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International Transition Conference coming to Iowa next October

We are looking for special education teachers, AEA & university personnel who would like to present at the upcoming DCDT Conference in Cedar Rapids in October, 2018.

You are invited to submit a proposal to present at DCDT’s 2018 International Conference, “River of Dreams” in Cedar Rapids, Iowa!

Submission Information

You will need to create a log-in. If you submitted a proposal last year, you will need to create a new log-in. Once the proposal is submitted, you will receive a confirmation email and a link to review your proposal for any changes before it is reviewed.

Submission Directions and Information
Review Criteria for Proposals

Let’s show them all the great ways we are doing transition in Iowa!


Special Education Summer Symposium

Date: Monday, June 11, 2018 – 9:00am to Tuesday, June 12, 2018 – 3:00pm


Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center
833 5th Ave
Des Moines, IA 50309

Register at:


Featured Plenary Speakers (scheduled)

Dr. Rosemarie Allen

Dan Rockwell “Leadership Freak”

Chris Ulmer

Strand Topics and Highlights

Family Engagement – “The Power of Relationships”  

Presentations will focus on research of, strategies for, and personal experiences with family-school relationships. Content includes relationship-based approaches to family engagement, “The Dance of Partnership” by Janice Fialka, and the global journey of Chris Ulmer, a former special education teacher who travels the world interviewing people who are neuro-diverse in an effort to demonstrate the benefits of inclusion.

Secondary Transition – “Making Connections to Employment”

Presentations will focus on the continuum of services and partnerships to enhance student preparation for post secondary employment.  Content includes From High School to College: Steps to Success for Students with Disabilities featuring author Elizabeth C. Hamblet, recent legal cases presented by ISU’s Dr. Angela Prince, collaborating with partners enriches opportunities for students, WIOA opens doors, and strategies for the classroom.

Significant Disabilities – “Ensuring Conditions for High Quality Specially Designed Language and Literacy Instruction”

Presentations will focus on the use of research evidenced-based language and literacy instruction aligned to the Iowa Core Essential Elements.  Content includes implementation of  Core Vocabulary featuring Dr. Karen Erickson, whose research is focused on communication, literacy, and academic instruction and assessment for students with significant disabilities.  Grant participants of the Significant Disabilities strand will also share their experiences and the system structures they have built to support implementation of Iowa’s Specially Designed Instruction Framework.

Leadership – “Strengthening Teams and Elevating Performance Through Intentional Leadership”

Sessions in this strand will be geared toward teacher-leaders and administrators. Dan Rockwell, also known as the Leadership Freak will facilitate an interactive session focused on maximizing the return on your energy as a leader.  He will share fresh ideas and strategies around accountability, feedback and positive culture. A few other highlights in the Leadership strand will include a 2 part “Hot Topics”  legal panel featuring Thomas Mayes and Miriam Van Heukelem, a Parent/School panel talking about Chapter 103b,a Coaching Workshop and a session on “Graduation Guidance” to support IEP teams in preparing students for post-school success.

K-12 Literacy – “High-Leverage Instructional Practices”

Sessions will focus on high-leverage instructional practices that fuel effective and efficient classroom interaction and student outcomes for persistently struggling readers.  Dr. Denise DeCoste will facilitate a panel discussion on how to use the Protocol for Accommodations in Reading (PAR/uPAR) and provide both basic and advanced sessions on The DeCoste Writing Protocol.  Other featured sessions include those by Linda Farrell (author and teacher, Readsters) and Wendy Robinson (Heartland Director of Instructional Services, SLP, dyslexia expert).

Early Childhood

The Early Childhood strand will include national experts Dr. Rosemarie Allen, Dr. Kristie Pretti-Frontczak, Larry Edelman, Mollie Romano, and Kat Cripe. Topics will include using technology in Early Intervention, Preschool Suspension and Expulsion, Torsh Talent, Family Guided Routines Based Intervention, and assessment in early childhood. Additionally, come learn from Iowa teachers about their experiences implementing the LEAP preschool model for children with ASD as well as hearing from participants in our work on high-quality Specially Designed Instruction through implementation of the DEC Recommended Practices.


The Behavior strand will address interventions when students exhibit problematic behaviors that interfere with their learning and/or social relationships.  Several sessions will include interventions for students diagnosed with mental illness (e.g., Anxiety, Depression) who display problematic behaviors by accounting for the function of behavior and providing skill development based in various therapies (i.e., Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness practices, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy).  Michigan’s Peer to Peer program will be introduced in sessions as a method to improve outcomes for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), students who are at-risk, and students having academic and behavior concerns.  Although the Peer to Peer program was designed for students with ASD to improve their engagement in the school community and to teach social and problem solving skills, outcomes were identified for students who served as the LINKS for the student with ASD to the school community.  Specifically, decreased behavioral referrals, improved grades, and improved attendance were seen by students who were identified as at-risk and having academic and behavioral concerns.

The price is right… there is NO REGISTRATION FEE to attend, but you must fill out the registration form above to reserve your spot!  Hope to see you there!


Encouraging Self-Advocacy for your students

As you know, helping our children/students to continually improve their self-advocacy skills is vitally important.  If you are looking for a simple tool to help, please go to An Educational Journey from Self-Discovery to Advocacy.  This handbook was revised by the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center, Inc. (CPAC) in partnership with the Connecticut State Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education, and Transition Consulting, LLC. Funding was provided by the Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitation Services.

This book  is divided into 5 chapters:
  • Chapter 1 – Disability Awareness
  • Chapter 2 – Learning to Self-Advocate
  • Chapter 3 – Transition: Career Planning and Community Connections
  • Chapter 4- Participating in Planning and Placement Team (PPT) Meetings
  • Chapter 5- Resources

Chapter 2 – Learning to Self-Advocate  has some very user friendly ideas that can be easily used in the classroom. Know that you can use any or all of these pages as a stand-alone item or done as the entire chapter.

Please remember to continually encourage your students to learn to speak up for themselves, as this will be a skill that will help them be as successful as they can be throughout their lives.





Summer Externship Experience for Teachers

We just got the following information today about Summer Externship Experiences for High School teachers.  This could provide some eye-opening work exploration options for teachers!  See the letter below to see if this is something you think could be a great opportunity for your hands-on learning:

What is an Externships?

An externship is an unique professional development opportunity for educators to connect the workplace to the classroom. It provides an opportunity for educators to spend time in a business/industry to learn through hands-on experience about practices related to their subject in order to improve and strengthen their teaching by bringing relevance to student learning.


The purpose of an externship is for educators to learn how classroom content and learning strategies apply in the workplace by engaging in daily activities of a local business and/or industry. Educators are able to build the bridge between knowledge and skill-based education by being updated about current workplace practices, requirements, and employability skills that meet current industry standards. The experience will be able to bring relevance to student learning by being able to tie real-world application to their lessons.


  • Provide a fresh perspective about today’s workplace and the skills students need to succeed.
  • Increase ability to explain the value of what students are learning and why it is relevant.
  • Provides an experience to learn new technology and first-hand knowledge of what businesses need and expect of its future workforce.
  • Ability to help students learn employability and adaptability skills in order to be prepared for the workforce.
  • Connect basic academic skills to employability skills by constructive conversation with business and industry.
  • Opportunity to have any questions answered by a business professional and aid in the design of a lesson plan.

Program Quick Facts

  • Educators will receive a stipend of $800 upon completion of an externship and its requirements during the summer.
  • Eight externships spots will be offered after being reviewed by the externship committee.
  • Educators will present to community members, business partners, principals, and economic developers about their experience.

Important Dates

  • February 5, 2018|Deadline for applications
  • February 6-13 | Set up interviews & contact administration reference
  • Week of February 19 | Applicant interview
  • August 1, 2018| Presentation

Externships Guidelines

Application Requirements

  • An applicant must be an educator in the high school setting.
  • An educator must complete the application fully including the administrator recommendation, externship agreement, and attach a resume.
  • Applicants must choose career fields or businesses that are relevant to their current position on the application to be considered for selection.
  • An applicant will be interviewed as part of the selection process due to limited number of participants.
  • No late applications will be accepted.
  • An applicant is ineligible if they have already done an externship the prior year. This gives other educators an opportunity to participate but still encourages past participants to have another experience.


  • Externs will be placed in only one business for one week. There will not be multiple placements given unless a business cannot accommodate an extern for a week.
  • There will be an emphasis on placing educators in jobs that are in demand in our area.
  • The committee has final say about placement and will use their own discretion on where they see fit for placement.

Extern Requirements

  • All required paperwork must be submitted prior to the start date of their externship. If the paperwork is not turned in the externship will be considered invalid.
  • If an extern does not communicate after three attempts by the Iowa Central staff, the extern will be dropped from the program.
  • The journal must be completed in full and turned in on the date of the presentation.
  • The presentation date is mandatory and no exemptions will be given. Presentations need to be completed in order to receive payment.

Presentation Guidelines

  • Presentation should not exceed 10 minutes.
  • Presentation has to be given on August 1, no exceptions.
  • Presentations should answer the following questions:
    • How can you help students be prepared for the workforce?
    • How can you implement workplace skills and knowledge into every day lessons to provide relevance of textbook learning to the workplace?
    • How can you utilize your experience to help students?
    • How do you plan to continue to foster your relationship with your business host?
    • What is one thing that you will take away from this experience?
  • The presentation should also touch on the lesson plan they created in the journal.

If you have any questions, please call Samantha Harms at 515-574-1076 or e-mail her at


New Assessments to check out

We hope you are all surviving the year so far!  Students, families and teachers alike have officially transitioned into the new school year and are off to a great start!

We have added several new assessments for you to check on out on our Moving Students Forward website:


Strengths, Interests, &  Preferences Pictures

This resource can be used with students/children who are non-verbal and/or need pictures to communicate their strengths, interests and preferences.  This is just a sample of what could be created for  a classroom using a variety of resources.  Thanks for sharing this great tool!




Transition Planning – Skills for Life 

Use the skill statements to help with the development of postsecondary transition goals and their supporting activities or services.  This transition assessment should be completed by the student, parents, and educational staff. Then compare the results from the multiple sources to develop a transition plan.
This survey definitely lives up to its name!  It is a great resource to use with your students. It asks a wide variety of questions that help students think about all the components of living, learning and working. This survey helps to document what the student’s current preferences are in regards to these areas.
 Career Cluster Interest Survey      This is a handy tool to help align your students’ interests to the 16 career clusters.  It is normal that student’s interests tend to change over time.  This survey is intended for use as a guidance tool to generate discussion regarding various careers for students.  Depending on your student’s reading
ability, it can be done independently or in a one:one setting where you go over each section together.

Student Dream Sheet

The Student Dream Sheet is a good resource to help students start connecting the dots to help them reach their dreams.   It asks some basic questions that make them start thinking about what they may need to do to reach their dreams/desired outcomes.  It addresses the living, learning, and working sections of the IEP.

Hopefully some of these new assessments will be just what you’ve been looking for!  🙂

Good reminder as we start the year…

Below is a link to an article  from the New York Times by Cammie McGovern from Aug. 31st.  It is an EXCELLENT example of the perspective we need to keep as we are working with students with various disabilities.  It is the perfect reminder that transition planning truly needs to be student-focused!

Read the entire article HERE

Have a great year, and remember, our whole purpose is to help students become as independent and successful as possible by the time they graduate!  So, may we truly listen to them and follow their lead, focused on potential possibilities!


Great information about Waiver Services

Below is an article from the University of Iowa Center for Disabilities and Development spring newsletter.  It has some great information on waiver services in Iowa, as well as, some helpful links.  Just wanted to share this.  Also, if you want to receive this newsletter via email, send your name and email address to: 


Summer Camp List

Thanks to ASK Resource Center for sharing this great information on summer camps!  Do your families know that they have many great options to send their kids to specific camps?  If not, please pass this on!  Summer Camp is a fun adventure for everyone!! 🙂

Summer is all about having FUN, and at ASK Resource Center we want to make it easier for Iowa kids with disabilities to access all the summer fun their hearts desire! Whether your family is planning a “stay-cation”, a sight-seeing road trip, or a vacation to Disneyland, planning is an essential component for a smooth-sailing summer. Our annual list of Iowa Summer Camps is here to help by offering travel planning tools and information about the various summer programs and activities available across the state!


Check out these helpful resources as you prepare your child for summer camp!

ASK Resource Center has more great information on transition under their TRANSITIONIOWA tab too, so check out all of their great tools on their website!


Together We Can Conference – May 6th

Could be a great day of learning!!


Click  CONFERENCE AGENDA to see more details.


The Role of the Paraeducator/Job Coach

The Role of the Paraeducator/Job Coach

The following excerpt, The Role of the Paraeducator – Job Coach is taken from the School-Based Job Coach Training Manual, which was created by  the Nebraska Department of Education – Job Coach Technical Assistance Guide.

It is a basic overview of several components, including:  the role of the paraeducator, the code of ethics, the role of the Job Coach, Job Coach Responsibilities, What is Task Analysis, and What is Job Training.

As schools work to increase the vocational skills of their students, especially in the junior/senior years of high school, it is more important to make sure our paraeducators have a strong understanding of the differences between being a classroom paraprofessional and that of a job coach, if they are serving dual roles.

It is critical that the job coach/paraprofessional understand how to do a task analysis of the job(s) that the student is assigned to do, and then to monitor the student’s progress at increasing their time on those tasks.  The job coach paraprofessional also needs to do a weekly evaluation of the student’s improvement of skills.  Most importantly, the job coach must fade the support that they have been providing as the student masters the job skills to ensure that they become as independent as possible at the job site.

There are a wide variety of evaluation forms that can be used, and may need to be developed in relationship to the specific job.  Some examples include:

This information can also be found under the RESOURCES tab:  Job Coach Resources

 As more information is released, we will keep you updated!