Skip to content

Recent Articles


Iowa Work-Based Learning Workshop – April 2-3, 2019

The Iowa Work-Based Learning Coordinators’ executive committee is excited to invite MOC coordinators, CTE teachers, work-based learning coordinators, business partners, and interested colleagues to join us for our professional development workshop on Tuesday, April 2 and Wednesday, April 3, 2019. This workshop is a collaborative and personalized learning and networking event.

Holiday Inn Des Moines Airport and Conference Center

6111 Fleur Drive

Des Moines, IA 50321

Topics will include updates on work-based learning teaching certifications, OSHA, child labor, insurance information, best practices for making business connections, developing the best training plans and agreements, marketing to families and so much more. This year we have built in even more discussion and networking time including an afternoon social event on Tuesday.

We have a great lineup of breakout sessions and speakers this year to help you develop the best program possible. This event also includes our annual business meeting and voting for new executive board.

Early bird registration through March 1st – saves you $20.   CLICK HERE to register

Register by March 25th to guarantee meals and conference materials.

We do have a limited event capacity, so don’t delay!

Learning Today • Leading Tomorrow


Graduation Guidance for IEP Teams

As stated in the last post on Graduation Requirements, the Iowa Department of Education as released an updated version with some additional information.   Click Graduation Guidance for IEP Teams for the latest information how how these changes may impact our students on IEPs.

Please carefully help plan your students’/children’s class schedules as we wait for more details to be released.  Remember, this will impact this year’s freshman class.


Graduation Requirements

Our last Vitals for Transition zoom was on changes in graduation requirements that were sent out by the Iowa Department of Education  earlier this fall.

The document can be found here:  Administrative Consideration for Changes in Definition of Diploma

This change will impact this year’s freshman class, so it is critically important that we ensure that students’ second semester schedules (or second trimester) are well thought through with this new change.  Curriculum mapping may need to be done for classes being taught in the reverse consultation model to show alignment with the Iowa Academic Standards in order to fulfill graduation requirements.

Here is the video of our conversation:

It is vitally important to take the time NOW to make sure your freshman (and this year’s eighth graders) schedules are purposefully planned to help them reach their full potential in regards to these changes.


Register soon for this great Transition Opportunity in our own backyard!!

Join us October 24-26 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for the 2018 DCDT International Conference

Pre-Conference: October 24, 2018
Conference: October 25-26, 2018

The International DCDT (Division on Career Development & Transition) Conference is going to be in our great state of Iowa this October!  This is the perfect opportunity to hear the most current updates in transition for our youth.

For registration and hotel information, please click DCDT 2018

Please consider taking time to attend this conference, especially since it has never been in our own backyard before!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Elaine Cook




Your Proposal is needed ASAP!! Let’s show them all the GREAT things we’ve got going in Iowa!!

You are invited to submit a proposal to present at DCDT’s 2018 International Conference,

“River of Dreams” in Cedar Rapids, Iowa!

The Iowa Department of Education has agreed to pay for one day of registration for Iowa educators whose proposals have been accepted!  This is a great opportunity, so get your proposals in now and save some $$ for this great transition conference in October!!

Deadline for Submission: April 23, 2018 at 11:00 pm
Decision Date: June 30, 2018

Link for Submission:        (You will need to create a 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

The Iowa DCDT board, as well as, the National DCDT board are requesting participation from Iowa educators across the state. We would like to showcase the resources, collaboration, and special projects that are occurring in the area of transition.  You guys do awesome work, so grab a friend and write  up that proposal!

So, to submit your proposal, click:


**SIGNIFICANT CHANGES to the SAVE (4+) Program at ILCC/Emmetsburg for next Fall

Please read the message below from SAVE Coordinator Michelle Kogel.  There are significant changes to the SAVE program starting next fall.  If your districts had prospective students heading there for next year, you may need to check with Michelle to see if their status has changed/ or if this is still an appropriate option for the student based on the program changes.  Please let us know if you have any questions.


There are changes within the housing department for fall 2018.

There will no longer be a structured dorm setting available to students.


The only housing option available for fall is the independent dorm setting. Students will eat meals in dining services and have the same expectations as all students living within the housing environment.


Additionally it is important to note that in the past, the college has offered a structured dorm setting which included breakfast and lunch eaten as a group rather than in dining services along with a school night evening curfew. This option will no longer be available for the 2018-2019 academic year.


SAVE is notifying school districts in order for IEP teams to be aware of this change.

MIchelle Kogel’s  contact information is below:


When we know more, we will keep you posted.


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