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Stay Engaged with Students Webinar Notes

Notes from the April 16, 2020 How to Stay Engaged With Young Students as well as Older Teenagers in Transition While Our Physical School Sites and Employers Are Closed Webinar.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Main Web Page

Date: April 16, 2020
 Kristin Brooks, Riverside County Office of Education and Kevin Schaefer, Eldorado County Office of Education; Supporting Inclusive Practices Project (SIP)
Panel Members (in order of appearance): Joe Xavier, Department of Rehabilitation; Val Wiltse, Monterey County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA); Gavin Mirigliani, Los Angeles Unified School District; Gilbert Richards, Los Angeles Unified School District, Liz Zastrow, Lodi Unified School District; Karen Honkala, Lodi Unified School District; Denise Mangrum Lodi Unified School District

Today we will discuss how to stay engaged with young students as well as older teenagers in transition while our physical school sites and employers are closed. While this current situation is not how we would ideally go about serving students, we can provide support and education if we all work together. Innovation is the key. Districts across the state are at different stages and have different resources. The information that we share here is meant to spark ideas for what is possible for your students.

Joe Xavier, Department of Rehabilitation (DOR)

  1. Looking forward to the future: response vs. planning
    1. The work and problem solving done today will impact how other situations are faced 20 years from now
      1. Health aspects
      2. Social implications
      3. Economic implications
    2. Rather than have low expectations, we must challenge youth with disabilities. Overcoming challenges is what empowers them and gives them a pathway to their future
  2. Once planned, how are the strategies implemented?
  3. What does normal look like in today vs 2021,2023, and so on
  4. The goal of DOR is to build the hard skills and social skills of students with disabilities to be successful in the workforce and to earn a living wage.
  5. DOR endorses the California Surgeon General’s posted material on dealing with stress.

Val Wiltse, Monterey County SELPA

How Monterey County is working together to build capacity and improve practices in secondary transition.

  1. The CDE website regarding secondary education, resource link will connect you to transition planning basics.
    1. Individualized education program (IEP) development
    2. Meeting Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates
  2. Monterey County SELPA hosted a workshop on secondary transition basics; Transition is a process, not a document.
  3. Subjects covered at the workshop:
    1. Effective transition language in the IEP that is consistent with current legal mandates
    2. Federal and State legislation
    3. Predictors of positive outcomes in employment, education, training, and independent living
  4. California Transition Alliance (CATA) recognizes the value of this type of workshop and developed a “Train the Trainer” program to train individuals to train and support their local areas. This program covered all areas of transition, including:
    1. Employment
    2. Independent living
    3. Compliance
    4. Guide posts for success
  5. Monterey County SELPA recognized the value in the Train the Trainer program. Utilizing the resources of the CATA, they developed a program based on this model to serve their county.
    1. Guides and supports districts through a self-assessment of their secondary transition programs
    2. Trains classroom staff in the areas of:
      1. Task analysis
      2. Reinforcement
      3. Prompting
      4. Data collection
  6. Soledad Unified School District was the first to receive the secondary transition support. Based on their assessment of secondary transition they recognized an immediate need in their adult transition program.
    1. Phase 1- Trainer of Trainers training
    2. Phase 2- Implement models outlined in the training
      1. Student Center
      2. Planning of job exploration
      3. Post-secondary employment
      4. Education options
      5. Work based learning experiences
      6. Community based experiences
        1. Local emergency response teams
        2. Government
      7. Workplace readiness centers were created in the areas of:
        1. Hospitality
        2. Food service
        3. Clerical
        4. Interior design
        5. Industrial
        6. Auto detail
        7. Handmade items: Soledad Sewing Company
      8. While assisting students in improving their functional and daily living skills, keeping in mind their self-advocacy skills
  7. Soledad USD implements a person-centered approach at Soledad High School
    1. Determining a student’s “dream job” or passion
    2. Look at these interests from a practical standpoint
      1. Is it a good fit?
      2. Can a “dream job adjacent” be identified?
  8. How does distance learning effect this?
    1. It has helped many students
      1. Students who struggle socially, are thriving in distance learning
      2. Video conferencing has improved collaboration
  9. Monterey SELPA is using different approaches with each individual district
    1. Zoom meetings
    2. Google classroom
    3. One on one using the above platforms

Gavin Mirigliani and Gilbert Richards, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)

How Willenberg Career and Transition Center, in the LAUSD, has achieved a 52% rate of graduates obtaining and maintaining jobs– more than double of the national average of 19.1%.

During this time of quarantine, it is important to ensure continuity of processes and programs by:

  1. Building and reinforcing connections with:
    1. DOR
    2. Regional Centers
    3. Local Businesses
  2. Identifying technology or other tools needed for students to use at home
  3. Identify new employment for students who have jobs in industries that are temporarily shut down
    1. Culinary
    2. Horticulture
    3. Print center
  4. Through the use of virtual classes and YouTube videos, develop different skills for job success
    1. Critical thinking and problem solving
      1. What to do when a job is different from day to day
        1. Example- supplies are missing on the second day. Does the student problem solve and figure out how to communicate to get the task accomplished?
      2. In the virtual classroom students are given a hypothetical problem scenario and are asked to discuss the problem, solutions, and consequences to the solutions that they’ve developed and then determine the best choices.
    2. Strength of character
      1. Through a program called “Character Counts”, students learn about 6 pillars:
        1. Trustworthiness
        2. Respect
        3. Responsibility
        4. Fairness
        5. Caring
        6. Citizenship
      2. The same virtual classroom discussions are used around these topics
    3. For students with more physical and cognitive disabilities, the emphasis is on building life skills in the home.
      1. Teachers reached out to families to get a feel for what the situation and needs are at home. Materials are provided so that they family can access them whenever they need them rather than attending scheduled Zoom meetings, via YouTube and other recordings.
        1. Prerecorded stories
        2. Teaching life skills such as towel folding
        3. Helping sweep
      2. The same topics are covered using age appropriate materials
        1. Critical thinking and problem solving
        2. Citizenship
        3. Fairness, caring, sharing
      3. Engagement and happiness is the goal


Willenberg Career and Transition Center will continue to maintain connections with DOR, regional centers and local businesses. The transition center’s students are valuable employees. Many are social security recipients. The federal government offers tax credit to employers who provide jobs to those who receive social security benefits. During this time of economic struggle, this might be a good incentive for business to hire students.

During this time of quarantine, ensuring structure for students is key. Creating schedules while remaining flexible is important.

Liz Zastrow, Lodi Unified School District (LUSD)

Secondary transition planning begins long before the mandated age of 16. LUSD begins transition discussions as soon as preschool.

Given the task of increasing the percent of students who graduate and move on to college or making a living wage, they designed a program plan called Lodi Career Connections (LCC).

  1. LCC is made up of programs from:
    1. California Promise
    2. WorkAbility I
    3. Transition Partnership
    4. Paid Internships programs through the local regional center
    5. California Career Innovations
  2. LCC moved from a funding focused model to a student driven model. Rather than label a student as a WorkAbility student or a Transition Partnership Program student, the student’s needs were the focus.
  3. The program provides:
    1. Person-centered planning
      1. Identifying goals
      2. Identifying strengths
      3. Planning for the future
    2. Education for the student and family on Social Security
      1. Explaining how benefits can be maintained while working
      2. Developed a reporting and payment calendar for the year with lessons on rules.
    3. Lessons on positive self-advocacy and leadership
      1. IEP meetings
      2. Meetings with regional centers
      3. Social security meetings    
  4. LCC works at combining all transition programs into one set of goals, focusing on employability skills and parent connections
  5. LCC developed a student matrix that keeps track of what they are working on. The matrix is based on the five DOR student service areas.
    1. Meets secondary transition goals
    2. Flexible per grade and age
    3. Helped moving to distance learning easier
      1. Able to see what each student has completed for the year and determine at what point in the goal list distance learning should begin
  6. Work Based Learning from a distance
    1. Update student resumes
    2. Reviewing master applications
    3. Reviewing employer evaluations
    4. Complete work site self-evaluations
    5. Practice interview skills
  7. Job exploration from a distance
    1. CA Career Zone
      1. Assign activities and update portfolios.
    2. Look at volunteer opportunities
    3. Working on employment certificates
      1. Food handling
      2. First aid
      3. Microsoft suite
  8. Self-advocacy
    1. Updating person centered plans
    2. Work safety
      1. Identifying scams
      2. Learning coronavirus guidelines
  9. Post-secondary
    1. Applying for scholarships
    2. Virtual job shadows
    3. Virtual industry tours
    4. Online college tours

Karen Honkala, Lodi Unified School District

Mapping from preschool to employment. LUSD endeavors to raise the expectations of students and their families.

  1. Desired outcomes for all students including students with disabilities:
    1. Earning a diploma
    2. College as an option
    3. Employment 
      1. Earning a living wage
  2. Create Inclusive learning opportunities for all LUSD students, beginning with preschool, focusing on the pathway to employment.
    1. Develop career mapping activities for preschool ages students
    2. Create reasonable and achievable timelines
  3. Identifying desirable employment skills and adapting age appropriate lessons
    1. Problem solving
      1. Cause and effect
      2. Sorting
      3. Puzzles
    2. Leadership
      1. Line leader
      2. Show and tell
      3. Delivering message
    3. Listening
      1. Following directions
      2. Sounds BINGO
      3. Simon says
      4. Story time
    4. Communication
      1. Asking for help
      2. Raising hand
      3. Not interrupting
      4. Waiting
      5. Building expressive and receptive language
    5. Social
      1. Play
      2. Waiting
      3. Turn taking
      4. Games
      5. Response to name
    6. Gross motor skills
      1. Navigating environment
      2. Balance
      3. Strength
      4. Endurance
    7. Fine motor skills
      1. Drawing
      2. Puzzles
      3. Blocks
      4. Stringing beads
    8. Time management
      1. Task completion
      2. Waiting
      3. Regulation
    9. Other tasks
    10. Dressing
    11. Manners
    12. Eating
  4. LUSD provides online distance learning supports through:
    1. Seesaw
    2. ClassDojo
    3. Google Classroom
    4. ABC Mouse
    5. YouTube

Denise Mangrum Lodi Unified School District

LUSD checked in with families to determine their communication preferences and learned that although many had devices to communicate with they were mainly comfortable with email, texts, and handouts.

  1. The teachers communicated with families about their needs and assessed their situations.
    1. Parents work hours
    2. Other students in the home
    3. Other hardships
  2. Teachers are working with parents through phone calls and emails according to frequency on Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) and parent needs. Zoom is used for American sign language and progress is being made toward virtual visits.
    1. IFSPs and annual reviews are held via phone calls
    2. Communication is logged for each student
  3. In many cases teachers are finding it necessary to teach parents how to use technology or how to access and use virtual platforms.
    1. Professional development has been put in place to help teachers teach parents how to use the distance learning technology.
      1. Zoom
      2. Google Classroom
      3. Seesaw
  4. LUSD is working on solutions for parents who do not have access to internet connection or devices
  5. Early Start IFSPs
    1. Phone conferences
    2. Zoom
  6. Part C to Part B transitions
    1. IEPs
      1. Contact parent
      2. Send Prior Written Notice and waiver
      3. Mute all participants except for parent and the person speaking
      4. Determine if the parent has a printer and scanner for the IEP draft and signatures
        1. Prepared to use email and postage paid envelopes for signatures
        2. Scanner phone applications can also be used
          1. Photo Sign
          2. Genius Scan
          3. DocuSign
          4. Adobe Signature
          5. Cami
            1. Allows you to write “draft” on the IEP before giving it to the parent for signature
    2. Assessments Complete
      1. Reschedule IEP
    3. Assessment consent received but assessment incomplete, no consent, and referrals
      1. Complete all indirect assessments
      2. Find solutions for direct assessments
        1. Parent interviews
        2. Parent checklists
        3. Observation from virtual sessions or last time the student was seen
      3. Include statement regarding further assessment when school resumes
    4. Planning for placing students in least-restrictive environment
    5. Document all student communication

Future webinar schedule:

  • April 23rd— Addressing Mental Health and Behavior
  • April 30th— Related Services, Students with More Significant Disabilities, and Low Incidence Supports
Questions:   California Department of Education |
Last Reviewed: Monday, February 5, 2024