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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!


ASVAB: There’s an App for that!

asvab-passMy, how times have changed!  There seems to be an app for almost everything!  And, if you happen to know a student who is thinking that the military is just right for them, they can now practice for the ASVAB test with the help of an app!   But, unlike the days of old,  a high school diploma is required to enter most military branches today.

The ASVAB test consists of eight sub-tests, so taking practice tests helps the student have a better idea of what to expect, which can increase their final test score.

The list of apps is too long to even begin to list, even just for the free ones.  There are apps for Android/Google Play or for iPad/iPhones, depending on your need.

Of course, there are also free practice tests online as well, such as ASVAB Practice Test Online  or  ASVAB Practice Tests just to name a few!  And there are many options to purchase various study guides as well.

Bottom line, it is important for students to know that each branch of the military has a required AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test) score.  The AFQT score will determine whether they qualify to enlist in their particular branch of service.  The ASVAB test also produces several line scores, which are different for each branch of service. Line scores determine which military jobs the students are qualified for, so the higher their score, the more job opportunities they have.

Students who are determined that the military is right for them should  meet with the military recruiters when they come visit the school.  The High School Guidance Counselor can arrange for a specific recruiter to come, and then the recruiter can explain the requirements and expectations for that specific branch of service.

As students begin to explore post-secondary options, let’s help them understand all the facets involved…. simply by helping them know the steps that they need to take!





Important IEP Perspective…

As we focus on student’s IEPs, let’s remember to keep the focus that is highlighted below:


This is a great reminder that EACH of us have our own strengths AND weaknesses…. and we are constantly working to reach our full potential!  This is now printed and hanging on my wall as a daily reminder!  🙂


MAJOR CHANGE on the B13 Transition (Special Ed) Compliance Review Process

There has been a major change in the B13 Transition File Review process starting this year.  In the past, schools had been a part of a 5-year cycle that was followed by the state site visit.  The site visit process has been replaced with differentiated accountability.  This will now be the method used for the Special education file review.  Starting this school year in December, all districts in our AEA serving students of transition age (13 or above) will have IEPs randomly pulled by the Department of Ed.  Those districts that had been scheduled for a 2016-17 B13 file review will instead be included in this new file review process.  The criteria for review remain the same.  BOTTOM LINE:  chances are good that the MAJORITY/ALL of our schools will probably have IEPs pulled for review this year!

So, what does that look like?  Beginning in the 2016-17 school year, the secondary transition file review will be conducted in a three-year cycle.  The first year of the cycle (2016-17), file reviews will be completed for every district across the state.  There will be 670 IEPs reviewed this year from each AEA.  This data will be used to set the desired threshold levels for universal, targeted and intensive support for the following year(s):

    • Districts in the universal level will not need to have IEP file reviews until the next statewide data collection period (3 years, the 2019-20 school year).
    • Districts in the targeted and intensive support levels will have file reviews every year until the next statewide data collection period.  The resident AEA will be responsible for file review in Years 2 and 3 of the cycle.
      • Descriptions of the supports to be provided at each level will be shared later this year.

AEA staff will complete the file reviews during the data collection window beginning December 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017.   The IEPs to be reviewed will be randomly assigned and equally distributed across all AEAs.  This means that AEAs will be reviewing IEPs from districts outside of their own AEA.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact either of the transition coordinators (Diane Nelsen @  or Elaine Cook @ ) or Chris Wells @ .



Transition Teacher Training – October 27th

We are offering an all day Transition Training:  Roadmap to Success on Thursday, October 27th at the Pocahontas AEA office from 9:00 – 3:00.

This is a repeat of the well-attended transition training we had last year for special education teachers.

We are offering it again for those NEW special education teachers serving Middle & High School transition-aged students OR for those sped teachers who were not able to attend last year due to scheduling conflicts.

This training will be limited to the first 60 teachers who register.

Registration closes on Friday, Oct. 14th.

To attend, register by clicking on  TRANSITION TRAINING.

We will be covering many transition topics, from IEP alignment to basic information on Voc Rehab and County Waiver Services.

Email us if you have any questions.   We hope to see you there!!