Throughout June, we will celebrate the graduating high school class of 2020. This third blog in the series highlights two students from Maryland’s Way2Work program. Stay tuned as the graduates featured in this blog will also be part of the VR 100 webinar series in August.
Congratulations graduates! A spotlight on Way2Work Maryland participants
Way2Work Maryland is a partnership between the University of Maryland’s Center for Transition and Career Innovation and the Division of Rehabilitation Services through the Maryland State Department of Education. It is a project designed to improve the academic and career success of students with disabilities in Maryland through work-based learning experiences. The project serves students with either an Individualized Education Program or a 504 Plan who will complete high school with a diploma or certificate.
Throughout June we will celebrate the graduating class of 2020.
This second blog in the series highlights three students who participated in the District of Columbia public schools’ Project SEARCH program.
Congratulations graduates! A spotlight on DC’s Project SEARCH participants
By Sah Brown, Principal, Eastern High School; and Aimeé Cepeda, Ed.D., Principal, River Terrace Education Campus, DC Public Schools
Project SEARCH is a one-year “school-to-work” transition program designed to prepare DCPS adult students with intellectual and other developmental disabilities for competitive employment. Project SEARCH interns receive daily instruction in employability skills and gain hands-on work experiences by rotating among three 10-week unique paid internships at a one of four Hilton Worldwide host site locations. The goal for each student is competitive, integrated employment by the end of the experience.
Throughout June, OSERS will celebrate the graduating high school class of 2020.
This first blog in the series highlights three students who participated in the Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program.
Congratulations Graduates! A Spotlight on Participants of Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools
By Andrea Cahn, Project Director & Vice President for Unified Champion Schools
The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program is aimed at promoting social inclusion through intentionally planned and implemented activities affecting systems-wide change. With sports as the foundation, the three-component model offers a unique combination of effective activities that equip young people with tools and training to create sports, classroom and school climates of acceptance. These are school climates where students with disabilities feel welcome and are routinely included in, and feel a part of, all activities, opportunities and functions.
NOTE: 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program.
Vocational rehabilitation helps student gain confidence and discover passion for public speaking
By Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation
(part of the Adult Learning & Rehabilitation Services, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)
Kelsey Redding wasn’t sure if Missouri’s vocational rehabilitation was right for her when she first became aware of the program. She had been going through a difficult time in her life, living first with a friend and then with a married couple who worked as teachers at her high school. She had no confidence she would even be able to get a job.
However, Kelsey persisted and participated in a VR work experience during the summer between her junior and senior years at East Carter High School in Ellsinore, Missouri. She started out as a shelf stocker at a Town & Country grocery store then moved up to working as a checker.
“Having a job felt really good,” she said, “especially saving money up for a car.”
Remote education and supporting elementary and secondary students with disabilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Cross-posted from the Office of Ed Tech
Understanding how to best address the needs of students with disabilities during extended school building closures is a challenging task. Students with disabilities in elementary and secondary schools include those who have an individualized education program (IEP) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and students who are not IDEA-eligible but who have disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Title II) and are receiving services as outlined in the Section 504 regulations (often referred to as a Section 504 Plan).
NOTE: 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program.
Kathy West-Evans: Director of Business Relations, CSAVR
Christopher Pope, RSA
OSERS’ Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) partnered with the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation’s National Employment Team during National Disability Employment Awareness Month in 2018 to highlight the partnership between state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies and Kwik Trip, a convenience store company with roots in the Midwest.
The partnership with Kwik Trip is a positive example of how the VR program serves a dual customer—both individuals with disabilities and business.
NOTE: May is Better Hearing and Speech Month
By Amy Holbert, chief executive officer of Family Connection of South Carolina
Family Connection of South Carolina is pleased to join the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and the American Speech Language and Hearing Association in celebrating Better Hearing and Speech Month.
Family Connection of South Carolina is excited to announce a new communication tool launched earlier this month in the spirit of this year’s theme, “Communication at Work!”
Family Connection of South Carolina—in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Education—launched a family-centered, early language and literacy communication service for parents of preschoolers.
“Text2Read” (T2R) is a free mobile-based program offering practical information about child development and low-cost language and literacy activities for young children. The service is a confidential, easy-to-use resource for parents to help prepare their child for kindergarten and to become ready to read.
Promoting Children’s Mental Health Awareness
Linda Gilkerson and Pamela Epley
Linda Gilkerson, Ph.D., LSW, is a professor at Erikson Institute where she directs the graduate training programs in infancy and infant mental health.
Pamela Epley, Ph.D., is an associate clinical professor and director of special education at Erikson Institute.
ED: We are celebrating Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day in May. Could you tell us what efforts you have been involved in to improve the quality of early childhood programs and services to better address young children’s mental health?
Infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH) is synonymous with healthy social-emotional (SE) development and robust early learning, including the ability to regulate and express emotions; form close personal relationships; and explore the environment and learn in the context of family, community, and culture. Over the past years, we have worked with Illinois’ Early Intervention (EI) system to increase its focus on children’s SE development. We’ve done this by promoting relationship-based services, more systematic screening of SE development, and the addition of SE Consultants.
Kristen Kushiyama, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
Most schools in the United States shut their doors almost two months ago and switched from traditional classrooms to distance learning environments.
Families moved to adapt to at-home school settings while also having to shift their own work schedules and environments. Teachers, many of whom also had to account for their own children’s schooling, raced to prepare learning packets and modify in-classroom instruction to support their students from afar.
U.S. Department of Education grant-funded centers started to release resources and materials specific to helping support families, educators and service providers during a pandemic.
By Office of Special Education Programs
We were overwhelmed by the positive feedback we got on our first release, OSEP Fast Facts: Children Identified With Autism, and are excited to present OSEP Fast Facts: Children Identified With Emotional Disturbance. For this Fast Fact, we present data from the 12 data collections authorized under IDEA Section 618 on children identified with a primary disability of emotional disturbance. Data presented includes that collected through Part B child count, educational environments, discipline and exiting data collections authorized under IDEA Section 618.