consider areas where perceptions are similar and use areas that are different as starting points for deeper conversations—Is your approach comprehensive enough?

    Are you addressing all four components? Consider your strengths but also the areas of greatest need as you review the four parts of the framework, and identify ways you can leverage the former and develop the latter. There is no one right formula—but what’s important is to use the exercise to move to action. Once again, the strongest change process shapes and reshapes quality ideas as it builds capacity and ownership among participants. As you become stronger and stronger in practicing the Coherence Framework, you will get greater enthusiasm and greater results that will spur people on to accomplish more. “Talking the walk,” as we have said, is both a great indicator and a great strategy for the group to become clearer and more committed individually and collectively. Can leaders at all levels clearly describe the framework as it is being used in the system?

    As you use the Coherence Framework to reflect on organizational coherence, you can also think of progress in terms of developing specific leadership competencies. Kirtman and Fullan (2015) show how the seven competencies of highly effective leaders mesh with “whole system improvement.”

    The seven skills are listed in Figure 6.3. figure 6.3 Leadership Competencies for Whole System improvement

    1. Challenges the status quo 5. Has a high sense of urgency for change and sustainable result

    2. s 2. Builds trust through clear 6. Commits to continuous improvement communications and expectations

    3. 3. Creates a commonly owned plan 7. Builds external networks/partnerships for success 4. Focuses on the team over self.

    These competencies map on our Coherence Framework. Challenging the status quo is part and parcel of focusing new directions. Building trust and creating a commonly owned plan are very much part of collaborating with purpose. Focusing on the team is about leadership development in others. The next two—sense of urgency in relation to results and continuous improvement—relate directly to internal and external accountability. External networks and partnerships are a wraparound set of collaborative activities that enable leaders to both use and contribute to the external environment. Most leaders, as the McKinsey & Company’s study revealed, are not good at leading the change process. Mastering our framework will address that deficit and enable you and your system to become much more effective and much more likely to become more sustainable. Most leaders, as the McKinsey & Company’s study revealed, are not good at leading the change process. Mastering our framework will address that deficit and enable you and your system to become much more effective and much more likely to become more sustainable. And you don’t have to do it alone; indeed, it cannot be done alone. It takes the group to change the group, and it takes many leaders to change the group. This is why developing leaders at all levels is essential.

    develop their leadership skills and help others do the same. Leaders devel- oping other leaders becomes the natural order of the day. In addition, the organization should develop and use other tools to systematically foster leadership in the system. This would include mentoring, coaching, giving feedback, interning, and training in key skills such as communication and media skills. In our model, the difference is that these more formal strategies do not serve as drivers but as reinforcers of the direction of the organization generated by our four-part Coherence Framework. Again, Ontario did this well. Regular business concentrated on focused direction, collaboration, increasingly deeper learning, and internal accountability—all to serve the three core goals: increase student achievement, reduce the gap, and increase the public confidence in the public school system (latterly, Ontario has added a fourth goal: the well- being of students). To back this up, the leadership unit within the ministry developed (in partnership with districts) tools—leadership frameworks and strategies—to cultivate leadership within districts and schools (www .education-leadership-ontario.ca). There are two crucial elements of this strategy. One is that formal leadership development was expressly in the service of implementing the main agenda of the three core goals. They reinforced and were in the same direction as the core agenda. The leadership strategy was a supporter and reinforcer, not a driver. Second—and this is remarkable—the leadership framework tool was never compulsory, but everyone uses it. It became commonly owned because the process drew people to the best solution that has now become a requirement (every district must develop a leadership succession plan). The end result is that the day-to-day evolution of activities. Review Infographic 6, on page 138, to clarify how you will use lead- ership to integrate the four components of the Coherence Framework.

    Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation 49 (2018) 45–57
    DOI:10.3233/JVR-180953
    IOS Press

    45

    CIRCLES: Building an interagency network
    for transition planning

    Tiana C. Povenmire-Kirka, David W. Testa,∗, Claudia P. Flowersa, Karen M. Diegelmanna,
    Kimberly Bunch-Crumpa, Amy Kemp-Inmana and Crystalyn I. Goodnightb
    aUniversity of North Carolina Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, USA
    bUniversity of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, NC, USA

    Revised/Accepted August 2017

    Abstract.
    BACKGROUND: Best practices in transition planning include interagency collaboration during the planning process. While
    IDEA 2004 requires interagency collaboration in the IEP process, getting all the right people to the table can be difficult.
    OBJECTIVE: To investigate stakeholder perceptions of interagency collaboration resulting from Communicating Intera-
    gency Relationships and Collaborative Linkages for Exceptional Students (CIRCLES).
    METHODS: Using qualitative and quantitative methodologies, we explored stakeholders’ interagency collaboration expe-
    riences with CIRCLES.
    RESULTS: Data indicated high levels of interagency collaboration and satisfaction from students, parents, teachers, and
    agency personnel.
    CONCLUSIONS: CIRCLES may help transition personnel overcome many of the barriers to successful interagency
    collaboration.

    Keywords: Transition, transition planning, youth with disabilities, interagency collaboration

    1. Introduction

    A successful transition to post-school education,
    employment, community engagement, and indepen-
    dent living are goals of most high school students.
    For many students, high school has become a time
    of identifying goals and networking with friends
    and supports to make those goals a reality whether
    they involve preparing for postsecondary education,
    choosing a career, or making decisions about where
    they want to live. For students with disabilities, this
    process can be difficult without the help of school
    personnel and adult service providers (Kohler, 1996).

    ∗Address for correspondence: Dr. David Test, Department of
    Special Education and Child Development, University of North
    Carolina Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte, NC
    28223, USA. Tel.: +1 704 687 8853; Fax: +1 704 687 1625;
    E-mail: dwtest@uncc.edu.

    Federal laws including the Individuals with Disabili-
    ties Act (IDEA, 2004) and the Workforce Innovation
    and Opportunity Act (WIOA, 2015) stipulate guide-
    lines for education systems and adult service agencies
    in assisting youth with disabilities in this transition
    process. IDEA (2004) mandates that each student
    with disabilities have a transition component in
    their Individual Education Program (IEP), based on
    their individual interests, strengths, and needs, in
    place by their 16th birthday. IDEA (2004) further
    mandates that the transition component must con-
    tain a coordinated set of outcome-related activities
    which will guide the student through the transition
    from high school to adult life. WIOA (2015) uses
    this same terminology to define transition services
    and to address service providers who work with
    these students to connect them with opportunities
    for postsecondary education and employment. These
    coordinated services imply that these two systems

    1052-2263/18/$35.00 © 2018 – IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved

    mailto:dwtest@uncc.edu

    46 T.C. Povenmire-Kirk et al. / Building an interagency network for transition planning

    work together to build a smooth transition. Mak-
    ing and maintaining these connections across the
    education system/adult service providers divide is
    fundamental to ensuring positive post-school out-
    comes for students with disabilities.

    Kohler, Gothberg, Fowler, and Coyle (2016) in the
    Taxonomy for Transition Programming 2.0 (Taxon-
    omy), categorized this connectivity and intention of
    educators and adult service providers (e.g., vocational
    rehabilitation counselors, community rehabilitation
    agencies, and providers of independent living) in
    working together to assist in the successful transi-
    tion to adult life for students with disabilities as
    Interagency Collaboration. Within interagency col-
    laboration, various stakeholders including parents
    and students work together with transition teach-
    ers and adult services providers to problem-solve
    to develop student-centered transition activities to
    be implemented through the student’s IEP (Webb,
    Repetto, Seabrook-Blackmore, Pattersons, & Alder-
    fer, 2014). Interagency Collaboration is pivotal
    for increasing post-school outcomes for students
    with disabilities (Noonan, Morningstar, & Gaumer
    Erickson, 2008). In a systematic review of correla-
    tional literature to identify in-school predictors of
    post-school outcomes, Test, Mazzotti, et al. (2009)
    identified interagency collaboration as a predictor of
    positive post-school outcomes.

    Even with guidelines (Kohler et al., 2016; Noo-
    nan et al., 2008), and mandates (IDEA, 2004; WIOA,
    2015), researchers have found building collabora-
    tion across agencies is often difficult as educational
    systems and adult service agencies may work with
    different mindsets, such as specialized definitions and
    policies for collaboration and assisting students with
    disabilities in achieving their transition goals (Oertle,
    Plotner, & Trach, 2013). For example, in a secondary
    analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Tran-
    sition Study-2 (NLTS2), vocational rehabilitation
    (VR) counselors were found to have very little par-
    ticipation in transition planning for students with
    intellectual disability, as well as other disabilities
    (Grigal, Hart, & Migliore, 2011). On one hand, transi-
    tion teachers may find themselves overwhelmed with
    the tasks of transition planning, wondering why the
    vocational rehabilitation counselors are not partici-
    pating, while on the other hand, VR counselors may
    be waiting in the wings to be invited to the transition
    planning table (Trach, 2012).

    Unfortunately, research on effective strategies for
    interagency collaboration has been sparse (Landmark
    & Zhang, 2010; Oertle et al., 2013). In fact, Test,

    Fowler, et al. (2009) found no evidence-based prac-
    tices in the category of interagency collaboration in a
    review of secondary transition literature. This lack
    of research has been recognized by others. First,
    in a position paper of the Council of Exceptional
    Children Division of Career Development and Tran-
    sition (DCDT), Mazzotti, Rowe, Cameto, Test, and
    Morningstar (2013) called for researchers to focus
    on interagency collaboration and identify evidence-
    based practices in this area. More recently, Haber
    et al. (2016) conducted a second meta-analysis of
    in-school secondary transition predictors and found
    interagency collaboration was a predictor of postsec-
    ondary education and, even though there were few
    studies investigating the topic, interagency collabo-
    ration showed strong effects, suggesting the need for
    effective strategies for promoting interagency collab-
    oration. To date, current research has focused on three
    areas (a) potential barriers to successful collabora-
    tion, (b) perceptions of levels of collaboration, and
    (c) successful models of interagency collaboration.

    1.1. Barriers to collaboration

    Reisen, Morgan, Schiltz, and Kupferman (2014)
    conducted a Delphi study to investigate possible bar-
    riers of transitioning from school to work for youth
    and young adults with disabilities. Forty-six transi-
    tion professionals (i.e., special educators, vocational
    rehabilitation counselors, community rehabilitation
    providers) across one state, identified and rated bar-
    riers of school to work in 11 domains including
    interagency collaboration. Within this category, lack
    of continued supports after high school and lack of
    knowledge of available supports ranked as having
    the highest impact on youth and young adults with
    disabilities.

    Next, Meadows, Davies, and Beamish (2014)
    conducted a confirmatory analysis of Beamish,
    Meadows, and Davies (2012) data to ascertain special
    educators’ level of locus of control over commonly
    used interagency collaboration practices. Comparing
    scores from rating scales on implementation levels of
    15 interagency collaboration practices (Meadows et
    al.) and a survey inquiring on teachers’ perceptions
    of locus of control for each of the practices, results
    indicated a positive correlation between teacher’s
    perception of locus of control (i.e., school-based v.
    regional/systemic) and level of implementation of the
    practice.

    T.C. Povenmire-Kirk et al. / Building an interagency network for transition planning 47

    1.1.1. Perceptions of levels of collaboration
    To understand perceptions of interagency collabo-

    ration among VR counselors and transition teachers,
    Taylor, Morgan, and Callow-Heusser (2016) uti-
    lized two surveys to determine level of collaboration
    and satisfaction with collaboration practices. This
    four-state study found many of the responses by
    VR counselors and transition teachers were some-
    what aligned, reporting low levels of collaboration
    in several areas, such as teachers providing student
    information to VR counselors, teachers inviting VR
    counselors to IEP meetings, and VR counselors par-
    ticipating in the IEP meetings. One area of responses
    showed a large difference across participants. VR
    counselors regarded themselves as an essential part
    of the transition planning process for students with
    disabilities, while transition teachers indicated VR
    counselors played much less of a role.

    1.2. Successful models of interagency
    collaboration

    Other research has examined what is working
    in interagency collaboration. For example, Noo-
    nan, Gaumer Erickson, and Morningstar (2013)
    investigated the level of high-quality interagency col-
    laboration of 73 members of community transition
    teams who received training and support for inter-
    agency collaboration for one year. Members were
    assessed before and after the first year using the
    Transition Collaboration Survey which measured 11
    essential components of interagency collaboration
    (Noonan, et al., 2008). The 11 key strategies identi-
    fied including (a) flexible scheduling and staffing, (b)
    follow-up after transition, (c) administrative support
    for transition, (d) using a variety of funding sources,
    (e) state-supported technical assistance, (f) ability to
    build relationships, (g) agency meetings with students
    and families, (h) training student and families, (i) joint
    training of staff, and (j) meeting with agency staff
    and transition councils. Results revealed school staff
    had an increase in all 11 components of high-quality
    interagency collaboration, while agency staff had
    increases in most of the components except adminis-
    trative support for transition and training time.

    In another study using the Levels of Collaboration
    Scale (Frey, Lohmeier, Lee, & Tollefson, 2006) and
    social network analysis, Noonan, Erickson, McCall,
    Frey, and Zheng (2014) examined changes in collab-
    oration among members of a state-level interagency
    education team over a three-year period. Directors
    of state-level agencies who worked with youth and

    adults with disabilities, rated their own level of col-
    laboration with the group, as well as their perception
    of other agencies’ level of collaboration. In this study,
    participants were given results of the analysis each
    year and had the opportunity to generate and discuss
    strategies for improving the collaboration, resulting
    in increased levels of collaboration from networking
    to cooperation over the three-year period.

    Additionally, Povenmire-Kirk et al. (2015) con-
    ducted focus groups with school district personnel
    and adult service providers to investigate the
    successes and challenges from the first-year imple-
    mentation of a three-tiered model of interagency
    collaboration. Stakeholders including school district
    and agency personnel who were involved in plan-
    ning or participating in Communicating Interagency
    Relationships and Collaborative Linkages for Excep-
    tional Students (CIRCLES) were asked to reflect
    on the first year of implementation in their dis-
    tricts. Themes for successes included increased levels
    of networking and collaboration among agency and
    school participants, improved communication about
    services across stakeholders, and the esoteric gratifi-
    cation of helping students develop self-advocacy and
    self-determination by teaching them how to lead their
    own School Level Team (SLT) meetings.

    This review of literature, while offering essen-
    tial characteristics (Lee & Carter, 2012, Noonan
    et al., 2008) of quality interagency collaboration,
    also presented ongoing challenges and suggestions
    for improvement (Lee & Carter, 2012; Noonan
    et al., 2012; Reisen et al., 2014; Taylor et al., 2016).
    One research-based model that schools can use to
    effectively implement interagency collaboration is
    CIRCLES. The CIRCLES model of interagency col-
    laboration, which has been successfully implemented
    for four years in 12 school districts, addressed many
    of these challenges and suggestions. In addition, in a
    randomized control trial investigation of the efficacy
    of the CIRCLES model, Flowers, Test, Povenmire-
    Kirk, Diegelmann, Bunch-Crump, and Kemp-Inman
    (2018), found students who went through CIRCLES
    experienced higher levels of self-determination and
    participation in their IEP meetings.

    Therefore, the purpose of this study was to use
    mixed methods (i.e., qualitative and quantitative)
    to investigate the full implementation of the CIR-
    CLES model of interagency collaboration. Using
    grounded theory method, focus groups were con-
    ducted to collect data on the perspectives of four
    different stakeholder groups (i.e., students, parents,
    teachers, agency personnel) to determine success

    48 T.C. Povenmire-Kirk et al. / Building an interagency network for transition planning

    and challenges throughout implementation of CIR-
    CLES. Quantitative data were also gathered using
    surveys to examine different stakeholders’ perception
    of involvement in CIRCLES. The following research
    questions were addressed:

    1. What are CIRCLES students’ perception of
    their preparedness, involvement in planning and
    setting goals for post-secondary education, job,
    and living in the community?

    2. Are parents involved in planning and preparing
    their child for post-secondary education, job,
    and living in the community?

    3. What are interagency members’ perception of
    collaboration among schools and other agen-
    cies?

    2. Method

    2.1. Description of CIRCLES service delivery
    model

    CIRCLES involves three levels of interagency col-
    laboration including Community Level Team, School
    Level Team, and IEP Team. While each team has
    a specific purpose, they work together to address
    transition planning needs and issues of individual
    students with disabilities to improve both in-school
    and post-school outcomes of students with disabil-
    ities (Aspel, Bettis, Quinn, Test, & Wood, 1999;
    Povenmire-Kirk et al., 2015). CIRCLES targets stu-
    dents with disabilities who may need support from
    multiple adult service providers to experience suc-
    cessful post-school outcomes. For example, students
    with a mild learning disability who have family issues
    including poverty, homelessness, or high-risk parents
    could benefit from services available through CIR-
    CLES team members. On the other hand, similar
    students who have a strong family system of support,
    are college bound, and have no other specific needs
    may not benefit from the interagency team involve-
    ment that is the hallmark of CIRCLES. In summary,
    CIRCLES allows agencies to provide support ser-
    vices directly to students and families who need
    involvement from multiple adult service providers
    using three levels of teaming.

    2.1.1. Community Level Team
    The Community Level Team (CLT) is comprised of

    administrators and supervisors of every agency able
    to provide support for transition from high school to

    adult life. This team could include Vocational Reha-
    bilitation, Department of Social Services, Health
    Department, The Arc, Easter Seals, Autism Society,
    residential service providers, and any other local ser-
    vice providers. The CLT is organized and convened
    by district-level school staff (e.g., special education
    director, program coordinator, transition specialist)
    to address community-level needs for services. The
    CLT meets two to four times per year to identify gaps
    and overlaps in services, and work together to change
    policy and practice to better serve youth with disabil-
    ities. As the CLT works to identify and address areas
    of need in their community, this can result in changes
    in policies, services, budget allocations, or commu-
    nity outreach and education. One of the key roles for
    CLT members is to appoint a direct service represen-
    tative from their agency to serve on their School Level
    Team (SLT). As such, administrative-level buy-in is
    vital to success of CIRCLES.

    2.1.2. School Level Team
    The School Level Team (SLT) is what makes

    CIRCLES different than other models that uti-
    lize interagency transition teams; while interagency
    community-level transition teams exist, the SLT,
    brings adult agency representatives together to meet
    directly with students and their families. The SLT
    is comprised of direct service providers (e.g., case
    managers, counselors, care coordinators, etc.) from
    each agency represented on the CLT; these are adult
    service professionals special educators might tradi-
    tionally invite to attend IEPs for students in need in
    the more traditional model. These are also represen-
    tatives who, because of the size of their catchment
    area, are often unable to attend IEP meetings of every
    student in need. Instead of inviting these representa-
    tives to attend every IEP meeting, district-level school
    staff responsible for convening CIRCLES meetings
    invite them to attend one full-day meeting a month
    during the school year, in which they see multi-
    ple students and address post-school goals in areas
    of transition, specifically, postsecondary education,
    employment, and independent living. Rather than
    spending time calling agency members to invite them
    to IEP meetings, in the CIRCLES model, special edu-
    cators prepare their students individually to present
    information about themselves, including their post-
    secondary goals and needs to SLT members. Students
    use technology (e.g., PowerPoint, Voki, Wobook,
    GoAnimate) to describe their strengths, areas of need,
    and post-school goals. Student presentations typi-
    cally take three to eight minutes. For the remaining

    T.C. Povenmire-Kirk et al. / Building an interagency network for transition planning 49

    time allotted (20 – 40 minutes per student), members
    of the SLT talk with the student, his or her family,
    special educators, and one another to determine how
    best to deliver transition services to each student. In
    addition to giving each student, parent, and special
    educators a personal contact to associate with each
    agency, the SLT format also allows time for appoint-
    ments to be made and questions to be answered by
    agency members. Families can discuss any needs they
    may have as a unit (e.g., poverty, homelessness, trans-
    portation, food insecurity, guardianship assistance,
    etc.). Agencies negotiate with one another and the
    student and family to create the most comprehensive
    plan to meet each student’s specific needs. After each
    student is seen, agency members prepare to hear the
    next student presentation during a 5–10 minute break,
    and then start the process over for each new student.
    SLTs typically see between six and 10 students per
    meeting day. To ensure follow-through of the service
    plans developed at these meetings, and because the
    SLT’s main purpose is to develop transition activ-
    ities and services for the student with a disability,
    the minutes of each SLT meeting are distributed to
    every member of the SLT, the IEP team via the spe-
    cial education teacher, the student, and his or her
    parents.

    2.1.3. IEP team
    The IEP team is the final level in the CIRCLES

    multi-level approach. After the SLT meeting, spe-
    cial education teachers take the minutes and decisions
    made at the SLT meeting back to their IEP meeting
    and write transition components based on the ser-
    vices agreed upon at the SLT. This process enables
    the IEP team to write other components of the IEP
    with end goals of each student in mind and plan
    for transition activities and supports that exist and
    are available to each student. Because the district-
    level school staff are responsible for convening both
    CLT and SLT meetings, time special education teach-
    ers typically spend inviting folks to IEP meetings
    is freed up for preparing students for SLT and IEP
    meetings. Student assessments and interviews that go
    into developing their presentations to the SLT are all
    part of what should be standard operating procedures
    for preparing for transition components of any IEP
    meeting. The only activity that may not be part of
    standard procedures is the training of the technol-
    ogy tools to help students present. However, many
    districts require students to present a portfolio their
    senior year, and use the students’ SLT presentations
    as both a practice activity and a starting point for

    this larger portfolio presentation. In some schools,
    teachers used technology their students utilize as part
    of CIRCLES as “technology instruction” needed to
    meet criteria associated with graduation. Figure 1
    illustrates the relationships of these teams to one
    another, the student, and the community.

    2.2. Focus groups

    2.2.1. Setting
    We conducted focus groups at regular meetings

    of CLT and SLT team members for agency person-
    nel, and at high schools for parents, students, and
    teachers. Although we offered focus groups to each
    district, six of the 12 districts participated in all four
    focus groups, giving us a total of 24 focus groups
    (i.e., 4 = agency personnel, 4 = parents, 4 = students,
    4 = teachers). The six districts that participated in
    focus groups represented a range of demographics at
    district and school level. One district was classified as
    urban, two as suburban, and three as rural. Of the six
    schools which participated in focus groups within the
    districts, three schools had enrollment greater than
    1000 students and five schools had more than 50%
    free/reduced price lunch. Finally, during the grant,
    two schools had school staff turnover, but there was
    no agency staff turnover. District reasons for not par-
    ticipating in focus groups included scheduling issues
    and District Level Team leadership changes.

    2.2.2. Participants
    Each of the six districts held four focus groups

    that included a total of 175 participants. Focus groups
    varied from 3 to 18 participants. Overall, 62 district
    and agency personnel, 40 teachers, 31 parents, and
    42 students participated. We did not collect individ-
    ual demographic information at these focus groups
    as the unit of interest was the district’s experience of
    CIRCLES, not the individual.

    2.2.3. Instruments
    We used IRB approved focus group questions

    developed to maximize the use of focus groups versus
    individual interviews (Morgan, 1996). We devel-
    oped open ended, but guiding questions, designed to
    maximize conversation between the members of the
    various groups. Instruments used for each group are
    available from the first author.

    2.2.4. Data collection
    Each separate focus group was facilitated by a

    member of the CIRCLES project staff trained in

    50 T.C. Povenmire-Kirk et al. / Building an interagency network for transition planning

    Fig. 1. CIRCLES.

    probing questions to glean more information in
    response to the questions on our focus group pro-
    tocols. All focus groups were audio-recorded and
    transcribed by a professional transcriptionist.

    2.2.5. Data analysis
    Two members of CIRCLES project staff coded

    transcripts of each focus group separately, begin-
    ning with a general list of themes related to our
    questions, regarding supports, barriers, and needs
    moving forward. During the coding process, they
    used grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1968) and
    allowed themes to emerge from the data, creating
    new codes as these themes emerged. After coding
    each transcript once, each coder returned with the
    new list of themes generated by the data and coded
    a second time. After all coding was complete, the
    coders met to review their codes and generated con-
    sensus. These codes were entered into N-Vivo and
    code reports were developed. Coders then returned to
    the code reports and wrote summaries of our findings,
    again, reaching consensus. Focus group data were
    gathered from participants from six districts for each

    focus group category providing triangulation and
    confidence in trustworthiness and credibility of the
    data.

    2.3. Student, parent, and interagency surveys

    2.3.1. Participants
    Surveys were administered to students and parents

    who participated in CIRCLES and agency members
    who attended the SLT or CLT meetings. There were
    143 students, 72 parents, and 52 interagency members
    who completed the surveys. All participants were
    asked to complete the survey online at the end of the
    school year. All 12 school districts were represented
    in the samples. The return rate was 46% for the stu-
    dent survey, 23% for the parent survey, and 88% for
    interagency survey.

    2.3.2. Instruments
    Three surveys were administered to three stake-

    holder groups, students, parents, and participating
    interagency teams. Student and parent surveys were
    administered at the end of the year after participating

    T.C. Povenmire-Kirk et al. / Building an interagency network for transition planning 51

    Table 1
    Student Perception of Preparedness

    Item Agree

    M %

    1. I am prepared for school (e.g., college, university, training) after high school. 2.58 64
    2. I am prepared for a job after high school. 2.72 78
    3. The school was helpful in preparing me for school (e.g., college, university, training) after high school. 2.87 84
    4. The school was helpful in preparing me for a job after high school. 2.80 82
    5. The school was helpful in preparing me for living in the community after high school. 2.70 66
    6. I know what agencies/adult service providers will help me after high school (vocational rehab, social security,

    department of social services, etc.).
    2.62 70

    7. I have been involved in preparing myself for school (college/university) after high school. 2.64 74
    8. I have been involved in preparing myself for a job after high school. 2.78 83
    9. I have been involved in preparing myself for living in the community after high school. 2.57 71
    10. I have been involved in preparing goals for my future. 2.92 91

    Table 2
    Parent Perception of Student Preparedness

    Item Agree/Strongly
    Agree

    M %

    1. I understand the process of preparing my child for life after high school. 3.54 98%
    2. I have had an active role in the process of preparing my child for life after high school. 3.66 97%
    3. I communicate on a regular basis with school personnel on the process of preparing my child for life after high school. 3.36 92%
    4. I understand my child’s needs and goals. 3.64 100%
    5. The school is doing a good job preparing my child for employment after high school. 3.60 96%
    6. The school is doing a good job preparing my child to live in the community after high school. 3.54 95%
    7. The school is doing a good job preparing my child for education after high school. 3.62 96%

    in CIRCLES and examined the perceptions of the
    students’ preparedness to transition out of high
    school. The survey to interagency teams examined
    the extent of the collaboration across the different
    agencies.

    The student survey had 10 items that asked students
    to rate using a 3-point scale (1 = disagree, 2 = not sure,
    & 3 = agree) their perception of preparedness (see
    Table 1 for the items). Parents responded to seven
    items, using a 4-point scale (1 = Strongly Disagree,
    2 = Disagree, 3 = Agree, & 4 = Strongly Agree), about
    their perception of their child’s preparedness (see
    Table 2). The agency member survey included 27
    items asking respondents to rate (a) the extent their
    transition collaborative team coordinated, imple-
    mented, or collaborated on a series of transition
    activities and (b) rate their organizations collab-
    oration with other organizations (see Table 3 for
    items).

    2.3.3. Data analyses
    Descriptive statistics are used to summarize all

    participants’ responses. Specifically, means and per-
    centages were used to summarize student and parent
    survey results. For the agency members’ survey,

    frequencies and percentages were reported for each
    item.

    3. Results

    3.1. Focus groups

    After analysis, we found themes discussed by focus
    group participants fit into one of three categories (a)
    Successes and Supports, (b) Challenges and Barriers,
    and (c) Needs Moving Forward.

    3.1.1. Successes and supports
    Most agencies agreed that the CIRCLES process

    was successful in several areas, including promoting
    collaborative relationships that allowed community
    agency members and school-level personnel to bet-
    ter understand what each agency can offer students
    and can better point families in the right direction for
    services. The collaborative nature of CIRCLES also
    motived team members, as they were able to hear
    about successes of students and families getting the
    services they need as a result of their efforts – they
    felt that they had made a difference. Some aspects of

    52 T.C. Povenmire-Kirk et al. / Building an interagency network for transition planning

    Table 3
    Interagency Collaboration Ratings

    To what extent does your transition Very Small Somewhat Great Very
    collaborative team: Small Great

    1. Coordinates requests for and dissemination of information (e.g., to parents,
    employers)

    4% 6% 21% 47% 23%

    2. Reduces systematic barriers to collaboration 4% 8% 13% 62% 13%
    3. Implements collaborative funding of transition services 6% 12% 37% 29% 16%
    4. Implements collaborative staffing of transition services 8% 4% 21% 50% 17%
    5. Collaborates in the development and use of assessment data 8% 13% 17% 54% 8%
    6. Coordinates and shares delivery of transition-related services 2% 4% 12% 58% 25%
    7. Disseminates agency and service delivery systems information among

    cooperating agencies
    0% 0% 17% 52% 31%

    8. Reflects collaborative program planning and development, including
    employer involvement

    2% 12% 29% 47% 10%

    9. Reflects collaborative consultation between special, “regular,” and
    vocational educators

    10% 13% 25% 33% 19%

    10. Reflects collaboration between post-secondary education institutions and
    the school district

    4% 4% 19% 45% 28%

    What best describes the extent of your organization’s general collaboration:
    11. Partner organizations take your organization’s opinions seriously when

    decisions are made about the collaboration.
    0% 0% 6% 58% 36%

    12. Your organization brainstorms with partner organizations to develop
    solutions to mission-related problems facing the collaboration.

    0% 0% 9% 62% 28%

    13. You, as a representative of your organization in the collaboration,
    understand your organization’s roles and responsibilities as a member of
    the collaboration.

    0% 0% 36% 51% 43%

    14. Partner organization meetings accomplish what is necessary for the
    collaboration to function well.

    0% 2% 15% 53% 30%

    15. Partner organizations (including your organization) agree about the goals
    of the collaboration.

    0% 2% 11% 45% 42%

    16. Your organization’s tasks in the collaboration are well coordinated with
    those of partner organizations.

    8% 4% 19% 46% 23%

    17. The collaboration hinders your organization from meeting its own
    organizational mission.

    68% 17% 2% 9% 4%

    18. Your organization’s independence is affected by having to work with
    partner organizations on activities related to the collaboration.

    64% 17% 8% 9% 2%

    19. You, as the representative of your organization, feel pulled between trying
    to meet both your organization’s and the collaboration’s expectations.

    55% 17% 9% 11% 8%

    20. Partner organizations (including your organization) have combined and
    used each other’s resources so all partners benefit from collaborating.

    0% 4% 28% 42% 26%

    21. Your organization shares information with partner organizations that will
    strengthen their operations and programs.

    0% 0% 11% 57% 32%

    22. You feel what your organization brings to the collaboration is appreciated
    and respected by partner organizations.

    0% 0% 9% 45% 45%

    23. Your organization achieves its own goals better working with partner
    organizations than working alone.

    0% 0% 10% 38% 52%

    24. Partner organizations (including your organization) work through
    differences to arrive at win-win solutions.

    0% 0% 8% 55% 38%

    25. The people who represent partner organizations in the collaboration are
    trustworthy.

    0% 0% 2% 40% 58%

    26. My organization can count on each partner organization to meets its
    obligations to the collaboration.

    0% 0% 15% 49% 36%

    27. Your organization feels it worthwhile to stay and work with partner
    organizations rather than leave the collaboration.

    0% 0% 4% 32% 64%

    CIRCLES seemed to be critical for success, including
    clearly assigning responsibilities for follow-up and
    providing reminders to each person involved, provid-
    ing complete student profile sheets to agencies ahead
    of time, and having teachers present in meetings to
    help guide and support students as they presented.

    Collaborative relationships. Meeting with other com-
    munity agencies allowed all team members to better
    understand what each one can offer students and
    can better point families in the right direction for
    services. Collaboration also has improved commu-
    nication between the different agencies.

    T.C. Povenmire-Kirk et al. / Building an interagency network for transition planning 53

    “Through collaboration in CIRCLES meetings,
    I learned what other agencies are out there and
    what they do; it’s incredibly beneficial.” – Agency
    Member

    “ . . . I’ve learned from everybody around the
    table and I’m able to help families better, point
    them in directions.” – Special Education Teacher

    “I like getting out with and networking with other
    team members and seeing what these kids are
    doing.” – Agency Member

    When team members heard success stories,
    “ . . . You feel like you’re making a difference.” –
    Agency Member

    The collaborative nature of CIRCLES meetings
    was something enjoyed by agency members, teach-
    ers, and families, alike.

    “I really enjoyed having the teacher in there while
    the student was presenting. It seems to make the
    student a lot more comfortable.” – Parent

    Developing systems for follow-up. One team member
    at the SLT meetings wrote down what each student,
    agency, and teacher had agreed to do and gave each
    party a copy. Email reminders also helped for one
    district.
    Provide adequate student information in SLT. Giv-
    ing the agencies student profile sheets ahead of time
    was crucial for agencies to best know what would
    be a good fit for each student, and to have some
    background on the students.

    “It’s just helpful to have a little background [from
    the teacher] before we’re in front of the students.”
    – Agency Member

    “And the student profile sheets, having those
    ahead of time helped you, as well, know the
    student’s capabilities because some present dif-
    ferently than their ability indicates or their IQ
    indicates.” – Agency Member

    3.1.2. Challenges and barriers
    Despite the successes reported throughout the

    CIRCLES process, team members perceived several
    challenges and barriers that may need to be addressed
    to produce optimal student outcomes. Primarily, these
    challenges and barriers can be described in three
    areas: understanding the process, getting everyone to
    the table, and follow-up.
    Understanding the process. During initial training,
    some confusion occurred because team members

    were not sure about many of the details of the process.
    It sometimes was difficult for the transition team to
    decide how to prioritize students, whether based on
    age or need.

    “So the training, you can sit in and you can listen
    to what all it entails but you’re really not going to
    understand it very well until you actually come
    and sit down with the students and hear their
    presentations.” – Transition Educator

    “I think the training was not as clear because I
    didn’t totally understand the difference between
    the community level and the school level.” –
    Agency Member

    “So if I’m a mom walking in with my child I kind
    of want to know what I’m walking into, and I’ve
    seen looks of surprise . . . It’s a little bit intimi-
    dating. I think the comfort level would be better
    if they knew what to expect.” – Special Education
    Teacher

    Getting everyone to the table. When implementing
    the CIRCLES process, it was sometimes challenging
    to get parents and agencies to the SLT and CLT meet-
    ings due to scheduling, agencies not responding to
    meeting invitations, and parents feeling intimidated
    to meet with a room full of professionals. Parental
    participation in IEP meetings and other school-based
    meetings has been documented to lag as students
    get older; CIRCLES meetings are no exception. It
    was challenging to get families to attend SLT meet-
    ings, possibly because the situation is intimidating
    for them, and often available meeting places were
    not conducive to setting up an inclusive environment
    (e.g., one big table).

    “One of the hardest things to do when you set
    up these meetings each month is to get participa-
    tion from family members.” – Special Education
    Teacher

    Getting everyone together at one time is chal-
    lenging due to agencies not responding and also
    remembering to invite the right people.

    “I guess the other part would be able to get
    everybody together at one time, is always the
    challenge.” – District Transition Specialist

    Follow-up: Several factors also seemed to affect
    follow-up on contacts after SLT meetings, includ-
    ing a lack of clearly defined responsibility allocation
    between parents and agencies, as well as privacy
    concerns that prevented agencies from initiating the

    54 T.C. Povenmire-Kirk et al. / Building an interagency network for transition planning

    follow-up contact with parents. When agencies pro-
    vided contact information and waited for families to
    follow up, often families did not contact agencies
    to follow through on plans made at the SLT. Who
    is responsible for follow-up was not clearly defined
    during the meetings. The information parents receive
    also can be overwhelming, so it was difficult for them
    to know where to start.

    Furthermore, the outcomes from SLT meetings did
    not always get transferred to the IEP’s transition plan.

    “We give them our information and our business
    cards and are kind of waiting for them to get in
    contact with us, so I think that contact piece is
    really the most difficult part.”- Agency Member

    3.1.3. Needs moving forward
    Several suggestions for meeting needs going for-

    ward emerged that may help guide school districts in
    implementing CIRCLES with optimal student out-
    comes. These included establish responsibility for
    follow-up, increase parental awareness and partic-
    ipation, improve agency participation with careful
    planning by individual student needs, ongoing train-
    ing for teachers, and report successes and actions of
    SLT back to CLT.
    Responsibility for follow-up. First, it is critical to
    clearly define who is responsible for making contact
    for follow up, parents or agencies, and to obtain any
    necessary parent permissions for agency follow-up.

    “It’s sort of your pat on the back and your motiva-
    tion when you hear that oh, they really did follow
    through with that and they really are already con-
    nected with VR.” – Special Education Teacher

    Increase parental awareness. Second, parental
    awareness and understanding of the CIRCLES pro-
    cess should be promoted, possibly through brochures
    given during IEP transition discussions, parent train-
    ings and/or discussions about the process, formal
    parent invitations to SLT meetings, and posting
    resources on the school website. Provide parents with
    information/brochures ahead of time, and provide
    parents with some type of training to help them under-
    stand the CIRCLES process. Also, increase parent
    familiarity with CIRCLES by mentioning it or dis-
    cussing it to some extent at every parent meeting,
    and emphasize CIRCLES during the IEP meeting
    when discussing transition. Send formal invitations
    to parents about their child’s SLT meeting. Schools
    could add a prominent link with CIRCLES resources
    to their websites.

    “If you meet with your freshman parents that
    would be a good time to start talking with them.”
    – Transition Specialist

    “Possibly with training and them understanding
    the benefit for their child would result in more of
    them participating.” – Special Education Director

    Improve agency involvement with careful planning.
    Third, consider improving agency involvement by
    identifying ahead of time those agencies that might
    most support a particular student, and provide agen-
    cies with student profiles prior to the SLT meetings
    so the agencies can better prepare to meet their
    needs.

    “It creates buy in and yeah I would think that
    it would create more participation.” – Agency
    Member

    Ongoing training for teachers. Fourth, training
    should be ongoing as new teachers and agencies join
    the CIRCLES process. Continue training new teach-
    ers about CIRCLES, providing an overall perspective
    of the program and each team level’s responsibil-
    ity, and how to best prepare students for the SLT
    meeting. Additionally, if teachers knew at the begin-
    ning of the year all the dates for the meetings, they
    could plan accordingly with their students. Set meet-
    ing dates ahead of time, and provide reminders and
    follow-up contact to agency members who miss a
    meeting.
    Report successes and actions of SLT to CLT. Finally,
    a reliable system should be developed to report back
    to the CLT team any decisions made at the SLT to
    maintain motivation and effective decision-making at
    the CLT level. These could include presenting a brief
    stakeholder evaluation or survey of the SLT process,
    SLT meeting notes, or even invite a student to present
    at the CLT on occasion.

    “It would be motivating for the CLT members to
    hear success stories of students who connected
    with agencies and continued this relationship
    after the SLT. A brief evaluation of the SLT pro-
    cess could be taken back to the CLT meeting, as
    well as parent input and notes from the SLT meet-
    ing. Perhaps a student could present at the CLT
    meeting on occasion.” – Agency Director (CLT
    member)

    T.C. Povenmire-Kirk et al. / Building an interagency network for transition planning 55

    3.2. Student, parent, and interagency surveys
    results

    3.2.1. Student perception of preparedness
    The items, means, and percentage of students who

    agreed with each item (1 = disagree; 2 = not sure;
    3 = agree) are reported in Table 1. All means were
    above 2.5, and the percentages of students who agreed
    ranged from 64% (I am prepared for school (e.g., col-
    lege, university, training) after high school to 91% (I
    have been involved in preparing goals for my future).

    3.2.2. Parent perception of child’s preparedness
    Table 2 displays the means and percentage

    of parents who agreed or strongly agreed with
    the items (1 = Strongly Disagree; 2 = Disagree,
    3 = Agree; 4 = Strongly Agree). All means were at or
    above 3.36, with most parents agreeing or strongly
    agreeing with statements, ranging from 92% (I com-
    municate on a regular basis with school personnel on
    the process of preparing my child for life after high
    school) to 100% (I understand my child’s needs and
    goals).

    3.2.3. Interagency collaboration survey
    The frequencies and percentage for all survey items

    can be found in Table 3. At least 50% of respondents
    rated items great or very great for all items expect
    item 3 (Implements collaborative funding of transi-
    tion services). The highest rated items (i.e., greater
    than 90% rated great or very great) suggested respon-
    dents collaborated, developed solutions, understood
    their roles and responsibilities, felt trustworthy, and
    felt worthwhile in working with partner agencies (i.e.,
    items 11, 12, 13, 22, 24, and 27).

    4. Discussion

    While previous research (Flowers et al., 2018)
    has demonstrated the positive impact of CIRCLES
    on student self-determination and IEP participation,
    findings from the current study indicate high lev-
    els of stakeholder satisfaction with CIRCLES. For
    example, both students and parents felt they had
    been actively involved in the transition planning pro-
    cess and that students were prepared for post-school
    life. In addition, stakeholders indicated high levels
    of interagency collaboration as a result of CIRCLES.
    These findings extend the literature on interagency
    collaboration in a number of ways. First, this study
    appears to be one of the first to collect perceptions

    of students and parents on their satisfaction with the
    interagency collaboration provided. Second, the cur-
    rent findings support previous research (Noonan et
    al., 2014; Noonan et al., 2013; Taylor et al., 2016)
    indicating agency satisfaction with specific intera-
    gency collaboration strategies.

    Other key findings from the study included strate-
    gies for overcoming the barriers to interagency
    collaboration noted in previous research (Meadows et
    al., 2014; Reisen et al., 2014) including implementing
    procedures for follow-up after SLT meetings, pro-
    viding training to parents on what to expect from
    CIRCLES, improving communication with agency
    members, and continuing ongoing training for teach-
    ers. These findings confirm those of Povenmire-Kirk
    et al. (2015) and also extend the knowledge in the
    field. For example, Noonan et al. (2013) named
    establishing follow-up procedures for students and
    providing training of families as two of the 11 key
    strategies for successful interagency collaboration.
    Another key strategy listed was training of teachers
    and staff (Noonan et al., 2013), which may improve
    teachers’ perception of locus of control, leading
    to increased interagency collaboration (Meadows et
    al., 2014). In addition, Noonan et al. (2014) noted
    the importance of communication among agency
    providers leading to higher levels of collaboration
    and cooperation. The respondent groups in this study
    included parents, teachers, and students, in addition
    to the agency and district personnel who participated
    in Povenmire-Kirk et al. (2015). It is encouraging to
    find the same positives and supports identified across
    all four groups, confirming what agency members
    reported in 2015.

    4.1. Limitations

    One limitation of this study, as in many focus group
    analyses, is that there may be undue influence of some
    members of the group that stifle the input of a few. A
    second limitation is that focus groups tend to attract
    people who either really like or really hate a pro-
    gram or entity. Third, because the focus of this study
    was on district-level experiences with CIRCLES, par-
    ticipant demographic were not collected. Together,
    these limitations may have resulted in a sample not
    representative of the whole.

    4.2. Suggestions for future research

    Results of this study indicated need for future
    research in a number of areas. First, future research

    56 T.C. Povenmire-Kirk et al. / Building an interagency network for transition planning

    should collect stakeholder demographic data to
    ensure representativeness. Second, although most
    items on the interagency collaboration ratings (see
    Table 3), were positive, 55% rated collaborative
    funding of transition services as “very small” to
    “somewhat.” As a result, future research is needed
    to investigate ways to braid funding. It is possible the
    pre-employment transition services and memoran-
    dum of understanding required by WIOA (2015) will
    provide an opportunity for this research to emerge.

    Third, future research should consider gathering
    pre-post data on consumer satisfaction and levels of
    collaboration. Without these data, it is difficult to
    claim a causal relationship between an intervention
    and changes in satisfaction and collaboration.

    Fourth, future research in the area of secondary
    transition and interagency collaboration should con-
    sider using social network analysis (SNA; Knoke &
    Yang, 2008). SNA would allow researchers to exam-
    ine changes in the strength of collaboration between
    agencies over time.

    Finally, while findings from the current study
    indicate CIRCLES had a positive impact on local
    community levels of interagency collaboration simi-
    lar to Noonan et al. (2013), future research is needed
    for strategies of both the local and state levels (cf.,
    Noonan et al., 2014).

    4.3. Implications for practice

    Results of this study indicate CIRCLES may
    improve the collaborative transition planning efforts
    of teachers, parents, students, and agency members,
    including vocational rehabilitation counselors. As
    such, they point to several implications for practice.
    First, as previous research has noted, teacher lack
    of knowledge of available post-high school supports
    (Reisen et al., 2014) and lack of information sharing
    and VR involvement in the IEP process (Taylor et al.,
    2016) are often barriers to successful interagency col-
    laboration. It appears these barriers can be overcome
    through the SLT process by having stakeholders learn
    about the support each community agency can pro-
    vide. This increased awareness can be then be shared
    with other teachers and parents to extend the col-
    laboration. Second, agency members, including VR
    counselors should collaborate with other agencies
    to expand their knowledge of what is available and
    what each agency can provide to increase collabo-
    ration. Third, school transition personnel should use
    this model to implement a “CIRCLES-type” tiered
    interagency collaboration program in their district

    by first building a CLT. This can be accomplished
    by connecting with an existing community team or
    establishing a new one. The CLT can also provide
    necessary training for teachers on preparing students.
    With a CLT in place, the SLT can then bring students,
    families, teachers, and agencies together to help stu-
    dents transition seamlessly into their adult life after
    high school.

    5. Conclusion

    When used with fidelity, the CIRCLES model
    can ensure the right people are involved in transi-
    tion planning process of students with disabilities.
    Results of this study indicate CIRCLES may be
    used to overcome many barriers to successful intera-
    gency collaboration identified by previous research.
    With careful planning and training, students, par-
    ents, teachers, and agencies can all work together to
    develop a collaborative plan for transition services
    for each individual student.

    Author note

    This document was produced under U.S. Depart-
    ment of Education, Institute for Education Sciences
    Grant No. R324A110018 awarded to Dr. David W.
    Test and Dr. Claudia Flowers at the University of
    North Carolina at Charlotte. The opinions expressed
    are those of the authors and do not represent views of
    the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

    Conflict of interest

    None to report.

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    CIRCLES:An Implementation Guide

    Tiana Povenmire-Kirk, Ph. D.

    Karen M. Diegelmann, Ph.D.

    David W. Test, Ph.D.

    Claudia Flowers, Ph.D.

    Nellie Aspel, Ph.D.

    Jane M. Everson, Ph. D.

    Disclaimer: This document was produced under U.S. Department of Education, Institute for Education Sciences Grant No. R324A110018 awarded do Dr. David W. Test and Dr. Claudia Flowers at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

    Table of Contents

    A Note from the Authors………………………………………………………………..

    3

    Why CIRCLES? …………………………………………………………………………
    Current Model……………………………………………………………………..

    5
    7

    CIRCLES in a Nutshell………………………………………………………………….
    Community Level Team…………………………………………………………..
    School Level Team………………………………………………………………..
    IEP Team………………………………………………………………………….
    Teams vs. Committees…………………………………………………………….

    7
    8
    8
    9
    10

    CIRCLES In Action……………………………………………………………………..
    District Leadership Team………………………………………………………….
    Community Level Team…………………………………………………………..

    12
    12
    12

    Making CIRCLES Work for You……………………………………………………….
    Convening and Training the Community Level Team……………………………
    Training Your Teachers……………………………………………………………
    Convening and Training the School Level Team…………………………………
    Making the Most of Your Student Level Team……………………………………

    17
    17
    20
    22
    26

    Evaluating CIRCLES-How can you tell it’s working? …………………………………
    Measuring Self-Determination…………………………………………………….
    Measuring IEP Participation..……………………………………………………..
    Measuring Student-Agency Involvement…………………………………………
    Measuring Interagency Collaboration…………………………………………….

    27
    28
    28
    29
    29

    CIRCLES for Diverse Students and Families……………………………………………
    Strengths-Based Approach…………………………………………………………
    Promote Self-Determination………………………………………………………
    Increase Family Involvement………………………………………………………
    Enhance Social Capital and Develop Community Networks of Support…………

    30
    30
    31
    31
    32

    References

    ……………………………………………………………………………….

    34

    Appendices Table of Contents…………………………………………………………..

    37

    A Note from the Authors

    Thank you for your interest in transition planning using the CIRCLES model. We’re glad you’ve chosen to join us. I want to talk to you for a moment about road trips. As we, as a group, climb the steps to our tour bus, many of us, caught up in the excitement of the moment, may realize that our travel bag may be lacking or stuffed with inappropriate items. Others, who are better planners, more organized, or less swept up in the moment may ask, prior to arriving at the bus stop, where we are going. These “planners” will then check the weather for the duration of our stay. Still others joining us on our road trip will want to know things like where we will stop, how often, and what activities we will partake in on our journey. Do we need black tie attire? Will we be hiking? Biking? Swimming? Those of us who were so excited about the road trip that we forgot to think about the destination may realize we packed poorly for a hiking trip to the mountains, that our Prada high heels and DKNY cocktail dress may leave us ill-equipped for that journey. It helps to stop and think, not only about where we want to end up, but about the best ways to get there and the tools we will need along the way.

    Transition is like a road trip; the transition plan is like the GPS map of how to get there. We will have stops along the way, and may change direction or take detours, like a seventy-five-mile trek to see the world’s largest ball of yarn. When you get back on the road, you would be wise to check in and be sure you are still going to the same place. A bad transition plan is as useless as a GPS with outdated maps or one that is mis-calibrated and tells you are in the middle of a field instead of on I-

    10.

    A good transition plan, on the other hand, can make your journey feel like a five-star vacation arranged by a seasoned group of travel agents and managed by a highly skilled personal assistant. The CIRCLES model for transition planning is that travel agent and personal assistant. It ensures that our students know their destination, understand how to pack and what they need for their journey, and where to stop along the way. So hang on, get ready, and join us for this road trip, we’re glad you’re here.

    Why CIRCLES?

    As you know, special education services are intended to provide individualized support to students with disabilities as they work their way through the education system; one way to measure the success of these services is by evaluating post-school outcomes for students with disabilities. Currently, post-school outcomes for youth with disabilities are measured by level of engagement in three areas: (a) postsecondary education or training, (b) employment, and (c) if appropriate independent living (IDEA, 2004). Helping students transition from the special education system to the adult world of work, postsecondary education, and independent living is critical to post-school success for youth with disabilities.

    The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004) requires a written component outlining services and activities for transitioning youth with disabilities from high school to adult life be included in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) no later than the student’s 16th birthday. IDEA 2004 defines transition as a coordinated set of activities that facilitate the child’s movement from high school to adult life and address areas of: training, education, employment, community integration, adult services, and independent living. IDEA 2004 further dictates the transition planning process should be based on the child’s individual strengths and needs, and should include representatives from any agency likely to provide adult services to the student during or after transitioning out of school. But let’s face it, if you’re reading this book, then you know all of that. What you want to know is how to do this well.

    As we discussed in the Note from the Authors, each student’s post-school goals serve as a road map – we need to know where the student is going if we are going to plan how to help them get there. Consequently, post-school goals should be written prior to developing the remainder of the IEP to ensure the high school experience and transition services can support both the educational goals and post-school goals of students with disabilities. IDEA (2004) further states schools “must invite to the IEP meeting a representative of any participating agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services” [34 CFR §300.321(b)(3)]. Inviting agencies to the IEP does not let schools off the hook if an agency fails to provide services agreed upon and included in the IEP. If a given agency fails to provide services promised, the school must “reconvene the IEP meeting and identify alternative strategies to meet the transition objectives” [34 CFR §300.324(c)(1)]. It is clear, then, that IDEA requires adult service provider involvement in planning and providing transition services, and that the school is ultimately responsible for following up and ensuring all services deemed necessary are provided.

    Interagency collaboration is defined here as a process through which the whole is greater than the sum of the parts; agency representatives come together to achieve, collectively, more than they could each achieve working independently. Bruner (1991) defines collaboration as:

    . . . a process to reach goals that cannot be achieved acting singly (or, at a minimum, cannot be reached as efficiently). As a process, collaboration is a means to an end, not an end in itself. The desired end is more comprehensive and appropriate services for families that improve family outcomes. (Bruner 1991, p. 6)

    Interagency collaboration has been identified as an evidence-based predictor of improved education and employment outcomes for students with disabilities (Test, Mazzotti, et al., 2009), and is considered a substantiated transition practice (Landmark, Ju, & Zhang, 2010; Kohler, 1996). However, few models exist that support interagency collaboration. CIRCLES is a model that has experienced success in increasing interagency collaboration, improving student self-determination, and increasing student participation in IEP meetings. For those interested, a brief summary of CIRCLES outcome data is included in Appendix A.

    Current Model (Or What Does Not Work)

    Numerous models to provide transition planning services exist, but most fall short of accomplishing the goal of seamless service provision that truly prepares students for life after high school. Current transition planning practice in many districts involves the special education teacher contacting representatives from each agency, through email or phone calls, that might be responsible for paying for or providing transition services to their students and inviting these representatives to every IEP meeting where their services might be helpful (Povenmire-Kirk, et al., 20

    15

    ). Due to the large caseloads and catchment areas of many such agencies, representatives are seldom able to attend, and if they are, they rarely stay for the entire IEP meeting, which can run 2 – 3 hours and have very little to do with transition planning. In practice, a single direct service provider could be asked to attend hundreds of IEP meetings a year – an expectation that is simply not humanly possible to fulfill. Furthermore, special education teachers are often unaware of all the adult service providers available to support their students (Povenmire-Kirk, et al, 2015).

    CIRCLES in a Nutshell

    The CIRCLES model involves three levels of interagency collaboration including a Community Level Team, a School Level Team, and an IEP Team. These teams work together to address transition planning needs of students with disabilities to improve both their in-school and post-school outcomes (Aspel, Bettis, Quinn, Test, & Wood, 1999; Povenmire-Kirk et al., 2015). The target population for CIRCLES includes students with disabilities who need support from multiple adult service providers to experience successful post-school outcomes. In summary, CIRCLES allows agencies to plan, provide, and facilitate support services directly to students and families who need involvement from multiple adult service providers.

    Community Level Team

    The Community Level Team (CLT) is comprised of administrators and supervisors of local agencies who may be able to provide transition services such as Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Social Services, Health Department, The Arc, Easter Seals, Autism Society, transportation, residential service providers, post-secondary education institutions, recreation providers, and any other local service providers. District level staff (e.g., transition coordinator, compliance specialist, etc.) organize and convene the CLT to address larger issues of access to services within the community. The CLT meets two to four times per year to work on issues at the policy level; they identify gaps and overlaps in services, and work together to change policy and practice to better serve students and adults with disabilities. One key role of CLT members is to appoint a direct service representative from their agency to serve on the School Level Team (SLT), because administrative-level buy-in is vital to success of the process.

    School Level Team

    The School Level Team (SLT) is what makes CIRCLES different than other models that utilize interagency transition teams. Interagency community-level transition teams exist in many communities, but CIRCLES, via the SLT, brings adult agency representatives to meet directly with students and their families. The SLT is comprised of direct service providers (e.g., case managers, counselors, care coordinators, etc.) from each agency represented on the CLT. In other words, those professionals whom special educators might traditionally invite to attend IEP meetings. Because of the size of their caseload and/or catchment area, these representatives are often unable to attend IEP meetings for every student in need. In the CIRCLES model, district staff responsible for convening CIRCLES meetings invite them to attend one full-day meeting a month during the school year, in which the team sees a student every 30 to 4

    5

    minutes

    , and can see up to 10 students a day. Students create three to eight minute presentations using technology (e.g., PowerPoint,

    Voki

    ,

    Wobook

    ,

    GoAnimate

    ) to describe their strengths, areas of need, and post-school goals. For the remaining time allotted (20 –

    40 minutes

    per student), members of the SLT talk with the student, his or her family, special educators, and one another to determine the best way to deliver transition services to each student based on their strengths, needs, and goals. In addition to giving the student, parent, and special educators a personal contact to associate with each agency, the SLT format also allows time for appointments to be made and questions to be answered by agency members. In addition, families can discuss any needs they may have as a whole (e.g., poverty, homelessness, transportation, food insecurity, guardianship assistance, etc.). Agencies work with one another and the student and family to create the most comprehensive plan to meet each student’s specific needs. After each student is seen, agency members prepare to hear the next student presentation during a 5-10 minute break, and then start the process over for each new student. SLTs typically see between six and 10 students per meeting day. To ensure follow-through of the service plans developed at these meetings, and because the SLT’s main purpose is to develop transition activities and services for the student with a disability, the minutes of each SLT meeting are distributed to every member of the SLT, the IEP team via the special education teacher, the student, and his or her parents.

    IEP Team

    The IEP team is the final level in the CIRCLES multi-level approach. After the SLT meeting, special education teachers take the minutes of the SLT meeting and any decisions made back to the IEP meeting and write the transition component based on the services agreed upon at the SLT. This process enables the IEP team to write the other components of the IEP with the end goals of the student in mind. Because the district-level school staff are responsible for convening the CLT and SLT meetings, the time special education teachers typically spend inviting folks to IEP meetings is freed up for preparing students for SLT and IEP meetings. Student assessments and interviews that go into developing their presentations to the SLT are all part of what should be standard operating procedures for preparing for the transition component of any IEP meeting. The only activity that may not be part of standard procedures is the training of the technology tools to help students present. However, many districts require students to present a portfolio their senior year, so the students’ SLT presentations can be used as both a practice activity and a starting point for this larger portfolio presentation. In some schools, teachers use technology their students utilize as part of CIRCLES as “technology instruction” needed to meet criteria associated with graduation. School and district personnel implement CIRCLES within their schools, choosing which students will participate in the process. The demographics of the students brought to CIRCLES represent students with the greatest need for multiple agency involvement. Appendix B illustrates the relationships of these teams to one another, the student, and the community.

    A Word About Teams vs. Committees

    You will notice that we use the term “Team” to describe each level of collaboration; this language choice is not made lightly. Research on interagency collaboration and teaming is clear, people are more productive when they work toward a common goal, and, consequently, the term Team is an important word to use. It expresses, very simply, the goals of the group. Work groups can be called lots of things and they tend to function a lot like what they’re named. So, if you call a work group a “committee,” they will discuss things from multiple perspectives and with different agendas in mind. Often, items will lay on the table experiencing a death by committee. Some committees work well, and many of you may have been involved in one that has been successful, but replicating that type of group genius is challenging, at best. However, when we call a work group a Team, members tend to have an expectation that this is a team that will fight and win together for their shared goals. They think about their favorite professional sports teams or the United States Olympic teams, and they realize that, although individuals may experience greatness as part of the process, what matters at the end of the day is how the entire team did, how they worked together, how they were able to prioritize their common goals and envision the common setbacks they faced in their endeavor. Because the members of each Team in CIRCLES are often employed by different entities and, by nature, may have different agendas for their entities with regards to people with disabilities, we purposefully use the term Team to describe what happens at the community level and the school level. Language is important, it sets up expectations, but word choice, alone, is not enough. So, as we use the term Team, we also talk about why we call ourselves a Team and not a committee or a workgroup, and we develop together, as a team, a statement of values, mission, and vision (Everson & Guillory, 2002). We recommend that these statements be developed as part of the first meeting of each level of Team, and that they reflect the work of everyone on the Team. Further, we suggest that these statements be printed, either on a poster board or plaque, or at the beginning of the agenda for every meeting of this Team, to remind members of the shared goals and to offer a litmus test of sorts in the case of disagreements. Members in conflict can refer themselves and their Teammates to the Values, Mission, and Vision statements and ask if the matter at hand is in keeping with these statements. The values, mission and vision statements are projected or hung up or printed out or put on the top of the agenda for every meeting that comes next. Once agreed upon, they become the governing rules, so if we are off-task or off-topic we can point to those values, mission and vision statements and ask ourselves, “are we in keeping with what we’re here to do?” A interagency Teaming Guide can be found in Appendix F or visit

    http://circles.uncc.edu/sites/circles.uncc.edu/files/media/Interagency-Teaming-Guide

    CIRCLES in Action

    The District Leadership Team

    We have found CIRCLES works best when there is a Leadership Team within the district. Several of our more successful districts at the beginning faced struggles when a life-changing event occurred to the one person in the district who had the leadership reigns. We have found that teams of two to three people can shoulder the entire load of the management work related to CIRCLES together, and keep it going in the event that one of them has to step out for a while. That said, the CIRCLES District Leadership Team (DLT) does most of the work related to convening and scheduling the CLT and SLT meetings for CIRCLES. We will explain this work in more detail in the sections that follow.

    Community Level Team (CLT)

    In order to ensure the longevity of CIRCLES, administrator buy-in is a must. This can be accomplished several different ways. In some of our CIRCLES districts, we recruited principals first, and then transition specialists, and finally, teachers. Other districts had teachers who heard about CIRCLES who contacted us, and who sold it up the chain of command until their principals had bought in. Whether you are an administrator in a school district, a teacher, transition specialist, paraprofessional, or an adult service provider, there is a place to start and a way to proceed to plant CIRCLES in your district and make it grow. The one thing that will always remain constant is this: you need administrator support as much as you need teacher buy in to accomplish CIRCLES. Each school district has its own culture and its own unwritten rules. No matter where you start, bring your system and building administrators in on the conversations early. Some administrators are hands-off, they let you pretty much run your own show, unless it requires a huge budget item. Others want to be more involved, they want updates, they attend CIRCLES team meetings, etc. The bottom line is that there is no wrong way to start CIRCLES, as long as everyone involved knows what is going on.

    Luckily, CIRCLES has a built-in Team level for administrators to be involved – the Community Level Team (CLT). As we described above, the CLT is comprised of administrator level members of adult service provider agencies and school district personnel. For many of our districts, the principal sat on this Team, other districts included the special education director. One small, rural district’s CLT was convened and run by the district superintendent.

    When starting the CLT, the first step is identifying potential members. Here is where we ask you to imagine you have a magic wand. Now, mind you, it’s not very magic, just a little bit magic. It’s magic enough that if you wave it, everyone who you could ever hope to have provide services to your students will show up to a meeting. So, who will you invite with your magic wand? We ask you to think first of agencies and entities, then think more specifically within those agencies in terms of who should serve on which team level. Typically, the CLT is comprised of administrators and the SLT is comprised of direct service providers, but this varies widely across districts. Smaller, more rural districts may have individuals who wear many hats, and there may be overlap between the members of the CLT and the members of the SLT. In larger, more urban districts, the members of the CLT may be many pay grades removed from direct service provision. The thing about CIRCLES is that it will work within whatever structure, size, and culture your district already has in place.

    Just as administrator buy-in is important for CIRCLES to be successful in the schools, agency administrator buy-in is important for CIRCLES to be successful outside of school. Instead of sending direct service providers back to their respective agencies and asking them to describe and define CIRCLES to their supervisors, we bring the administrator to the CLT meeting. Although administrator buy-in is a critical step in forming CIRCLES within your schools, it is not the only purpose of the CLT. The CLT, by nature of its membership, is a powerful force for braiding together of resources, identifying gaps and overlap, and streamlining the processes available in a given district for transitioning to better outcomes for people with disabilities. CIRCLES allows us, through the CLT, to train to our needs, reach who we can, and close the gap. Below, we discuss three examples of group genius at the level of the CLT in CIRCLES.

    Train what we need. As you will see in our sample agendas below, we ask the CLT as early as the second meeting to identify barriers to providing services to this population. One of our districts, “Small-town County Schools,” identified that, within their district, there were no training programs for the jobs that were widely available to people with disabilities, and that the training programs within their district were for jobs that were available outside of the district. This was a small, rural town that relied heavily on tourism in the outdoors arena. The CLT identified the jobs available as falling into one of five categories: office support, custodial or hospitality work, landscape work, child care, and kitchen work. The agencies represented on the CLT included the local community college, who partnered with other CLT members to develop and implement the CIRCLES courses at the community college. These courses were approved paths to certification for the areas identified above. Within less than a year of implementing CIRCLES, the community college opened the first three pathways as fields of study, not only to students who went through CIRCLES, but to members of the community, as well. By the end of the second year, they opened the other two certification pathways. They had 21 graduates their first year, each working in the county by graduation.

    Reach who we can’t. Another district, Middle Suburban Schools, met as a CLT and identified that one of the biggest barriers facing their ability to serve youth with disabilities was that of waiting lists for services. Many services in this district are available, but have three to five year waiting lists. One of the challenges is getting parents to sign up early for services that their children don’t currently need or qualify for, but that have significant waiting lists. Adding to this challenge was the fact that many parents of children with significant disabilities are unaware of what is available within the district. To address this need, the CLT discovered that the first and often only place where parents get information about services available to their children is through their primary care providers. The CLT sprang into action and, within the first full school-year of implementation, had developed two different outreach documents. The first document was geared toward primary care physicians. It spoke to their crucial role in spreading awareness of services and gave them a list of five bullet point activities they could do in a five-minute appointment with parents of children with disabilities to help spread the word and connect families in need to resources available. The second document was a color-coded resource guide that would fit into a pocket or wallet that primary care providers (PCPs) could hand out to parents of children with disabilities and review or highlight those resources most pertinent to the situation. These two tangible steps of outreach helped not only to ensure that parents of kids with disabilities get the information they need early on, but also opened up space for relationships between the agencies on the CIRCLES CLT and SLT and the primary care clinics in the area. Those connections continued to improve, allowing PCPs to refer patients to where they already have a contact and to follow up more collaboratively.

    Close the gap. “Large Rural County Schools” experienced one of the most wide-reaching positive changes due to its CLT. Every CLT meeting would review highlights and challenges from the quarter’s SLT meetings. This understanding of the direct student-level impact was very important to the CLT members, it let them know how CIRCLES was working, not based on numbers and percentages, but based on individual impact. They learned something that was as surprising to them as it was to the teachers. In their state, there were multiple high school completion pathways including NC high school diploma earned through occupational course of study and a certificate of completion, NOT a diploma. The department of education in the state was adamant that the first two were equal diplomas. Future ready required math and science credits necessary to attend college and start at 100-level courses. Occupational course contained over 300 hours of actual work experience, preparing students for lives of employment. In Large Rural County Schools, transition component had included goals for the local community college programs, especially in beautician and mechanic programs. However, at the SLT meetings, teachers were learning that the certificate-granting, credit-bearing programs were not available at many local community colleges for graduates with a high school diploma earned through occupational course of study. Through CIRCLES CLT meetings in this district, they learned all community colleges in the state must accept the high school diploma earned through occupational course of study into their programs. Students must pass a test to place into different levels of math, reading, and writing classes, and they may enroll in a remedial class to bring them up to the level they need, but they have the ability, at every community college in the state now, to enroll in certificate-granting, credit-bearing courses.

    This type of group genius doesn’t just happen, it only works when everyone is working as a Team. Some groups just come together and gel well; others really struggle. Regardless of the level of natural synergy of your group, all CLT members benefit from proper CIRCLES training.

    Making CIRCLES Work for You

    At this point, you may be thinking “CIRCLES sounds great! But…how do I make it happen?” Funny you should ask, because we will now begin taking you through the step-by-step process for making CIRCLES a reality in your district. Hang in there, start with DLT, take it slow, and don’t be afraid to go step back to move forwards.

    Convening and Training the Community Level Team

    Step one. As we mentioned in the segment on Team versus committee, using the word Team is important, but doesn’t ensure your group will function like a team. You need to set down some ground rules. Before you do that, you must invite people to join your team, and before you do that, you have to generate a list of possible teammates. Do not do this alone – get some help from your friends. Consider again, the magic wand question – who would you want to have at a transition planning meeting for your students, if you could have anyone there? The local vocational rehabilitation agency usually comes to mind, but what about the YMCA, or transportation? Do you have any students who need support from pregnancy and parenting organizations? Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)? Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ)? The alphabet soup doesn’t end. Write your own list, have your colleagues do the same, then sit down together and compare, generate as comprehensive a list as possible. Grab your magic wand and invite everyone on your list! It is often helpful to have whomever is on your DLT who has the highest rank send out the invitations. See Appendix C for a sample letter of invitation for agencies. Set the time and date for your meeting, give it a two-hour window. Schedule the room, and send out reminder emails one week, three days, and one day before.

    Step two. Holding your first CLT can be both exciting and anxiety producing. Did you forget something? Probably. Will it be a success anyway? Most likely. Will you learn things to make it better next time? Definitely. One crucial game-day decision is to ensure that the front desk staff, wherever you hold your meeting, know about the meeting, what it may be called, and where to send agency representatives. As you convene your meeting, let everyone introduce themselves and do an ice-breaker exercise. Then give a brief overview of how CIRCLES works, what it is, who participates, and what you expect from the CLT members. Appendix C contains Sample Agendas for CLT meetings 1-

    4.

    Talk a bit about Teams. Ask team members share good teaming experiences they have had and what made them successful. Another idea is to use a flip chart and have team members “free call” words that describe a successful team as you write them on the paper. Then do the same “free call” exercise describing unsuccessful teams. This can prompt some great conversations. If you are not comfortable talking about it, read aloud the paragraphs from this handbook about Teams versus committees.

    Steps for CLT

    1.

    Prepare for CLT meeting

    a. Invite agency representatives to CLT meetings

    b. Secure location and test technology

    2.

    Hold first CLT meeting

    a.

    Introductions

    b. Ice breaker

    c. CIRCLES overview

    3.

    Identify Values, Mission, and Vision Statements

    4. Nominate direct service provider to attend SLT

    5.

    Schedule meeting for first year

    6.

    Communication

    a. Email minutes to all who attended

    b. Email updates (e.g., future training for SLT)

    c. Reminders for next meetings

    Step three. It’s time to write the values, mission, and vision statements. If you are comfortable with it, you may choose to use your district’s values, mission, and vision statements as a template or starting point. If not, you may ask CLT members for feedback. One thing we’ve found helps with this is printed agendas with items and time allotted. Using a printed agenda lets the Team know what they must complete during this time and how much to consider or discuss each item. If you set aside, say,

    20 minutes

    for the values, mission, vision statements, you can move forward to the next item after five or six minutes. It may seem like you will never get done with everyone’s feedback, but we want to remind you that people who work in the human services areas usually want to help others, and are more alike than you may think. We’ve never had a CLT that couldn’t complete this task in under

    30 minutes

    .

    Step four. Ask each administrative-level member of the CLT to nominate and provide contact information for a direct service provider at their organization that should be invited to serve on the School Level Team. See Appendix C for a draft of the CLT to SLT nomination sheet. Also, ask them who else should be present at the CLT meeting, and use current contacts to contact additional personnel who should attend.

    Step five. Schedule your meetings for the rest of the school year. The first year, we recommend 3-4, and recommend at least two in all subsequent years. At this time, you can leave 5-

    10 minutes

    for conversations about potential agenda items for next meeting. You should let the team know you want to talk about challenges and barriers and you will want them each to introduce themselves and their agency next time, because, even though you may have known one another for years and served the same clients, you may not know everything every agency offers. If there are other items people want to see discussed, add them to your notes. Thank everyone for their time and dismiss them. Now, this piece is important. After the meeting, send a summary of the minutes of the meeting to everyone who was invited, even those who were not in attendance. This serves several functions: it helps people remember what they did at the CIRCLES meeting, it checks for understanding among those who were there, and it reminds those who were not in attendance that this CIRCLES “meeting thing” happened and decisions were made.

    Step six. Keep the forward momentum going by sending out email minutes from the last meeting you held, within a week of the meeting to remind members of the team what they agreed to and accomplished. Email updates when you have scheduled and convened the training of your SLT members, and held any SLT meetings. Send a reminder out one month, two weeks, one week, three days, and one day prior to the next CLT meeting. If you know the agenda ahead of time, send it out, as well, to the entire email list, even those who were not in attendance.

    Training Your Teachers

    As mentioned above, we have seen CIRCLES succeed through top-down and bottom-up efforts. At this point, you must consider whether the teachers are in the loop, and we recommend that you ascertain for yourselves the extent of their understanding. Schedule a meeting with the special education teachers at each school involved, plan for 2 hours. Our goal through CIRCLES has always been to under-promise and over-deliver. If people schedule 2 hours and we let them out early, they will be more likely to come for another meeting.

    Step one. Secure a location and all necessary technology. Ensure that your time slot is not competing with other district events (this is often the most complicated part of CIRCLES). Invite teachers to come to your training (regardless of the mandatory nature of the training, send out an invitation). Prepare your handouts and training presentation PowerPoint, along with an Agenda. Appendix E has samples of each of these available to you.

    Step two. Train your teachers. Follow the agenda available in Appendix C, making changes as you see fit. We have had very little push back from teachers, and it usually comes during the explanation of CIRCLES, because they see it as more work. Therefore, it is important to begin training them at this point, once the CIRCLES DLT has already convened the CLT and possibly the SLT meeting, because then they can see that the work left to them is all about the student. Show your teachers the All About Me PowerPoint template available on the CIRCLES website. You have access to many tools including the Student Dream Sheet, the Student Profile Sheet, and the All About Me PowerPoint template (Appendix D). The Web 2.0 Tools instructions can provide teachers with engaging ways to get students talking and thinking about their futures. Our website has many more resources, all free, to help students assess their skills and interests. For the SLT meeting, teachers may use whichever combinations of these tools they choose, along with anything else at their disposal, but they need only bring the student, the All About Me PowerPoint, and Student Profile Sheet to the meeting. The PowerPoint gives students needed support to present themselves to SLT members. The Student Profile Sheet gives teachers and agency members a chance to communicate specifics about the student that the student may not choose to share, such as family issues (e.g. homelessness, parent in prison, abuse, etc.), mental health challenges (e.g. stealing, depression, compulsive lying, sexual acting out, etc.), and qualifying data (e.g. some agencies can only serve specific disability categories or IQ ranges).

    Steps for Training Teachers

    1. Secure location and test technology

    2. Training agenda

    a. Overview of CIRCLES

    b. How to prepare students

    c. Show “All About Me” Presentations

    d. Demonstrate Web 2.0 Tools

    e. Demonstrate Student Profile Sheet

    3. Plan SLT meeting

    a. Consider which students to participate

    b. Set SLT meeting schedule for year

    4. Designate lead teacher for each school

    Step three. Once your teachers have asked all their questions, give them structured time to consider which students they want to send to CIRCLES. Work with them to schedule the SLT dates relative to the school and district calendar. Explain that CIRCLES is not for every single student on the special education caseload, but for more complex students. If you have concerns about your district’s capacity to provide services to all students eligible, begin with the most complex students. We told teachers to consider those with the highest levels of disability, with need for involvement from multiple outside agencies, who are closest to exiting school. Start with those students, and work your way back down the severity scale, the proximity to graduation scale, and the number of agencies needed scale as the year progresses.

    Step Four. Designate a point of contact with each school, a lead teacher with whom you will communicate about upcoming meetings. Often, it is helpful to send out agendas with student names to agency members (in a password protected document and after obtaining parent permission) so that they can find out if the student is already receiving services, or on a waiting list, etc. At times, you may want to invite student-specific agencies (e.g., Down Syndrome agency, foster child representative) as student needs are presented. Communicate with your lead teacher two weeks, one week, and two days prior to the SLT meeting at that site. In addition, and often concurrently, you will need to train the School Level Team Members.

    Convening and Training the School Level Team (SLT)

    Although we have seen several different models used, it has proven most successful to gather members of the School Level Team (SLT) together to train them on CIRCLES prior to holding the first meeting where students attend.

    Step one. Working from the list generated at the CLT meeting, where you asked CLT members to nominate and/or designate an agency representative to serve on the SLT, make initial contact via email. Secure a location and set aside two hours for the first SLT meeting. Invite all agency representatives and request an RSVP to get an idea of how many will attend. Prepare and test your technology (e.g., projector, computer, PowerPoints, internet connection). Be sure to let the front office staff wherever you are holding your meeting know the meeting is going to happen, that it is called CIRCLES, and where to send attendees. We can’t say enough about how much this matters. It is frustrating to show up for a meeting you are not yet sure of at a school or district office and have no one know where it is or who is running it, or even recognize that it is, indeed, a thing happening at that building. Be sure to be clear about where to park, how to enter, etc. Send out a reminder email to everyone, even those who have not yet RSVP’d, two weeks, one week, three days, and one day before the SLT meeting. See Appendix D for Special Educator Tasks to Prepare for School Level Team Meeting, which gives a rundown of the steps the lead teacher at the school will follow for each SLT meeting.

    Steps for SLT

    1. Prepare for training meeting

    a. Invite designated agency representatives

    b. Secure location and test technology

    c. Send email reminders

    2. First SLT Meeting

    a. Introductions

    b.

    Ice Breaker

    c. Review Values, Mission, and Vision Statement

    d.

    CIRCLES Overview

    e. Train SLT members

    f. Discuss schedule for year one

    3. Subsequent SLT meetings

    a. Review student progress

    b. Review Student Profile Sheets

    c. Introductions to each student

    d. Student presentations

    4. Engage with student about available services

    5. Follow-through

    a. Send out meeting minutes

    b. Make appointments with students

    6. Use meeting minutes to plan student IEPs

    Step two. Hold your first SLT meeting. Follow the sample agenda available in Appendix D, making changes as your situation warrants. Begin with introductions and an ice breaker. Present an overview of CIRCLES and the role they will play in the process. Review the

    Values, Mission, Vision

    developed with the CLT, and either agree to adopt it, or agree to change it for the purposes of the SLT. Train the SLT members in what CIRCLES is, and what is expected from them. Let them know the schedule for the SLT meetings for the year (developed with Teacher and District Staff input). Let them know the logistics of each meeting (i.e., how long it will be, whether they will all be at the same location or different locations, whether lunch is on your own or provided, etc.) and answer any questions they have.

    Step three. For each subsequent SLT meeting, allow 15-20 minutes for members to settle in, review the Student Profile Sheets and agenda for each student presenting, and to ask questions. Ensure that you can arrange the chairs or tables in a half circle or full circle and that there is space for the student, family, and teachers to join the SLT members for discussion after student presentations. After the first SLT meeting where you see students, extend this time to 30-4

    5 minutes

    to review follow up from last meeting. Did students, parents, or teachers make contacts that were discussed? If not, what can we do? Once you have settled in, bring on the students! One of the most important things to do, for every student, is to have every single member of the SLT go around an introduce themselves. This goes a long way to put nervous students and families at ease, just knowing the names and agencies represented in the room. Each student will present, and these presentations vary from three to eight minutes in length, using the All About Me PowerPoint template.

    Step four. After the student presents, invite him or her to join the SLT members at the table. At this point, there are several ways to proceed. You can have one SLT member whose agency has something to offer almost everyone (Vocational Rehabilitation, or the local Community College, perhaps?) start things off, and then members can jump in and offer services they can provide. Another alternative is to go around the room and have every member contribute something, even if their agency cannot serve this student. The latter works well for engaging all SLT members, and offering information about resources students and families may not otherwise have access to or knowledge of. One of our SLT meetings had a member from the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and his job, at most meetings, was simply to connect with the student. He might make a remark about a sports team the student supported through their clothing, or comment that this student obviously liked a certain band, judging from their “One Direction” binder. We were lucky to have him, because his conversations put students and families at ease and helped us learn more about them. Even though most of the students we teamed did not have open cases with DJJ, this team member was valuable for his ability to get them talking and to make connections. He would often follow up with resources he was aware of in the community but were not represented at the table on a given day. One of our most successful implementing districts required that every single SLT member develop an action item, even if they, themselves, could not provide services. All of the printed agendas and member produced action items were merged by the DLT and sent out after the SLT to all members, each student, family, and teachers involved. This district experienced the highest levels of follow through and some of the best outcomes across the board.

    Step five. Follow-through is imperative to making CIRCLES a success in your area. This is accomplished in several ways. The biggest impact can be made when everyone is on the same page. Keeping specific notes (see meeting note templates in Appendix C) as to who is supposed to take which action for follow up for which student, and emailing these out to the team is invaluable. We recommend using the model described above, where every SLT member gets a copy of the agenda and each member generates at least one action item per student teamed. The DLT compiles these action items together per student, and then, within a week of the SLT meeting, sends out these minutes and action items to the entire SLT membership, the teachers involved, and, student specific agendas only, to each student, his or her family, and related teachers and case managers. It is also helpful to encourage SLT members, teachers, and family members to bring their calendars to the SLT meeting, which allows appointments to be made at the SLT meeting; this has proven to be the best model.

    Step six. Bringing the plans laid out in the SLT to fruition is the key to success in transition through CIRCLES. Everything discussed in the SLT meeting must be brought back to the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting.

    Making the Most of Your Student Level Team: The IEP

    In addition to all of the goals the IEP team is already tasked with, CIRCLES operates under the assumption that members of the IEP team, mainly the student’s special education teacher and paraprofessionals will be able to help the student prepare for the SLT meeting. However, we have seen numerous models in which mentors who are not part of the usual IEP team work with students to complete and rehearse their SLT presentations. In many instances, a mentor from another area of the student’s life has obviously been working one on one with the student to prepare. The basic information required in the All About Me PowerPoint can be gleaned from anyone who can get the student talking. Although it is helpful for the special education teacher and any paraprofessionals (educational and instructional aids) who work with the student to be part of this process, we have seen technology/computer teachers work closely with CIRCLES students to prepare them for the SLT. Coaches, Junior ROTC officers, and even Scout masters have stood in the back of the room during an SLT, at the invitation of students, mouthing the words to a student’s presentation, and beaming with pride. The take away for us is that anyone who supports the student can fill this role, and then submit a finished draft to the teacher for final edits. The transition specific tasks should already be taking place preparing the student for the transition component of the IEP and can be undertaken by school counselors, graduation specialists, job coaches, special education teachers, paraprofessionals, and even skilled volunteers. The technology component typically fulfills or partially fulfills some requirement for graduation in every district with whom we have worked. It’s not rocket science; if you start with the All About Me PowerPoint (Appendix D) and you receive blank stares from the student, he or she may need more guidance, skill and interest inventories, or to work through the Student Dream Sheet (Appendix D).

    After the SLT, the IEP Team has another task, and the work completed at the SLT should make the IEP Team’s work easier. As discussed in the Note from the Authors at the beginning of this book, the transition plan should serve as a road map, which means that, before we can write a good IEP for a transition-aged student, we must first have an idea of their destination. In short, the academic and occupational activities our students receive should not be random, or standardized, they should be individualized and guided by the destination set forth in the transition plan. Consequently, when beginning the IEP meeting after the SLT has been held, the post-school outcomes, transition goals, activities and plan should be written first. Only when we know the destination can we write meaningful steps to get there. This is why it is so important to share the minutes of the SLT with the IEP Team leader, so that the agreed-upon goals and activities can be written into the IEP at the start. All academic and occupational/behavioral/social goals written next should support, in some way, the end goal of the transition plan. Although this may sound like a lot of work, it is the result of many hands working toward a common goal, and our experiences have been relatively seamless. CIRCLES, if implemented with fidelity, will result in better transition plans, better IEPs, increased student involvement in IEPs, higher levels of student self-determination, and better collaboration between agencies, including the school district.

    Evaluating CIRCLES – How can you tell it’s working?

    As you begin implementing CIRCLES, you will want to know if it is working to change student’s perspectives (i.e., self-determination), to increase student IEP participation, to increase student-agency interaction, and to build interagency collaboration across your CLT and SLT members. Published measures as well as educator-made questionnaires for evaluating CIRCLES can be found in Appendix G or on the CIRCLES website. To evaluate the fidelity of implementation on a local level and to access its impact, checklists for CLT and SLT can be found in Appendices C and D.

    Measuring Self-Determination

    The American Institute of Research (AIR) Self-Determination Scales measure self-determination from different viewpoints. These Self-Determination Scales are available at no cost, at the time of this printing, and can be found on the University of Oklahoma Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment website

    http://www.ou.edu/content/education/centers-and-partnerships/zarrow/self-determination-assessment-tools.html

    Links to these forms are found in Appendix G, as well. Students’ self-evaluation of self-determination can be measured before and after preparing for the SLT meeting or from year to year using the AIR Self-Determination Scale Student Form. Students with difficulty reading may have the questionnaire read to them or you may use an adapted Student Form with visual supports which was created by a member of the CIRCLES team (Appendix G). Teachers can use the Educator Form to compare student self-perspectives of self-determination with teachers’ perspective of each student. There is also a

    Parent

    Form which gives the parents’ assessment of the student’s level of self-determination. Questions on the different forms cover what the student knows about self-determination, how they feel about it, types of opportunities students have to use self-determination at home and at school, and if the student demonstrates self-determination at home or in school. The AIR consists of statements with five options for response ranging from Never to Always. These forms are easy to score and can be found in Appendix G.

    Measuring IEP Participation

    After the SLT meeting, minutes and agency representatives’ action steps will be sent to the student’s teacher and/or case manager, among others. At that point, the case manager and student develop the transition component of the IEP including transition goals and activities, along with IEP goals, based on the meeting information. Because the student is involved in the transition process and has had an opportunity to present their All About Me presentation at the SLT meeting, participation at the IEP meeting is expected to increase. To measure this, we developed the IEP Participation Measure. This form can be completed at all IEP meetings for students going through CIRCLES as well as those who are not. This measure will provide you with information on how well the student transfers the SLT training to the IEP meeting. You will have a snap shot of which students are participating in IEP meetings and the over-all number for the school. A sample IEP Participation Measure is available in Appendix D. These measures can be completed by the case manager directly after the IEP meeting and kept with the student’ IEP folder to be compared over time or the forms can be collected and recorded on an excel sheet to show level of IEP participation across the school.

    Measuring Student-Agency Involvement

    Another important way to evaluate how well your CIRCLES model is working is to measure how many agencies each student is engaged with before and after presenting and meeting with the SLT representatives. This determination can be accomplished by sending home a questionnaire for parents to complete before the student presents at the SLT, and again, a few months after the SLT, as it often takes a few weeks to establish follow-up contact with agencies. This questionnaire could also be sent home at the beginning of each school year and compared from one year to the next. It would also provide names of possible CLT/SLT members who were not considered previously. Seeing an increase in student-agency involvement would indicate that CIRCLES is working for your district.

    Measuring Interagency Collaboration

    To determine level of interagency collaboration being built through CIRCLES CLT and SLT meetings, we surveyed agency representatives to find out which agencies in their community they already worked with and to what extent. An easy way to get this information is to use a questionnaire listing the agencies you know about in your community. Ask your CLT and SLT members to complete the questionnaire before starting year one of CIRCLES and to repeat the survey each year to determine if interagency collaboration is growing in your community. It is a good idea to have your special educators and school administrator take the survey as well to increase their awareness of local supports for their students and see their collaboration with those agencies build. An Interagency Collaboration Questionnaire can be found in Appendix G.

    CIRCLES for Diverse Students and Families

    In a recent review of the literature on best practices for students with disabilities from racially, ethnically, linguistically diverse (RELD) backgrounds, Povenmire-Kirk and colleagues (in submission) found that four main factors have a positive impact on student outcomes. The factors that make the highest level of impact are: (a) using a strengths-based approach to transition planning; (b) promoting self-determination in culturally appropriate ways; (c) increasing family involvement; and (d) building social capital and community networks of support. CIRCLES, when used with intention and direction, can facilitate the development of each of these factors. We describe this in detail below.

    Strengths-Based Approach

    CIRCLES fosters a strength-based approach to transition planning for all students, and especially for those who are racially, ethnically, linguistically diverse (RELD), identified as a best practice by Leake and Black (2005). As students prepare for the SLT meeting and create their All About Me presentations, the focus is not only on areas of need, but emphasizes student strengths (e.g., personal strengths, academic strengths, previous work experiences, positive social interactions, volunteer activities) and uses these strengths to design their postsecondary goals. RELD students learn along with their peers to identify their strengths, and through preparation for presenting at the SLT, learn self-advocacy skills for talking to adults and expressing their goals.

    Promote Self-Determination

    Research indicates that RELD families and communities may not value the same transition planning strategies identified as essential, such as parent involvement in transition planning or student independence (Kim & Morningstar, 2005; Leake, Black, & Roberts, 2003; Povenmire-Kirk, Lindstrom, & Bullis, 2010). Often RELD students, due to cultural barriers, limited choices or resources, score lower on self-determination scales than non-RELD peers. In addition, in some instances, educators and other support personnel may hold biases and limited views of student capabilities in this area (Cartledge, Gardner, & Ford, 2008; Banks, 2014).

    In the CIRCLES model, self-determination should be taught to RELD students with understanding and respect for individual cultural differences (Leake & Black, 2005; Shogren et al, 2007; Trainor et al., 2008) through skill-building in the areas of identifying strengths, setting goals, and evaluating progress towards those goals (Field, Martin, Miller, Ward, & Wehmeyer, 1998). Preparing for the SLT meeting also gives students an opportunity to practice self-determination skills as they ponder what they want to do after high school and create the All About Me presentation (Povenmire-Kirk, et al, 2015).

    Increase Family Involvement

    Parent involvement in transition planning is one of the essential components of the Transition Taxonomy (Kohler, 1996) and is correlated with positive post-school outcomes (Mazzotti et al., 2015). For some RELD families, this parental involvement is limited due to language barriers, transportation and childcare constraints, and work schedules. In addition, some RELD parents may not understand their child’s disability or the rights they have under IDEA. As the DLT, you may want to consider the family needs for your students presenting at the SLT. For example, several of our districts provided childcare, with activities and snacks for small children while the parents participated in the SLT. Another district found volunteers from the local faith community to arrange transportation for parents to attend the SLT meetings. Parent advocacy groups can be invited to meet with parents to provide training on the student’s disability as well as to provide translation services.

    Enhance Social Capital and Develop Community Networks of Support

    The CIRCLES model of transition planning provides opportunities for RELD students and families to build their network of community supports through the relationships built with agency representatives during the SLT meetings. This social capital (Banks, 2014; Trainor, 2010) is often less common for RELD families due to lack of resources and lower socio-economic status, leaving them with fewer connections to community supports and resources. By supporting RELD families in participating in SLT meetings and becoming part of the transition planning process, they are able to increase their connections to the community and service providers (Leake & Black, 2005), benefiting not only themselves, but also bringing that information to other RELD families in their personal networks. The SLT meeting provides that link from high school to post-graduation so students will continue to benefit from these associations beyond graduation leading to more positive post-school outcomes (Kim & Morningstar, 2005).

    References

    Aspel, N., Bettis, G., Quinn, P., Test, D. W., & Wood, W. M. (1999). A collaborative process for planning transition services for all students with disabilities. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 22, 21-42.

    Banks, J. (2014). Barriers and supports to postsecondary transition: Case studies of African

    American students with disabilities. Remedial and Special Education, 35, 28-39.

    Bruner, C. (1991). Thinking collaboratively: Ten questions and answers to help policy makers improve children’s services. ERIC Database (ED 338984)

    Cartledge, G., Gardner, III, R., & Ford, D. Y. (2009). Diverse learners with exceptionalities: Culturally responsive teaching in the inclusive classroom. Columbus, OH: Merrill.

    Everson, J. M. & Guillory, J. D. (2002). Interagency Teaming: Strategies for Facilitating Teams

    from Forming through Performing. Human Development Center. Louisiana’s University

    Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service.

    Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.

    Field, S., Martin, J., Miller, R., Ward, & Wehmeyer, M. (1998). Self-determination for persons with disabilities: A position statement of the Division on Career Development and Transition. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 21,113–128.

    Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq. (2004).

    Kim, K.-H., & Morningstar, M. E. (2005). Transition planning involving culturally and

    linguistically diverse families. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 28, 92-

    103.

    Kohler, P. D. (1996). A taxonomy for transition programming: Linking research and practice. Urbana-Champaign, IL: Transition Research Institute.

    Landmark, L. J., Ju, S., & Zhang, D. (2010). Substantiated best practices in transition: Fifteen plus years later. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 33, 165-176.

    Leake, D., Black, R., & National Center on Secondary Education and Transition, Minneapolis,

    MN. (2005). Cultural and Linguistic Diversity: Implications for Transition Personnel.

    Essential Tools: Improving Secondary Education and Transition for Youth with

    Disabilities. National Center on Secondary Education and Transition. Institute on

    Community Integration, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, Retrieved from

    www.ncset.org.

    Leake, D. W., Black, R. S., & Roberts, K. (2003). Assumptions in transition planning: Are they

    culturally sensitive? Impact, 16, 28-29.

    Mazzotti, V. L., Rowe, D. A., Sinclair, J., Poppen, M., Woods, W. E., & Shearer, M. L. (2015).

    Predictors of post-school success: A systematic review of NLTS2 secondary analyses.

    Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 38, 1-20.

    Povenmire-Kirk, T. C., Bethune, L. K., Alverson, C. Y., & Gutman Kahn. L. (2015). Journey, not a destination: Developing cultural competence in secondary transition. Teaching Exceptional Children, 47(6), 319-328.

    Povenmire-Kirk, T., Diegelmann, K., Crump, K., Schnorr, C., Test, D., Flowers, C., & Aspel, N. (2015). Implementing CIRCLES: A new model for interagency collaboration in transition planning. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 42, 51-65.

    Povenmire-Kirk, T. C., Lindstrom, L., & Bullis, M. (2010). De Escuela a la Vida Adulta/From school to adult life: Latino youth in transition from school to adult life. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 33, 41-51.

    Povenmire-Kirk, T. C., Test, D. W., Flowers, C., Diegelmann, K. M., Kemp-Inman, A., Ewers,

    L., Wirt-Hamrick, J., Aspel, N., & Everson, J. M. (in submission). In the Driver’s Seat: CIRCLES as a Vehicle to Improve Service Delivery for Racially, Ethnically, and Linguistically Diverse Youth with Disabilities. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals.

    Shogren, K. A., Wehmeyer, M. L., Palmer, S. B., Soukup, J. H, Little, T. D., Garner, N.,

    …Lawrence, M. (2007). Examining individual and ecological predictors for the self-

    determination of students with disabilities. Exceptional Children, 73, 488-509.

    Test, D. W., Mazzotti, V., Mustian, A. L., Fowler, R., Kortering, L., & Kohler, P. (2009). Evidence-based secondary transition predictors for improving postschool outcomes for students with disabilities. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 32, 160-181. doi:10.1177/0885728809346960

    Trainor, A. A., Lindstrom, L., Simon-Burroughts, M., Martin, J. E., & Sorrells, A. M. (2008).

    From marginalized to maximized opportunities for diverse youth with disabilities: A

    position paper of the Division on Career Development and Transition. Career

    Development for Exceptional Individuals, 31, 56-64.

    Appendices Table of Contents

    Appendix A: Executive Summary ……………………………………………………..

    39

    Appendix B: Circles Overview
    B1: History and Overview Informational Presentation ………………………..
    B2: History and Rationale – Video …………………………………………….
    B3: Team Roles and Responsibilities Matrix ………………………………….

    42
    43
    44

    Appendix C: Community Level Team (CLT) Resources
    C1: Community Level Team (Video) …………………………………………
    C2: Community Agency Invitation Letter Template ………………………….
    C3: CIRCLES Community Level Team Agendas …………………………….
    C4: CLT Nomination/Designation Sheet for School Level Team Members ….
    C5: Interagency Agreement Form …………………………………………….
    C6: Action Plan for New Districts …………………………………………….

    46
    47
    48
    52
    53
    57

    Appendix D: School Level Team (SLT) Resources
    D1: SLT Overview Resources …………………………………………………
    D2: Using Technology to Increase Student Success …………………………..
    D3: SLT Invitation Letter for Agencies ……………………………………….
    D4: Sample Invitation Letter for Parents ………………………………………
    D5: Sample Permission for Agency Involvement ……………………………..
    D6: SLT Training Team Agenda ………………………………………………
    D7: Student Dream Sheet ………………………………………………………
    D8: Student Profile Sheet for SLT Members ………………………………….
    D9: Student Presentation List ………………………………………………….
    D10: SLT Signature Sheet ……………………………………………………..
    D11: School-Level Team Meeting Minutes ……………………………………
    D12: Special Educator Tasks to Prepare for School Level Team Meeting ……
    D13: All About Me Template …………………………………….

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    89

    90

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    Appendix E: IEP Resources
    E1: IEP Team with CIRCLES Video ………………………………………….
    E2: IEP Informational Presentation ……………………………………………
    E3: Transition Assessment Survey for Parents ………………………………..

    94
    95
    96

    Appendix F: Strategies for Teaming
    F1: Video Resources …………………………………………………………..
    F2: Forms and Documents …………………………………………………….

    100
    104

    Appendix G: Evaluation
    G1: IEP Participation Measure ………………………………………………..
    G2: AIR Self-Determination Scale links ..…………………………………….
    G3: Student-Agency Interaction Questionnaire ……………………………….
    G4: Interagency Collaboration Survey Questions ……………………………..

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    Appendix H: Additional Resources and Contact Information …………………………

    109

    Appendix A: Executive Summary

    Executive Summary
    August 2016

    Communicating Interagency Relationships and Collaborative Linkages for Exceptional Students (CIRCLES) is a transition-planning service delivery model designed to guide schools in implementing interagency collaboration among community, school, and IEP teams. A four-year cluster randomized trial research study was conducted by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with funds from the Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Special Education Research (#RSA324A110018) was conducted to examine the efficacy of CIRCLES. The following summary provides a brief description of CIRCLES, research design, and findings of the research study.

    Circles Intervention

    The CIRCLES intervention involved three levels of interagency collaboration including Community-, School-, and IEP-level teams. These teams worked together to address transition planning needs of students with disabilities to improve both in-school and post-school student outcomes. CIRCLES allowed agencies to provide support services directly to students and families who needed involvement from multiple adult service providers.

    Community-level team. The Community Level Team (CLT) was comprised of administrators and supervisors of every agency able to provide transition services and could include: Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Social Services, Health Department, The Arc, Easter Seals, Autism Society, transportation, residential service providers, and any other local service providers. District level staff (e.g., transition coordinator, compliance specialist) organized and convened the CLT to address larger issues of access to services within the community. The CLTs meet between two to four times per year to work on issues at the policy level. One key role of CLT members is to appoint a direct service representative from their agency to serve on the School-Level Team (SLT).

    School-level team. The School-level team (SLT) brings adult agency representatives to meet directly with students and their families. The SLT was comprised of direct service providers (e.g., case managers, counselors, care coordinators) from each agency represented on the CLT, those professionals whom special educators might traditionally invite to attend IEPs, but due to the large number of students being served, these representatives are often unable to attend IEPs for every student in need. District staff responsible for convening CIRCLES meetings invited direct service providers to attend one full-day meeting a month (during the school year), in which the team met with a student every 30-45 minutes, and could see up to 10 students a day. Students create 10-minute presentation that describe their strengths, areas of need, and post-school goals. For the remaining time allotted (20 – 40 minutes per student), members of the SLT talked with the student, his or her family, special educators, and one another to determine the best way to deliver transition services to each student. In addition to giving the student, parent, and special educators a personal contact to associate with each agency, the SLT format also allowed time for appointments to be made and questions to be answered by agency members. Families discussed any needs they may have had as a whole (e.g., poverty, homelessness, transportation, food insecurity, guardianship assistance). Agencies negotiated with one another and the student and family to create the most comprehensive plan to meet each student’s specific needs.

    IEP team. The IEP team is the final level in the CIRCLES multi-level approach. After the SLT meeting, special education teachers took the minutes of the SLT meeting to the IEP meeting and wrote the transition component based on the services agreed upon at the SLT. This process enabled the IEP team to write the other components of the IEP with the end goals of the student in mind. Because the district-level school staff were responsible for convening the CLT and SLT meetings, the time special education teachers typically spent inviting folks to IEP meetings was freed up for preparing students for SLT and IEP meetings.

    Research Methods

    A cluster randomized trial, where schools served as clusters, was used to assign schools into treatment conditions. Forty-four schools were randomly assigned into either the CIRCLES or Business-as-Usual (BAU) condition. All students in grades 10th to 12th who were receiving services under IDEA (2004) with Individualized Education Plans (IEP) were eligible to participate. Participating schools were asked to recruit at least 10 students for inclusion in the research component of the study. Most students who participated in the study were classified as specific learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, other heath impairments, and other. There were no statistically significant differences between the CIRCLES or BAU conditions on disability classification. Given the multilevel structure of the data, with students nested within schools, multilevel modeling using posttest data collection was used to investigate the differences between the CIRCLES and BAU conditions. Survey research method was used to examine stakeholders’ perceptions of transition services.

    Research Questions and Findings

    Research findings are organized by the research questions. The first two research questions examined differences between the in-school measures of students IEP participation and self-determination. The third questions investigated difference in post-school outcomes (i.e., employment and school). The final question examined stakeholders’ perceptions about the effectiveness of transition services in the CIRCLES condition.

    Research Question 1. Was CIRCLES more effective than the BAU model at increasing student’s participation in IEP meetings? Using HLM, the effects of CIRCLES for the IEP participation level suggested that there were statistically significant CIRCLES effects for IEP participation (γ01= .72, SE = .23, p<.01, r2 = 22%). CIRCLES explained 22% of the between measures variance in IEP participation. Students in the CIRCLES condition had a much higher level of IEP participation that students in the BAU condition.

    Research Question 2. Was CIRCLES more effective than the business-as-usual (BAU) model at increasing students’ self-determination level? There were statistically significant higher CIRCLES effects for educators’ ratings of Capacity (γ01=. 22, SE = .07, p<.01, r2 = 21%) and Opportunity (γ01=. 23, SE = .08, p<.01, r2 = 18%). CIRCLES explained 21% and 18% of the between measures variance in educators’ Capacity and Opportunity, respectively. These results indicate that educators reported higher levels of students’ Capacity and Opportunity in the CIRCLES condition as compared to the BAU condition. For students’ self-ratings of self-determination, there were significant effects for Opportunity (γ01=. 19, SE = .08, p<.01, r2 = 17%), but there were no CIRCLES effects for Capacity (γ01=-.04, SE = .08, p>.05). The results indicate that students in the CIRCLES condition had higher on average levels of Opportunity, but there were no differences between the groups for the Capacity outcome.

    Research Question 3. Was CIRCLES more effective than the business-as-usual (BAU) model at increasing student’s post-school outcomes? For post-school outcome results, there was not a statistically significant difference between treatment conditions of post-school outcomes. It should be noted that the sample size (35 schools and 220 students) was smaller than all other analyses, suggesting limited power for detecting effects of conditions.

    Research Question 4. How did key stakeholders view CIRCLES? Parents, students, school and community-agency personnel who participated in CIRCLES received a survey about their perception and satisfaction with transition services. Results of the parent survey (N=77) indicated that (a) 100% agreed they had an active role in the process of preparing their child for life after high school, (b) 100% agreed they understood their child’s needs and goals, and (c) 92% agreed they communicated regularly with school personnel on the process of preparing their child for life after high school. The student survey (N=142) indicated that (a) 92% agreed they were involved in preparing goals for their future after high school, (b) 87% agreed their high school was helpful in preparing them for college, (c) 86% agreed their high school was helpful in preparing them for employment, and (d) 93% agreed they knew what adult services would help them after high school. Survey results for school and community agency personnel reported (a) All CIRCLES schools and community agencies reported increased collaboration, (b) Schools reported high levels of collaboration, but saw a need to reach out to more local businesses, community agencies, and technical education providers, and (c) Community agencies reported collaboration through CIRCLES strengthened their own outcomes, but still saw a need to “braid” financial resources.

    Implications for Practice

    Findings from the current study indicate both teachers and students involved in CIRCLES indicated students had greater participation in IEP meetings and greater opportunity to practice and demonstrate self-determination skills than did students in BAU schools. As a result, CIRCLES provides educators with a “two-for-one” strategy. By helping students prepare their presentation for the SLT meeting, presenting to the SLT, discussing adult services options with the SLT, and then using the same presentation at their IEP meeting, educators can provide multiple opportunities for students to learn and practice valuable self-determination skills. Survey results of key stakeholders also supported the positive impact of CIRCLES for transition planning.

    Unfortunately, participation in CIRCLES did not increase student post-school outcomes. To date, the only predictor (Test, Mazzotti, et al., 2009) of improved post-school outcomes that has been causally linked to improved post-school outcomes is community-based work experience programs (Cobb et al., 2013). However, educators must still implement practices and strategies that have the best available evidence. For now, these results indicate in order to provide students with the best chance for post-school success, their program of study should include community-based work experiences combined with additional predictors of improved post-school outcomes. For students whose IEP goals, objectives, and transition services indicate the need for increased self-determination skills and linkages to adult services, CIRCLES is recommended.

    Appendix B1

    History and Overview Informational Presentation

    Appendix B2

    History and Rationale – Video

    Appendix B3

    CIRCLES Grant: Team Descriptions and Responsibilities Table

    Team

    Community Level

    School Level

    Individual Level

    Key Purpose

    *Build sustainability of CIRCLES by aligning community secondary transition & adult services systems.

    *Administrative leadership for total array of transition services offered

    *Finds solutions for problems that arise

    *Provides student access to various representatives from community agencies

    *Writes IEP including Transition Component

    *Ensure input from students and parents re: transition planning process

    Team Members

    *Exceptional Children’s Coordinator

    *Principals,

    *Transition coordinator,

    *School board rep,

    *Parent

    rep,

    *Business rep,

    *Administrator for local C of C,

    *Postsecondary ed rep,

    *Administrative reps from public service agencies (voc rehab, workforce development, transportation providers, etc)

    *Administrative reps from other community service agencies (group homes, advocacy groups, etc)

    *Student

    *High school transition coordinators,

    *special populations coordinator (voc ed)

    *Regular education teacher,

    *military recruiter,

    *parent,

    *case managers or other direct *service reps from community service agencies

    *Student
    *Parent

    *School reps

    *Reps from outside agencies

    Team Responsibilities

    *Work to solve issues that directly relate to students:

    *Identify community resources

    *Develop & update interagency service agreements

    *Coordinate staff development

    *Share info re: employment of individuals w/ disabilities

    *Facilitates the transition planning process evolving around “student-centered planning philosophy”

    *Provides information and pre-planning to guide Student-level team’s IEP process

    *Develop timelines for postgraduate needs with student and parent input

    *Conduct pre-planning transition meeting

    *Takes transition planning information and develops IEP

    *Review info related to present level of performance and future goals

    *Develop transition component and IEP

    *Provide additional info re: transition process

    *Address all other relevant student issues

    Meetings

    *2 -4 times per year for

    *1 – 2 hours

    *Monthly excluding December, June and July

    *Meetings last 20 minutes to 2 hours.

    *May occur at any time based on need for development and revision of IEP

    *May last from 1 – 3 hours, as necessary

    Team Roles and Responsibilities Matrix

    Appendix C1:

    Community Level Team (Video)

    Appendix C2

    Community Agency Invitation Letter Template

    Dear (Community Agency),

    Our school district has been selected to participate in an intervention involving interagency collaboration for students with disabilities. This project, CIRCLES (Communicating Interagency Relationships and Collaborative Linkages for Exceptional Students) is a four-year intervention study that will examine the effects of a multi-level model (i.e., community, school, IEP) of interagency collaboration on transition outcomes. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is conducting this study in collaboration with (Your County Here) County Schools and other Local Education Agencies as part of a grant funded by the Institute for Educational Sciences through the US Department of Education.

    As a leader in the community, we would like to invite you to be a part of this community-level team. Through collaborative efforts with other county and community agencies, we would like your input in the identification of community resources, development of interagency service agreements, coordination of staff development activities, and sharing information related to employment of individuals with disabilities. Community-level teams will meet 2 to 4 times per year, as needed.

    Someone from our school district will be contacting you with additional information and to personally invite you to join our community level team. We are looking forward to your participation.

    Sincerely,

    109

    Appendix C3

    CIRCLES Community Level Team Agendas

    CIRCLES Community Level Team (CLT) AGENDA

    CLT Meeting #1 Date:

    20 minutes

    15 minutes

    10 minutes

    10 minutes

    Item

    Time Allotted

    Discussion (Key Points, Motions, concerns)

    Action Voted

    Next Steps/ Due Date

    Who is Responsible?

    Introductions 10 minutes
    Ice Breaker

    15 minutes

    Description of CIRCLES

    20 minutes
    Values, Mission, Vision

    Who Else Should Be Here?

    10 minutes

    School-Level Team Designations (Pass around sign up sheet)

    Schedule Next Meetings

    Parking Lot and Next Agenda Items

    TOTAL MINUTES

    110

    ON THE BACK: Values, Mission, Vision

    CIRCLES Community Level Team (CLT) AGENDA

    CLT Meeting #2 Date:

    Item

    Time Allotted

    Discussion (Key Points, Motions, concerns)

    Action Voted

    Next Steps/ Due Date

    Who is Responsible?

    Ice Breaker

    10 minutes

    10 minutes

    10 minutes

    Who Else Should Be Here?

    Schedule Next Meetings

    10 minutes

    TOTAL MINUTES

    110

    Review Values, Mission, Vision statements

    Brief Recap of CIRCLES

    Report of Progress on School-Level Team Meetings

    20 minutes

    Agency Introductions: What services? To whom? Challenges you face in providing services?

    40 minutes
    5 minutes
    5 minutes

    Parking Lot and Next Agenda Items

    ON THE BACK: Values, Mission, Vision

    CIRCLES Community Level Team (CLT) AGENDA

    CLT Meeting #3 Date:

    Item

    Time Allotted

    Discussion (Key Points, Motions, concerns)

    Action Voted

    Next Steps/ Due Date

    Who is Responsible?

    Ice Breaker

    10 minutes

    10 minutes

    10 minutes

    Report of Progress on School-Level Team Meetings

    20 minutes

    10 minutes

    Who Else Should Be Here?

    5 minutes

    Schedule Next Meetings

    5 minutes

    10 minutes

    TOTAL MINUTES

    110

    Review Values, Mission, Vision statements, make changes?

    Brief Recap of CIRCLES (Only if you have new members)

    Review Challenges Identified by Agencies at CLT #2

    Identify CLT Goals for the Year

    30 minutes

    Parking Lot and Next Agenda Items

    ON THE BACK:

    Values, Mission, Vision

    CIRCLES Community Level Team (CLT) AGENDA

    CLT Meeting #4 Date:

    Item

    Time Allotted

    Discussion (Key Points, Motions, concerns)

    Action Voted

    Next Steps/ Due Date

    Who is Responsible?

    Ice Breaker

    10 minutes

    Review Values, Mission, Vision statements

    5 minutes

    Brief Recap of CIRCLES (Only if you have new members)

    10 minutes

    Report of Progress on School-Level Team Meetings

    20 minutes

    10 minutes

    30 minutes

    Schedule Next Meetings

    5 minutes

    Parking Lot and Next Agenda Items

    10 minutes

    TOTAL MINUTES

    Review Goals Identified by Agencies at CLT #3

    Identify Next Steps for CLT Goals for the Year

    100

    ON THE BACK:
    Values, Mission, Vision

    Appendix C4

    CLT Nomination/Designation Sheet for SLT Members

    Agency

    Representative Name

    Email

    Telephone

    Role

    Appendix C5
    INTERAGENCY AGREEMENT FOR TRANSITION SERVICES IN ____________________
    PURPOSE

    The purpose of this agreement is to facilitate the coordination of services to students with disabilities, ages 14 and above (or younger if needed), within ______________during transition from school-to-work and community living. For each individual to experience successful transition from school to post-secondary activities, an array of support and training opportunities are essential. A Community Level Transition Committee composed of parents, governmental agencies, community organizations, and private industry, is needed to provide leadership in developing an appropriate service delivery system. To accomplish this task the following services will be provided by each of the participating agencies.

    This agreement is made and entered into between ___________________________ and the local governmental and private agencies responsible for adult services for individuals with disabilities.

    GENERAL RESPONSIBILITIES

    A. The agencies agree to support the development of regulations, policies and practices for a community transition committee.

    B. The agencies agree to exchange information regarding program goals and student/client needs when appropriate.

    C. The agencies agree to provide in-service training as needed.

    D. The agencies agree to provide representation at quarterly meetings for the purpose of evaluating and planning cooperative services.

    E. The agencies agree to provide representation on the school level transition teams when necessary.

    LOCAL EDUCATION AGENCIES AGREE TO:

    A. Provide the following services for students with disabilities based on need: (1) Job Placement, (2) Job Coaching (3) Vocational Assessment (4) Vocational Counseling (5) Modified Curriculum (6) Service Coordination (7) Job Follow-Up until exit from school (8) Follow-up annually after graduation or exit from school for a period of 3 years for the purpose of program evaluation.

    THE COMMUNITY AGENCIES

    Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services Agrees To:

    ·

    Support transition services to young adults with developmental disabilities.

    · Provide routine consultation with other agencies, referral to residential services, vocational follow-up, and post-graduation counseling.

    · Provide certification of students for determining CAP-MR/DD, ADVP, and CBS

    eligibility.

    · Attend scheduled conferences of students in transition when appropriate before they

    exit the school program.

    · Provide case management services for eligible students

    _____________Community College Agrees To:

    · Provide services to students who have been admitted to the Community College

    System.

    · Support and assist youth with disabilities in job training and assessment through

    enrollment in the curriculum program.

    · Provide job placement services, career exploration and counseling, job seeking skills,

    and financial aid to eligible students.

    · Assist eligible students in accessing compensatory education and adult basic education

    classes.

    · Attend scheduled conferences of students in transition when appropriate before they

    exit the school program.

    The Community Rehabilitation Agency Agrees To:

    · Support transitional services of identified young adults who are developmentally

    disabled.

    · Coordinate and assist with referral of students to the community rehabilitation agency.

    · Provide services through vocational skill training, vocational evaluation, job

    placement, job coaching, case coordination, long-term follow-up, and short-term

    follow-up to eligible clients.

    · Attend scheduled conferences of students in transition when appropriate before they
    exit the school program.

    Department of Social Services Agrees To:

    · Support transition services of young adults with developmental disabilities.

    · Provide routine consultation with other agencies making referrals for residential and

    transportation services.

    · Assist in the coordination of WorkFirst programs and transition services

    · Assist with guardianship issues.

    · Attend scheduled conferences of students in transition when appropriate before they

    exit school.

    Employment Security Commission of North Carolina (Job-Link Center) Agrees To:

    · Provide transition services to any U.S. citizen or individual authorized to work by the

    Immigration and Naturalization Service, who is of legal age.

    · Provide services by distributing labor market and career information along

    with appropriate and suitable job placement assistance to eligible clients.

    · Attend scheduled conferences of students in transition when appropriate before they
    exit the school program.

    Workforce Investment Act Program Agrees To:

    · Support transition services of economically disadvantaged youth.

    · Provide services through career planning, career assessment, job training,

    apprenticeships, job placement, support for educational services, and support services

    to eligible and suitable clients.

    · Attend scheduled conferences of students in transition when appropriate before they

    exit school.

    The Recreation Department Agrees To:

    · Support transition services of individuals with disabilities.

    · Provide services through various recreational opportunities and facilities.

    · Attend scheduled conferences of students in transition when appropriate before they
    exit the school program.
    The Local Transportation Authority Agrees To:

    · Provide social service agency transportation under a single provider concept to clients

    of public and private non-profit agencies in Cleveland County.

    · Provide transportation to the general public on a private contract basis.

    · Support transition services to individuals with disabilities through consultation

    services to teachers, students, and parents.

    · Attend scheduled conferences of students in transition when appropriate before they
    exit school.

    Vocational Rehabilitation Agrees To:

    · Support transition services of individuals with disabilities that will result in an

    employment outcome.

    · Coordinate referral of Vocational Rehabilitation clients.

    · Sponsor in-school adjustment training, and job coaching services.

    · Provide vocational evaluations, counseling, training and transportation assistance to

    eligible individuals based on need.

    · Provide follow-up services for employed students who have exited the school system.

    · Provide all services indicated in the cooperative school system -VR agreement.

    · Attend scheduled conferences of students in transition when appropriate before they
    exit the school program.

    Social Security Administration Agrees To:

    · Assist students and their families in determining eligibility for benefits.

    · Assist students and their families in accessing work incentives.

    · Provide consultation to school personnel regarding social security benefits and related

    issues.

    · Attend scheduled conferences of students in transition when appropriate before they

    exit the school program.

    This agreement will be renegotiated on an annual basis. This agreement is being entered into

    on

    _______________________________________

    ______________.

    Note: Signatures of Representatives of Participating Agencies should be attached.

    Reprinted with permission of Shelby City Schools, TASSEL, 1997.

    Appendix C6
    Action Plan for New Districts

    CIRCLES TRAINING INSTITUTE (CTI)

    ACTION PLAN (for new incoming districts)

    PART 1:

    Membership:

    Identify Potential Team Members: Identify the interagency members and the intra-agency members.

    Community Level Team:

    Vision/Values/Mission

    Vision: What are the goals for this team? What would you like to see in a perfect world?

    Values: What values do you share as team member? What values drive your vision?

    Mission: What will your shared mission be? How will you know if your team is functioning appropriately or not?

    Goals:

    Roles:

    Process:

    Part 2:

    Resource Assessment

    Identify community resources in all post-secondary domains.

    Domain

    Agency

    Contact Person

    Responsible Party?

    Postsecondary Education or Vocational Training

    Employment

    Independent Living

    Community
    Participation

    Role Clarification:

    Clarify desired roles of service providers (Both the role of the agencies and the individuals represented on the team in the provision of transition services of the actual “front line” {e.g. case manager, VR counselor, etc.})

    Domain

    Agency/Individual

    Role

    Postsecondary Education or Vocational Training

    Employment

    Independent Living

    Community
    Participation

    Interagency Agreements:

    Make plans for interagency agreements: list potential contacts, create drafts (see sample interagency agreement in Sample Documents), ask questions of project staff, etc.

    Important points:

    Plan initial organizational meeting:

    Meeting

    Date

    Location

    Community Level Team

    School Level Team

    Tentative agenda:

    Community Level Team:

    Part 3:

    Resource Management:

    Identify sources of additional funding (or ways in which funding can be blended, overlapped, etc.). List Potential Sources of Funding or ideas for blending/overlapping:

    Also need to look at resources (other than funding) that can be blended, shared, etc.:

    Standard Operating Procedure:

    Please indicate plans for each of the below mentioned items and who is responsible:

    Orientation Activities:

    Frequency, time & Length of Meetings:

    Meeting Reminders:

    Member Absences:

    Agenda:

    Celebration?

    Networking:

    Identify community needs in the area of employment and other related adult services:

    Coordinate community awareness activities.

    Potential Activity

    Purpose

    Audience

    Involved Agencies

    Responsible Party/Timeline

    Job Development:

    Activity

    Agency

    Coordination Activities

    Job Placement:

    Activity

    Agency

    Coordination Activities

    Part 4:

    Membership:

    School Level Team Members:

    Structure:

    How will your school level team be structured? How many schools will it serve? Where will it meet? How often?

    Student and Family Involvement:

    List some steps you may take to increase and enhance Student Involvement:

    Parent Involvement

    Barriers:

    Develop strategies and generate solutions for overcoming barriers to service delivery. This activity should be done AGAIN with your Community Level and School Level Teams, but let’s get started – what are some potential barriers that you know exist?

    Potential Barriers

    Potential Solutions

    Policies/Procedures involved

    Part 5:

    Pre-Planning:

    Standard Operating Procedures:

    Consider how your team will handle each of the following:

    · Participant Training

    · Frequency, time, and length of meetings

    · Environmental arrangements

    · Breaks and refreshments

    · Meeting reminders

    · Member absences

    · Agenda development

    · Documentation

    · Team member roles and behavior

    · Celebration

    Part 6:

    Student-Led IEP meetings:

    List below strategies to develop student-led IEP meetings that would work for your school:

    Coordinate job development and job placements among service providers:

    Information only – NOT part of Action Plan:

    General team Responsibilities for School-Level Team

    1. Develop orientation process for new team members.

    2. Assist in post-school follow-up on students and provide this information to team members.

    3. Assist in analyzing post-school data to increase effectiveness of the delivery of transition services.

    4. Assist in the evaluation of transition team planning.

    5. Ensure smooth transfer of case management from public schools to other adult service providers.

    6. Ensure open communication between school personnel and adult service providers outside of School Level Team meetings.

    NOTES:

    School Level Team Meeting Preparation Checklist

    You may find it useful to designate a responsible party for each of these tasks.

    1. Prepare the list of students to be presented at the team meeting no later than one month in advance.

    2. Prepare written invitations to the planning meeting for students and their parent(s)/guardian no later than one month in advance. (clarify for parents – this is NOT the Invitation to Conference for IEP meetings)

    3. Make needed transportation and daycare arrangements for students and their parent(s)/guardian in order to ensure their attendance at the meeting.

    4. Notify core team members of the students scheduled for presentation to the School Level Transition Team, ensuring parent or student (if over18) permission to involve outside agencies.

    5. School-specific team members of the students scheduled for presentation to the School Level Transition Team. (School staff don’t necessarily “present” at the meetings)

    6. Send written invitations to student-specific members.

    7.

    Follow-up with telephone calls to ensure their attendance.

    8.

    Review with students the purpose of and the format for the meeting.

    9.

    Obtain input from the student regarding agenda items and suggestions for individuals to invite other than the ones previously determined.

    10. Update the Student Dream Sheet (or other student input document/informal transition planning survey) annually.

    11.

    Provide student with an opportunity to practice for his or her meeting. This can involve viewing videotapes of previous meetings, role-playing, or discussing the process with an upperclassman. Students should understand that they are expected to take a lead role in their meeting. Teachers should assist students in what information needs to be shared with the team, how to state their post-school goals, how to request for services, appropriate questions to ask, and how to negotiate/compromise. This process should be related to the objectives in the Occupational Preparation courses in the Occupational Course of Study.

    12.

    Assist student in organizing a Career Portfolio for presentation to the team members. (exit meeting only)

    13.

    Send parents information regarding the School Level Transition Team process. Provide them with an opportunity to ask questions regarding the team meeting and give additional input regarding their child’s future goals (update the Student Mapping Form – this should be done annually).

    14.

    Finalize the agendas for each student meeting.

    15.

    Complete the School Level Transition Team Information Form.

    16.

    Make copies of this form for all team members.

    17. Have student educational records available at the meeting for reference as needed

    18. Set up the environment for the meeting and make arrangements to ensure the smooth entrance and exit of students and their parent(s)/guardian.

    School Level Team Meeting Procedures Checklist

    1. Each student and their transition Special Educator or Transition Coordinator co-chair the meeting unless the student has acquired the skills to chair their meeting independently (which is the goal for all students).

    2. Each team member receives a copy of the School Level Transition Team Information Form.

    3. The meeting begins with introductions.

    4. Following introductions, the student and/or teacher states the purpose of the meeting.

    5. Post-school outcome goals for each of the three domains (employment, education/training, independent living skills) will be indicated by the student and/or teacher.

    6. These goals will be stated one at a time followed by an update on the student’s progress in each area. The focus question is “How are we going to get from where we are now to where we need to be by graduation?”

    7. During this discussion, team members provide suggestions for transition activities related to the student’s future goals.

    8. Team members provide information regarding their role in these activities.

    9. At the conclusion of the meeting, the student and/or teacher will summarize the discussion; clarified recommendations, assignments of responsibility, and timelines.

    10. The process for follow-up will addressed.

    11. Prior to the student and his or her parents leaving the transition meeting, all team members will sign the Transition Team Signature sheet.

    Special Education Coordinator in Preparation for School Level Meeting Checklist

    1. Establish meeting times for individual students within the timeframe allotted for the whole meeting.

    2. Obtain a location with the high school for the meeting and arranging the environment to make it as welcoming as possible.

    3. Ensure that parents and students have transportation to the meeting and arrange for daycare if needed to facilitate student and parent to attendance.

    4. Introduce team members.

    5. Explain the absence of team members from meetings and make arrangements for absent team members to receive information from the meeting.

    6. Assist the student in leading his or her meeting and provide the student with support during discussions.

    7. Appoint a team member to serve as recorder for the meetings

    8. Provide copies of meeting minutes to all team members who were assigned specific tasks.

    Appendix D1

    SLT Overview Resources

    ·

    School Level Team (Part 1)

    ·

    School Level Team (Part 2)

    ·

    10 Steps to Planning and Conducting a Successful SLT Meeting (Steps 1-5)

    ·

    10 Steps to Planning and Conducting a Successful SLT Meeting (Steps 6-10)

    ·

    Preparing Students for the SLT Transition Team Meeting (Part 1)

    ·

    Preparing Students for the SLT Transition Team Meeting (Part 2)

    Appendix D2

    Using Technology to Increase Student Success

    ·

    Using Technology to Enhance Student Participation

    ·

    Web 2.0 Instructions

    Directions for Popular Web-Based Tools:

    ·

    Animoto

    ·

    Brainshark

    · GoAnimate

    ·

    ToonDoo

    · Voki

    · Wobook

    ·

    Wordle

    Appendix D3

    Sample SLT Invitation Letter for Agencies

    Dear ________________________,

    On ____________________________ at ____________________ in _____________________

    (Date) (Time) (Room Number)

    at

    _____________________________, a school level transition team meeting will be held for

    (Location)

    ______________________________. At this meeting, the team will be assisting this student and

    (Student Name)

    his or her parents in making plans for life after graduation. Items to be discussed at this meeting

    include a review of the student’s achievements, post-school goals, and strategies for the

    accomplishment of post-school goals. ________________ would like you to attend his/her

    (Student Name)

    meeting. Please make every effort to attend this important meeting. If you cannot attend, please

    call ______________________________ (Exceptional Children’s Teacher)

    at __________________________ or email at ___________________________________ so

    (Phone Number) (email address)

    your input can be obtained. Thank you for your support of ____________________________

    (student name)

    and his/her future dreams and goals.

    Sincerely,

    _______________________________________

    (Exceptional Children’s Teacher)

    Appendix D4

    Sample Invitation Letter for Parents

    Dear ________________________,

    On ____________________________ at ____________________ in Room # _______ at

    _____________________________, a school level transition team meeting will be held for

    ______________________________. At this meeting, the team will be assisting your child and

    in making plans for life after graduation. At the meeting, your child will be sharing his/her

    dreams for the future and ideas for how team members can help with achieve those dreams. Also

    attending this meeting will be the following school staff:

    Name

    Position

    In addition, community agency representatives from the following agencies will be in attendance:

    Name

    Position

    Agency

    Please sign the attached permission for the above agency representatives to meet with your child. We look forward to seeing you at this important meeting. However, tf you cannot attend, please

    call ______________________________at __________________________ or email at ____________________________ so your input can be obtained. Thank you for your support.

    Sincerely,

    Appendix D5

    Sample Permission for Agency Involvement

    Student Name:

    ______________________________________

    Please sign below to indicate that you give permission for the agency representatives listed below to be involved with your child’s school level transition team meeting. Please feel free to list any other agency representatives you would like to have invited to the meeting.

    _____ Vocational Rehabilitation

    _____ Division for the Blind

    _____ Pathways Representative

    ____ Recreation Representative

    ____ DSS Representative (Adult Services)

    _____ Case Management Services:

    ____________________________________________

    _________

    _____ CAP Services Provider: _________________________________________________________

    _____ Day Treatment Provider: ________________________________________________________

    _____ Developmental Therapy Provider: ________________________________________________

    _____ Counseling Provider: ___________________________________________________________

    _____ Intensive In-Home Provider: _____________________________________________________

    _____ Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) Provider: __________________________________________

    _____ Outside Therapy: PT: _______________________________________________________

    OT: _______________________________________________________

    Speech: ___________________________________________________

    _____ Other:

    ____________________________________________________________________

    ___

    _____ Other:

    _____________________________________________________________________

    __
    ____________________________________________
    Parent
    ____________________________________________
    Date

    Appendix D6

    School Level Team Training AGENDA

    SLT Meeting #1 Date:

    Item

    Time Allotted

    Discussion (Key Points, Motions, concerns)

    Action Voted

    Next Steps/ Due Date

    Who is Responsible?

    Introductions

    10 minutes

    Ice Breaker

    10 minutes

    Who Else Should Be Here?

    10 minutes

    Schedule Next Meetings

    5 minutes

    Parking Lot and Next Agenda Items

    10 minutes

    TOTAL MINUTES

    Review Values, Mission, Vision statements (use CLT version, but be open to changes)

    15
    minutes
    CIRCLES Overview 30 minutes
    90

    ON THE BACK:
    Values, Mission, Vision

    Appendix D7

    Student Dream Sheet

    Student Name: _____________________________ Initial Date: _____________

    School:

    ___________________________________ Teacher: ________________

    Review Dates: ________________________ _______________________

    ________________________ _______________________

    Anticipated Date of Graduation: ______________________

    The following questions will be used to assist in transition planning activities and to determine post-school goals.

    1. Where do you want to live after graduation? ________________________________

    ____________________________________________________________________

    What kind of housing? _________________________________________________

    2. How do you intend to continue learning after graduation? _____________________

    ____________________________________________________________________
    ____________________________________________________________________

    What types of things do you want to learn after graduation? ____________________

    ____________________________________________________________________
    ____________________________________________________________________

    Where do you want this learning to occur? _________________________________

    ____________________________________________________________________
    ____________________________________________________________________

    3. What kind of job do you want now? _______________________________________

    ____________________________________________________________________
    ____________________________________________________________________

    4. What kind of job do you want when you graduate? ___________________________

    ____________________________________________________________________
    ____________________________________________________________________

    5. Where do you want to work? ____________________________________________

    ____________________________________________________________________
    ____________________________________________________________________

    6. What type of work schedule do you want? __________________________________

    ____________________________________________________________________
    ____________________________________________________________________

    7. What type of pay and benefits do you want from your future job? ________________

    _____________________________________________________________________
    _____________________________________________________________________

    8. What types of chores do you do at home? ___________________________________

    _____________________________________________________________________
    _____________________________________________________________________

    9. What equipment/tools can you use? _______________________________________

    ____________________________________________________________________
    _____________________________________________________________________

    10. Do you have any significant medical problems that need to be considering when determining post-school goals? ___________________________________________

    ____________________________________________________________________
    _____________________________________________________________________

    11. What choices do you make now? _________________________________________

    ____________________________________________________________________
    _____________________________________________________________________

    12. What choices are made for you that you want to take charge of? __________________

    ______________________________________________________________________

    ______________________________________________________________________

    13. What kind of transportation will you use after graduation? _______________________

    ______________________________________________________________________
    ______________________________________________________________________

    14. What do you do for fun now? ____________________________________________

    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    15. What would you like to do for fun in the future? _______________________________

    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Appendix D8

    Student Profile Sheet for SLT Members

    Date: _____________

    Student Name: _________________________ School: __________________

    Student DOB: __________________________

    EC Disability Category: _________________________

    Strengths: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    General Student Info (IQ, Academic Testing Results, Academic Behaviors, MH Dx, etc): _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Areas of Need: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Post School Goals:

    Education/Training: _________________________________________________

    Employment: ______________________________________________________

    Independent Living: _________________________________________________

    Teacher Perspective: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Parent Perspective: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Other Important Information: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Appendix D9

    Student Presentation List

    Student Name:
    Parent Guardian:
    School:
    Exceptional Children’s Teacher:
    Graduation Date:

    Student Name:
    Parent Guardian:
    School:
    Exceptional Children’s Teacher:
    Graduation Date:

    Student Name:
    Parent Guardian:
    School:
    Exceptional Children’s Teacher:
    Graduation Date:

    Student Name:
    Parent Guardian:
    School:
    Exceptional Children’s Teacher:
    Graduation Date:

    Student Name:
    Parent Guardian:
    School:
    Exceptional Children’s Teacher:
    Graduation Date:

    Student Name:
    Parent Guardian:
    School:
    Exceptional Children’s Teacher:
    Graduation Date:

    Student Name:
    Parent Guardian:
    School:
    Exceptional Children’s Teacher:
    Graduation Date:

    Student Name:
    Parent Guardian:
    School:
    Exceptional Children’s Teacher:
    Graduation Date:

    Student Name:
    Parent Guardian:
    School:
    Exceptional Children’s Teacher:
    Graduation Date:

    Student Name:
    Parent Guardian:
    School:
    Exceptional Children’s Teacher:
    Graduation Date:

    Student Name:
    Parent Guardian:
    School:
    Exceptional Children’s Teacher:
    Graduation Date:

    Student Name:
    Parent Guardian:
    School:
    Exceptional Children’s Teacher:
    Graduation Date:

    Student Name:
    Parent Guardian:
    School:
    Exceptional Children’s Teacher:
    Graduation Date:

    Student Name:
    Parent Guardian:
    School:
    Exceptional Children’s Teacher:
    Graduation Date:

    Student Name:

    Parent Guardian:

    School:

    Exceptional Children’s Teacher:

    Graduation Date:

    Student Name:
    Parent Guardian:
    School:
    Exceptional Children’s Teacher:
    Graduation Date:

    Appendix D10

    SLT Signature Sheet

    School Level Team Signature Sheet

    Agency

    Position

    Email

    Printed Name

    Signature

    Phone

    Date

    Appendix D11

    School-Level Team Meeting Minutes

    Date:

    Present:

    Student:

    School:

    Goals:

    Education

    Employment Independent Living

    Student:

    School:

    Goals:

    Education

    Employment

    Independent Living

    Student:

    School:

    Goals:

    Education

    Employment

    Independent Living

    Student:

    School:

    Goals:

    Education

    Employment

    Independent Living

    Appendix D12

    Special Educator Tasks to Prepare for School Level Team Meeting

    Prepare list of students to be presented at team meeting no later than one month in advance.

    Establish meeting times for individual students within the timeframe allotted for the school at the school level meeting, taking into consideration the annual review dates of the IEPs (See Priority Matrix).

    Notify core team members of students scheduled for presentation to the School Level Team.

    Prepare written invitations (not an “IEP Invitation to Conference”) to the planning meeting for students and their parent(s)/guardian no later than one month in advance. Include information about the School Level Team process (see school rep for templates).

    Obtain a “Release of Information” form* from parent/guardian or student if over 18 years of age to share information with core team members.

    Obtain “Permission to Invite Agencies” form* from parent/guardian or student if over 18 to invite student specific team members. Be sure to obtain parent and student input on team composition.

    Make necessary transportation and daycare arrangements for students and their parent(s)/guardian in order to ensure their attendance at the meeting.

    Schedule school-specific team members (not already on the team) of the students scheduled for presentation to the School Level Team.

    Review purpose of and format for meeting with students.

    Obtain input from students regarding agenda items.

    Update Student Dream Sheet* (or other student input document/informal transition planning survey) annually.

    Clarify expectations for student involvement in meeting and provided student with training and an opportunity to practice for his or her meeting. (e.g., viewing videotapes, role-playing, scripting, PowerPoint presentations, Web-based tools*).

    Provide parents with an opportunity to ask questions regarding the process, give input regarding their child’s future goals (e.g., Parent Transition Survey, Parent Interview, etc.), and suggest agenda items.

    Finalize agendas for each student meeting.

    Ensure that student educational records are available at the meeting for reference as needed

    Appendix D13

    ALL ABOUT ME PowerPoint Template

    How you can help me…

    How you can help me…

    Students will use words, images, graphics, and hyperlinks to create a page for each topic listed below.

    1.

    Hello Page

    2.

    About me (age, grade, school)

    3.

    My strengths

    4.

    My hobbies

    5.

    Things that are hard for me

    6.

    My favorite subject in school

    7.

    Things I like to do for fun

    8.

    Things I don’t like to do

    9.

    My future plans for working after high school

    10.

    What I have done to get ready

    11.

    How you can help me…

    12.

    My future plans for Education/Training after high school

    13.
    14.

    My future plans for Independent Living after high school

    15.
    16.

    Something no one knows about me

    Appendix E1

    IEP Team with CIRCLES Video

    Appendix E2

    IEP Informational Presentation

    Appendix E3

    Transition Assessment Survey for Parents

    TRANSITION ASSESSMENT SURVEY FOR PARENTS

    Dear Parents,

    As your son or daughter moves closer to graduation, it is important to begin to plan for his/her future. At the next meeting the IEP team will develop a transition component for your child’s Individualized Education Program. The transition component will identify future goals for your son/daughter and ways to support him/her in reaching these goals. We would like to see all our students become productive members of society. Your input and involvement is critical. Please take a few minutes to complete this Transition Assessment. Think of your son/daughter as an adult after graduation and identify your dreams/goals for him/her.

    Student Name: _____________________________ Parent Name: ______________

    Initial Date: _______________________________ Updated: __________________

    Employment:

    I think my son/daughter could work in:

    · Full time regular job (competitive employment)

    · Part time regular job (competitive employment)

    · A job that has support and is supervised, full or part time (supported employment) Military Service (Branch: _________________________)

    · Volunteer Work

    · Other: ________________________________________

    My son’s/daughter’s strengths in the area of employment are:

    My son/daughter seems to be interested in working as:

    When I think of my son/daughter working, I am afraid that:

    To work, my son/daughter needs to develop job-related skills in:

    Post-Secondary Education/Training:

    Future education/training for my son/daughter should include (check all that apply):

    · College or University (4-year degree)

    · Community College (2-year degree or certification program)

    · Vocational Training at a Vocational School

    · On-the-Job Training

    · Adult Basic Education classes at the Community College

    · Compensatory Education classes at the Community College

    · Life Skills classes

    · Other: ______________________________________

    My son’s/daughter’s educational strengths are:

    To attend post-secondary education/training, my son/daughter will need to develop skills in:

    Independent Living:

    After graduation, my son/daughter will live:

    · On his/her own in a house or an apartment

    · With a roommate

    · In a supervised living situation (group home, supervised apartment)

    · With parents

    · With other family members

    · Other: ____________________________________

    My son’s/daughter’s strength(s) in the area of independent living are:

    When I think about where my son/daughter will live in the future, I am afraid that:

    To live as independently as possible, my son or daughter needs to develop skills in:

    Community Participation:

    When my son/daughter graduates, I hope he/she is involved in (check all that apply):

    · Independent recreational activities

    · Activities with friends Activities with family members

    · Organized recreational activities (club, team sports)

    · Classes (to develop hobbies, and explore areas of interest)

    · Supported and supervised recreational activities

    · Accessing community services/businesses

    · Other: _________________________________________

    During free time, my son or daughter enjoys:

    My son’s/daughter’s strength(s) in the area of community participation are:

    When I think of the free time my son or daughter will have after graduation, I am afraid that:

    To be active and enjoy leisure time, my son or daughter needs to develop skills in:

    Transportation:

    When my son/daughter graduates, he/she will (check all that apply):

    · Have a driver’s license and a car

    · Walk, or ride a bike

    · Use transportation independently (bus, taxi, train)

    · Use supported transportation (family, service groups, car pool, special program)

    · Other: _________________________________

    My son’s/daughter’s strength(s) in the area of transportation are:

    When I think of my son/daughter traveling around the community I worry about:

    To access transportation my son/daughter needs to develop skills in:

    Review items in the following three areas. Please identify areas in which your son or daughter needs information/support.

    Social/Interpersonal:

    _____ Making friends

    _____ Setting goals

    _____ Family relationships

    _____ Handling legal responsibilities

    _____ Handling anger

    _____ Communicating his or her needs/wants

    _____ Relationships with the opposite sex

    _____ Counseling

    _____ Other: ________________________________

    Personal Management:

    _____ Hygiene

    _____ Safety

    _____ Mobility/transportation

    _____ Domestic skills

    _____ Money management/budgeting

    _____ Time/time management

    _____ Personal care

    _____ Other: _________________________________

    Health:

    _____ Ongoing care for a serious medical condition

    _____ Sex education

    _____ AIDS awareness

    _____ Information on drug/alcohol abuse

    _____ Other: __________________________________

    McAlaran, S.J. (1993). The Colorado transition manual. Denver, CO: Colorado Department of Education

    Appendix F1

    Video Resources

    ·
    Collaborative Teaming

    · Forming and Storming

    ·
    Norming and Performing

    · Communicating Effectively

    · Managing Conflict

    · Teamwork Productivity

    ·
    Membership

    Appendix F2
    ·
    Action Plan for New Districts

    ·
    Interagency Teaming Guide

    ·
    Team Roles and Responsibility Matrix

    Appendix G1
    AIR Self-Determination Scales

    AIR Self-Determination Scale Student Form

    AIR Self-Determination Parent Scale

    AIR Self-Determination Scale Educator Form

    AIR Adapted Self-Determination Scale Student Form

    Appendix G2
    *See School Representative for templates for these forms

    IEP Participation Measure

    1. Did the student lead the IEP meeting? (Did the student start the meeting, introduce him/herself, act as main speaker?)
    · Yes
    · No
    2. Please rate the level of overall participation (0=no participation to 5=full participation).

    0——————–1——————–2——————–3——————–4——————–5

    IEP Participation Measure

    1. Did the student lead the IEP meeting? (Did the student start the meeting, introduce him/herself, act as main speaker?)
    · Yes
    · No
    2. Please rate the level of overall participation (0=no participation to 5=full participation).

    0——————–1——————–2——————–3——————–4——————–5

    IEP Participation Measure

    1. Did the student lead the IEP meeting? (Did the student start the meeting, introduce him/herself, act as main speaker?)
    · Yes
    · No
    2. Please rate the level of overall participation (0=no participation to 5=full participation).

    0——————–1——————–2——————–3——————–4——————–5
    Appendix G3

    Student-Agency Interaction Questionnaire

    Example of Student-Agency Interaction Questionnaire
    1) Have student or family member complete the following questionnaire indicating highest level of interaction with each community agency. (Example list is provided. Use agencies in your area)

    (0)

    No interaction

    (1)

    Phone contact

    (2)

    Meeting scheduled

    (3)

    On caseload

    (4)

    Receiving support

    Arc

    Autism Speaks (Autism Society)

    Community College

    Community Action Programs

    County Health Department

    Department of Health and Human Services

    Employment Security Office

    Habilitation Agencies

    JobLink

    Transportation agencies

    School District

    Social Security Office

    Related Services Agencies

    University Extension Office

    Vocational Rehabilitation

    Appendix G4

    Pre-Post Interagency Collaboration Survey

    Using the scale provided, please indicate the extent to which you currently interact with each agency.

    Five Levels of Collaboration and Their Characteristics

    No interaction (0)

    · Not aware of organization
    · No interaction that I know of

    Networking (1)

    · Aware of organization
    · Loosely defined roles
    · Little communication
    · All decisions are made independently

    Cooperation (2)

    · Provide information to each other
    · Somewhat defined roles
    · Formal communication
    · All decisions are made independently

    Coordination (3)

    · Share information and resources
    · Defined roles
    · Frequent communication
    · Some shared decision making

    Coalition (4)

    · Share ideas
    · Share resources
    · Frequent and prioritized communication
    · All members have a vote in decision making

    Collaboration (5)

    · Members belong to one system
    · Frequent communication is characterized by mutual trust
    · Consensus is reached on all decisions
    1) List your community agencies and organizations (examples provided for starting point)

    My organization

    Not sure

    No interaction

    1

    Networking

    2

    Cooperating

    3

    Coordinating

    4

    Coalition

    5

    Collaboration

    Arc

    Autism Speaks (Autism Society)

    Chamber of Commerce

    Community College

    Community Action Programs

    County Health Department

    Department of Health and Human Services

    Employment Security Office

    Habilitation Agencies

    JobLink

    Transportation agencies

    School District

    School Board

    Social Security Office

    Related Services Agencies

    University Extension Office

    Vocational Rehabilitation

    Appendix H: Additional Resources and Contact Information

    Resources

    CIRCLES Website:
    http://circles.uncc.edu/
    almost everything is available here

    Need additional help? Contact us:

    Name

    Email

    Phone

    Dr. David Test

    dwtest@uncc.edu

    704-687-8853

    Dr. Tiana Povenmire-Kirk

    doctcpk@gmail.com

    541-912-2678

    Dr. Claudia Flowers

    ClaudiaFlowers@uncc.edu

    704-687-8862

    Dr. Nellie Aspel

    naspel@clevelandcountyschools.org

    704-812-4090

    Dr. Jane Everson

    Dr. Karen Diegelmann

    1

    Putting the Framework in Action

    Randa Sfeir

    Walden University

    Putting the Framework in Action

    The Coherence Framework is a holistic process that involves using the mode of learning that periodically going ”from practice to theory, and then back and forth to obtain more specific insights about how to lead and participate in transformative change in schools and school systems” (Fullan, 2015). Changing the whole system can be very complicated, and hence should first encompass ridding the operation of the constraints and determining what makes it more liberated, before seeking coherence. The achievement of coherence ‘‘is through purposeful action and interaction, working on capacity, clarity, the precision of practice, transparency, monitoring of progress, and continuous correction, [all which]…requires the right mixture of “pressure and support” (Fullan, 2015). Accordingly, the Framework includes four components, 1) focusing direction, 2) cultivating collaborative cultures, 3) deepening learning, and 4) securing accountability’’ (Fullan, 2015)

    .

    Postsecondary education is a primary transition goal for the majority of secondary school students with disabilities, and completion of postsecondary education meaningfully improves an individual’s chances of securing meaningful employment and other positive adult outcomes ( Talapatra, Roach, Varjas, Houchins, and Crimmins, 2018). IDEA (2004) requires schools to invite participating agencies to the ARD meetings and makes sure all services deemed necessary provided (Povenmire-Kirk, Diegelmann, Test, Aspel, and Everson, 2015).

    Clear and Shared Focus

    The focusing direction component founded on change leadership, clarity of strategy, impactful goals, and drive-based on purpose backgrounds. For the purpose-driven segment, an agency has to clarify its moral purpose, by reflecting and recording on such issues as the achievement strategy, how to help others define and achieve their own, and whether it is ‘‘making progress in realizing the moral purpose with students’’ (Fullan, 2015). Using the CIRCLES program will help the educators and the stakeholders to exchange their thoughts and ideas with each other and conduct a discussion on the emerging themes. For the clarity of the strategy segment, leaders must ensure that they ‘‘shape and reshape good ideas’’ when building ‘‘capacity and ownership’’ but not rely solely on goals clarity (Fullan, 2015). Coherence encompasses interplay between strategy explicitness and culture change. An amalgam of the two will ultimately create superficiality, inertia, resistance, and depth, all key change quality protocol results (Fullan, 2017). The purpose is to empower the students with disabilities and their parents by equipping them with information about agencies. Also, teachers have bright and positive ideas in preparing students for their meetings. Povenmire-Kirk et al. (2017) stated that preparing students should focus on what they wanted to do after high school in terms of employment, education or training, and independent living.

    Cultivate Collaborative Cultures

    Cultivating collaborative cultures comprises focusing on ‘[culture growth, learning leadership, capacity building, and collaborative work’’ (Fullan, 2015). For instance, to leverage existing within-school variability, especially between teachers, a leader must focus on balancing the autonomy and cooperation of teachers. It is crucial to apply a mixture of flexibility based on interaction among the stakeholders and the interagency when applying for the CIRCLES program. Consequently, minimizing groupthink, creating cultures of collaboration, and enhancing the tendencies for participation in districts and schools network for knowledge exchange related is an essential requirement within the Coherence Framework. According to Fullan (2014), a useful learning framework that instills in a learner’s success and well-being in life must encompass ethics and entrepreneurship.

    CIRCLES, in general, will help conduct meetings, discussions that are rich and includes discussing how agencies could work together to assist students, share agency information about available community services, and work together as one team member stated to break down barriers. Collaboration and networking at all three levels of the program include how agencies could work together to meet the needs of students and their families. Teams were solution-focused when one agency could not provide; others stepped in to ensure student and family need to be met ( Povenmire-Kirk et al. 2017).

    Process and Deep Learning of Staff

    The deepening learning component calls for ‘‘clarity of learning goals, precision in pedagogy, and capacity building’’ (Fullan, 2015). All these practices aimed at leveraging change, technology, and pedagogy in learning by doing learning practices to become high engaging, efficient, digital technology-based, aimed at solving real-life challenges and founded on in-depth knowledge. Accordingly, the learner assessment process should be steeped on evaluating their mastery of the 6C’s ‘‘deep learning competencies, communication, critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, character, and citizenship,’’ all of which support the technology-change-pedagogy stratosphere for deepening learning (Fullan, 2013). The best method for fostering untapped potential and forming meaningful partnerships between districts, schools, and teachers should aim at unlocking the three elements of students, which includes their learning, aspirations, and belonging. All these three elements must be assessed, and feedback used to better students’ learning experiences and outcomes.

    The school team will focus on the Individualized Transition Plan (ITP) as a program to foresee the success and employment connection to learners with special needs after the post-secondary education. The four essential steps used to assess the program, plan the next level where we provide student access to various representatives from community agencies, write IEP including transition component, and make sure to get inputs from students and parents for the transition planning process. Then act step is when problems arise, the team need to find solutions. The last step is to reflect on the success of the transition services to young adults with disabilities.

    Data and Accountability

    Securing accountability, both internal and external, in learning, is a very crucial component in the coherence framework. Student learning is at the core of educational systems. Consequently, there is no better way to implement it than periodically seeking feedback from students about their education and using it to shape and reshape the learning outcome. Getting feedback via evaluations of students’ feelings, morals, and feelings about the system will help ”build a culture of evidence, improvement and evaluation capacity-building” (Fullan, 2015). The process can be achieved through students’ engagement in discussion forums.

    For internal accountability, teachers have concerns regarding the positions of partners in change preparation. Teachers and parents stated that collaboration among school staff and organizations is inadequate. They claimed that in transition meetings, there is little presence and planned accountability of organizations. Implementing the program will enhance students ‘ conscience-determination abilities, student engagement at the school level, and IEP committee sessions, contributing to better results at school and post-school level. The special education department needs to make sure that the level of participation and agency assessment are adequate. The department should check the signature for the applicant in the segment on participation steps, attendance, and include a structured or informal examination of vocation.

    External accountability: The district should work on identifying the barriers to serving students in the population of interest; among these barriers was a lack of training in the area for the jobs. The district should encourage developing careers in the areas of childcare, food services, landscaping, office assistant, and custodial assistant. The school district, administrators, special education director should create programs for face-to-face options, such as agency fairs, panel discussions, and meet-and-greet opportunities to prevent information gaps and allow for clarification and understanding. Such information sharing between agencies and schools, in particular, must be an ongoing process by necessity due to the continually changing landscape of legislation, policies, procedures, staff, and students (Povenmire-Kirk et al. 2017).

    Final Thoughts

    The primary goal of education for most high-school students is the successful and seamless transition to independent living, community engagement, employment, and post-school education. Students at the high-school level mostly identify their future goals and network with friends and support-systems, a process that could be very hard for students living with disabilities. Consequently, adult-service providers and school personnel must collaborate with and help students living with disabilities realize their goals per the requirements of the Federal laws such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (2015) and the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) OF 2004. A successful model for interagency cooperation and collaboration within the academic environment is the ”Communicating Interagency Relationships and Collaborative Linkages for Exceptional Students (CIRCLES)’’ model (Povenmire-Kirk et al., 2015). It is within this model where Fullan’s Coherence Framework is found.

    As a special education educator, I need to ensure the effective sharing of both the program and environment data with the pertinent stakeholders. I need to create a system that provides an update to each stakeholder in case of an amendment. Nevertheless, there is a need to ensure that various meetings will be carried out pertaining to the system update (Fullan, 2016). The sharing will provide aid in ensuring that all the stakeholders in the organization are well aware of the current status of the program and environmental data. Updating pertinent stakeholders will help in ensuring that the formulation process, amendment process, and the implementation process experiences a smooth workflow because there will be effective coordination among these stakeholders.

    References

    Fullan, M., & Quinn, J. (2016). Coherence: The right drivers in action for schools, districts, and systems. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

    Fullan, M. (2015). Coherence: Putting Your Inner Drive into Overdrive. Retrieved from michaelfullan.ca/ Motion Leadership.

    Fullan, M. (2017). Leading in a Culture of Change. John Wiley & Sons.

    Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, 20 U.S.C. §1400 et seq.

    (2004).

    Povenmire-Kirka, T., Diegelmanna, K., Crumps, K., Schnorr, C., Testa, D., Flowers, C. and

    Aspela, A. (2017). Implementing CIRCLES: A new model for interagency collaboration in

    transition planning. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation 42, 51–65

    Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)(2015). Workforce Development Activities. Retrieved from

    https://cte.ed.gov/legislation/about-wioa

    .

    Action Plan Title

    Program Goal

    Implementation

    Evaluation-Updates

    Action Steps to Complete

    By When

    By When

    By Whom

    Resources: What Is Needed for This to Happen?

    Progress Notes

    Running Head: EDUCATION FOR THE DIABLED YOUTH

    1

    EDUCATION OF THE DISABLED YOUTH 2

    Education for the Disabled Youth

    Name

    Institution Affiliation

    Date

    Education for the Disabled Youth

    During the collaboration meeting segment with my team members, we were able to table several issues that tend to affect the students with disabilities. One of the primary concerns was the right to education. Previously the youth born with various disabilities did not receive a quality education, and for those who are privileged to go to school, the education that they reviewed was of low standards; thus, they did not graduate to other higher or advanced levels of education such as post-secondary education. We were able to discuss the various strategies and measures which are needed to be put in place so as to address the issue of education for the children and youth born with various disabilities issues. Nevertheless, the program is designed to ensure that people are not only provided with a basic education but also they are subjected to equal employment opportunities (Fullan, 2017). Providing employment opportunities to such individuals will help eradicate the issue of over-dependency on their family members and the entire state at large. Employment will help the disabled to earn their respective incomes, and thus they can meet their day to day requirements. The program thus aims at transforming the lives of students with disabilities right from high school to adult life. Various students have various strengths in different fields of operation; thus, the program aims at nurturing the skills and competence that various disabled youths have in order to prepare them for a greater tomorrow.

    The teachers’ feedback showed confusion regarding the positions of partners in change preparation. We agree the partnership among school staff and organizations is inadequate. Instructors and parents claimed that in transfer meetings, there is little presence and planned accountability of organizations. In conjunction with education, interdepartmental cooperation will enhance students ‘ conscience-determination abilities, student engagement at the school level, and IEP committee sessions, contributing to better results at school and post-school level. Teachers and parents stressed the importance of career training for children with disorders in transfer preparation

    There were to the main area of need addressed. They include the level of participation and agency assessment. There was no signature for the applicant in the segment on participation steps, and there was no amount of attendance. The survey questions for the department were incomplete, so there was no structured or informal examination of vocation. The bulk of ARD sessions were not attended by guardians.

    The following steps will be taken to ensure continuity in program evaluation.

    · Follow up after the transition

    · Administrative support for transition

    · Incorporating the use of a variety of funding sources

    · Conducting agency meetings with both the family and the students

    · Ensure proper training of both the families and students.

    In order to ensure effective sharing of both the program and environment data with the pertinent stakeholders, there is a need for formulating a system that provides an update to each stakeholder in case of an amendment. Nevertheless, there is a need to ensure that various meetings will be carried out pertaining to the system update (Fullan, 2016). This will provide aid in ensuring that all the stakeholders in the organization are well aware of the current status of the program and environmental data. Updating pertinent stakeholders will help in ensuring that the formulation process, amendment process, and the implementation process experiences a smooth workflow because there will be effective coordination among these stakeholders.

    References

    Fullan, M. (2016). Professional culture and educational change. School psychology review, 25(4), 496-500.

    Fullan, M. (2017). Leading in a culture of change. John Wiley & Sons.

    Appendix C

    Action Plan Title

    Collaboration between schools and agencies

    Program Goal
    · The goal is to achieve the desired outcomes for the students.
    · Effectively utilized the outcomes in order to provide assistance and their parents to develop a positive future.

    Implementation

    Evaluation-Updates

    Action Steps to Complete

    When

    When

    By Whom

    Resources: What Is Needed for This to Happen?

    Progress Notes

    follow-up after the transition

    Immediately after implementation

    Follow up team

    Questionnaires forms

    administrative support for transition

    After the follow-up

    Heads of administration

    using a variety of funding sources,

    During the implementation phase

    Stakeholders

    Having different funding sources

    agency meetings with students and families,

    Before the introduction of the program

    Various agency representatives

    A selected area where all the parties can coverage

    training students and families

    During the implementation process

    Trainers from the agency

    Training appliances

    TRANSITION PROGRAM
    OISD SPED

    CIRCLES

    Agenda
    Introduction/ breaking the ice/common ground activity
    School members introduction
    History of Transition
    Facts and Data
    Define Transition Services in Texas
    Introducing CIRCLES/ short video
    CIRCLES Teams
    Guiding Questions

    I Introduction
    Form equal sized teams of 3-6 players. Give each team a sheet of paper and a pencil. Tell teams their challenge is to list everything they can think of that all team members have in common.
    Tell teams they have three minutes to create their lists, so they need to work quickly. To add to the excitement, tell the teams when they have 1 minute left, thirty seconds, and so forth.
    When time is up, find out which team has the longest list and ask them to read the similarities they listed. Then ask teams whose similarities have not already been
    How easy was it to discover something in common with another group member?
    • How can similarities draw us closer together? read aloud to read some of theirs.
    Introduction to the Team members
    Define Stakeholders
    Introduce IEP participation measures

    History Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
    IDEA 1990
    Driven by parents
    Concede that children
    given FAPE
    BUT graduating to
    WHAT??
    Transition mandated
    Linkages to agencies
    Is based on the individual student’s needs, taking into account the student’s preferences
    and interests; and
    3. Includes —
    (i.) Instruction;
    (ii.) Related Services;
    (iii.) Community Experiences;
    (iv.) The development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives; and
    (v.) If appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.

    Texas Requirements
    All Texas Public School Districts Including Charter Schools
    Students Receiving Special Education Services
    By Primary Disability
    PEIMS Data 2018-2019
    Statewide

    Primary Disability
    OI OHI AI VI DB ID ED LD SI AU DD TBI NCEC
    3,593 76,291 7,028 3,884 310 56,886 31,789 163,688 107,668 71,951 25 1,325 7,553

    Transition planning begins no later than age 14

    Through the Years
    at OISD
    Middle School
    Career Exploration
    General Knowledge of Careers
    Development of
    Social Skills
    Decision making
    Self determination
    Self-advocacy
    Development of work ethic and responsibilities
    Identify preferences, needs, and interests
    Development of Transition Plan (Age 14)
    Graduation options discussion

    Through the Years
    at OISD
    High School
    Career Preparation
    Demonstration of general knowledge of careers
    Implementation of
    Social Skills
    Decision making
    Self determination
    Self-advocacy
    Demonstration of work ethic and responsibilities
    Implementation of Transition Plan
    Graduation Path Determined (end of 8th grade)

    OISD Special Education
    Vision
    OISD Develops responsible citizens by creating equal opportunities for all students through personal relationships that foster innovative leaders prepared to be successful in a global society.
    Demographics of SPED students
    9% of the students in OISD are SPED.
    Elementary School: 3% SPED students including Speech Impairments students who are instructional settings.
    Ethnicity: 98% White 1.5% Hispanic 0.5 % other races
    Middle School/JR High: 3% of the students are SPED.
    Race/Ethnicity: 99% White 1% other races
    High School: 3% SPED ED. 98% White and 1% Hispanic and 1% other races.
    Students for transition services for the 2019-2020 who turned 14 and older
    Total students: 91
    After High School planning is very important
    Community College, College, or University
    Competitive Employment
    Supported/Integrated/Customized Employment

    DATA to Review
    The student transition planning supplement
    annual IEP documents
    transition goals and objectives
    parents’ input
    informal and formal vocational assessments
    student’s interviews

    IEP Meeting

    SPED Students Transition Services at OISD
    coordinated set of activities
    promotes movement from school to post-school activities
    outcome-oriented process
    individual student’s needs
    student’s preferences and interests
    Examples of Transition Activities
    Practice self-advocacy skills
    Participate in community service, in-school work
    experiences, or job shadowing
    Learn shopping, cooking, housekeeping skills

    Welcome to the CIRCLES

    Multi-Level Approach to Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities
    Community Level Team
    School Level Team
    IEP Team

    Community Level Team
    Agencies/Service Providers
    In Texas/ Southeast Texas:
    Texas Workforce
    Spindletop Center : A community mental health and intellectual and developmental disabilities center located in Southeast Texas.
    Lamar University three branches/Disability centers and services.
    Discuss policy/braid together resources
    Collaborate for service delivery
    Do NOT work directly with students
    Meet 2-4 times/year

    APPOINT a Representative to Serve on School Level Team

    Community Level Team

    School Level Team

    Work DIRECTLY with students/families

    Collaborate to provide services to INDIVIDUAL students

    See students from multiple schools for transition planning

    Meet Monthly

    AND – pre-plan transition goals for the IEP team

    What is a Team?
    group of two or more people who work together interdependently in order to address common needs and to pursue common goals. Over time and with much hard work, the group will become a team.
    Teamwork occurs when 1) roles are clearly understood, 2) goals are clearly understood; 3) structures and practices are understood and agreed upon; and 4) interdependent relationship.
    What is Collaboration?
    Collaboration is about delivering results across boundaries. It requires: a) letting go and trusting your partners; b) going beyond your own tribe; and c) recognizing that you can’t control complex systems. (Archer & Cameron, 2009)
    OUR TEAMS: comprised of direct service providers (e.g., case managers, counselors)
    Junior High: School counselor, diagnostician, administrator, Sped ed director.
    High School: School counselor, diagnostician, administrator, CTE teachers, sped ed director.
    The SLT members will be trained in what CIRCLES is, and what is expected from them. Let them know the schedule for the SLT meetings for the year (developed with Teacher and District Staff input).

    Student Level or IEP Team
    School Personnel, Related Services Personnel Specific to Individual Students
    Prepare students to present at the School Level Team meeting
    Bring pre-planning from School-Level Team back to the IEP meeting to
    Write transition goals

    Community
    Team

    IEP Team

    School Team

    Post School Outcomes for Students with Disabilities

    Sharing Cake
    Collaboration is about sharing resources, problem-solving, and ensuring access to available services.
    Why is CIRCLES a good idea?
    Interagency collaboration is supported by research
    CIRCLES facilitates and enhances the process of transition planning
    CIRCLES supports IDEA
    CIRCLES provides evidence for Indicator 13
    CIRCLES assists in overcoming barriers to interagency collaboration

    CIRCLES Supports IDEA
    A coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability that is designed to be within a results-oriented process that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation (300.42(a)(1).
    IDEA: School System Accountability For Agency Follow-through
    If a participating agency fails to provide agreed-upon transition services described in the IEP of a student with a disability, the public agency must reconvene the IEP team to identify alternative strategies to meet the transition objectives for the child set out in the IEP (300.324(c)(1).
    If the transition component indicates that an adult service provider is going to provide a service and the agency fails to follow-through – it is the responsibility of the IEP team to reconvene and determine a strategy for obtaining an alternative strategy. – CIRCLES makes people feel more accountable.
    It is important to have adult service input PRIOR to making them the “responsible person” on the transition component for a service or activity – A School Level Team provides this opportunity.

    Guiding Questions
    Where does the student want to go?

    The desired post-school outcomes of the student are stated, including
    Post secondary education/training
    Employment
    Community living
    Residential
    Participation
    Recreation/leisure
    What will the student learn and be able to do?
    Within this multi-year plan, the IEP team must decide what specific transition activities in which the student will participate each year to achieve
    each year to achieve the post-school outcomes.

    Team
    Problem Solving
    Shared Decision Making
    Student/Family/School/Community
    Families as Equal Partners
    Recognizing the Critical Role of Families in All Transition Activities.

    Thank You for Being a Part of My CIRCLES

    References
    Archer. D., and Cameron, C. (2014). Collaborative Leadership: Building Relationships, Handling Conflict and Sharing Control (2nd ed.). Human Resource Management
    International Digest, 22
    Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq. (2004).
    Povenmire-Kirk, T. Diegelmann, K.M., Test, D.W., Aspel, N., and Everson, J.M. (2015). CIRCLES: An Implementation Guide. Retrieved from
    https://circles.uncc.edu/
    Texas Education Agency (2018). Special Education Reports. Retrieved from
    https://rptsvr1.tea.texas.gov/adhocrpt/adser.html

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