Thursday, September 18, 2003
Friday, September 19, 2003
Thursday, September 18, 2003
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Dr. David Johnson, director of the National Center on Secondary
Education and Transition (NCSET) at the University of Minnesota,
welcomed the National Leadership Summit participants on behalf
of NCSET and the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) of
the U.S. Department of Education. He introduced OSEP Director
Stephanie Smith Lee, who was instrumental in developing the National
Ms. Lee commented that the National Leadership Summit was an historic
event because it was jointly sponsored by numerous Federal agencies
and national organizations, and because representatives from across
the nation had come together to improve results for youth with
disabilities. She noted the importance of ensuring that children
get a positive start from the time of birth and that there is
a need to support youth’s self-advocacy and self-determination.
“No matter what your disability, it is critically important
to make your own decisions and speak up for yourself,” she
Forty-two states, including the Pacific Rim entities, U.S. Virgin
Islands, and Bureau of Indian Affairs were represented at the
Summit, with more than 250 individuals in attendance, Dr. Johnson
said. He acknowledged the collaboration of 15 partners in planning
and sponsoring the National Leadership Summit, and highlighted
the importance of this type of collaboration, particularly in
an environment of change within the Federal and State governments.
In conclusion, Dr. Johnson noted that the National Leadership
Summit would not only help the States and other entities to plan,
but also would provide valuable input to NCSET as it works increasingly
with State agencies to address issues surrounding positive outcomes
for persons with disabilities. He also announced that a follow-up
meeting would be held in 2005 to help continue the State planning
process and engage participants as they work toward goals.
^ Top of Page ^
Opening Keynote: "Improving Results: Living It"
Jonathan Mooney, Author and
Mr. Mooney began his lively, thought-provoking remarks by noting
that discourse about special education usually includes a lot
of "big voices," but that the perspectives of youth
with disabilities must be heard. He has been diagnosed with dyslexia
and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and his reading
level today is at the seventh grade level. While in school, he
was labeled one of "those kids" who get into trouble,
was afraid to read out loud, and was told that "people like
you end up flipping burgers or in jail." However, with support
from teachers and others, he was able to graduate from Brown University
with a 4.0 grade point average in English literature and is now
a published book author and a nationally known speaker.
People often ask him how he "fixed himself," but he
contends that he has not fixed himself. Rather, he changed the
paradigm in which he saw himself, and institutions changed to
fully include him. He then discussed four principles that could
help students with disabilities to succeed.
Understand the Socialization of Cognitive and Physical Difference.
Mr. Mooney expressed a need to shift the paradigm away from medical
model of disability that labels individuals and toward a social
constructionist model of disability. Labeling children as stupid/dumb,
bad/crazy, or lazy condemns them morally, making them feel that
they are "bad kids." Many people, including parents
and teachers, misunderstand and pathologize behavior such as not
sitting still in the classroom. There is a need to empower teachers
to think about what underlies behaviors that deviate from the
norm. Words such as "focus" engender shame and ultimately
get youth in trouble when they are simply being themselves.
Mr. Mooney also noted that "stupid" is a misconception
because there is no single, uniform intelligence-there are numerous
ways to be intelligent, but schools have not learned this. Children
with disabilities often are labeled and tracked in school as low-achieving,
leading them to live up to low expectations. They also are likely
to experience public humiliation twice as often as non-disabled,
non-labeled students, but these students "deserve respect
just for showing up." Children with disabilities also are
deemed to be lazy, and this label is reflected in the classroom,
on the playground, and at home. Anger develops as a result, and
many children become depressed. He emphasized the importance of
recognizing that children ask for help in different ways, including
through anger and giving up.
Balance a Remediation Ethic with an Empowerment Ethic.
Rather than trying to remediate individuals’ deficits, it
is important to look for ways to empower children with disabilities-moving
away from the service model to the empowerment model. Parents
are the experts on their children, but often are disempowered
by others who call themselves experts. There is a need to balance
parents’ voices with professional discourse. Mr. Mooney
recommended that States in which education investments are not
working change their systems to ensure that students’ and
parents’ voices are heard and respected. In addition, respect
for students with disabilities must be cultivated through teacher
training and school policies. It is also important for teachers
to understand individual students’ learning styles, ways
of thinking, and intellectual passions.
Go Beyond ADA Compliance and Full Inclusion. Mr. Mooney
suggested that persons with disabilities need to be accommodated
to be fully included, but there is a need to go beyond accommodations
and compliance to achieve full inclusion. Educators’ terminology
and practices often result in discrimination and should be tackled
head on in policy. For example, staff development and school policies
must humanize the issue of disability. He also noted that improving
employment opportunities for persons with disabilities is intrinsic
to successful transition and empowerment. However, the No Child
Left Behind Act (NCLB) has had a negative impact on preparing
students with disabilities for adult life. For example, vocational
education leads to validation and meaningful employment for many
students with disabilities, but vocational education opportunities
There is also a need to build bridges among disability groups
and to create forums to bring together people who represent the
broad spectrum of disabilities. For example, disability support
services at universities could work to join together disability
groups and students, and to raise disability awareness on campuses.
Universal design and universal instruction are also needed, as
are concrete accommodations, such as books on tape, note takers,
untimed tests or extended-time tests, individualized instruction
in higher education, project-based learning, and portfolio-based
assessment. These accommodations, Mr. Mooney said, are "the
moral equivalent of building a ramp for someone in a wheelchair."
Problematize the Social Construct of Normalcy. Mr. Mooney
closed his remarks by emphasizing the need to tell youth with
disabilities that they are not the problem-that normalcy is the
problem. "We need to fight against normalcy to liberate people
from the myth of normalcy," he said.
^ Top of Page ^
Distinguished Expert Address: "Sharing
National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 Data"
Mary Wagner, Principal Investigator,
Dr. Mary Wagner, principal investigator of the National Longitudinal
Transition Study-2 (NLTS2), presented key findings of the study.
Sponsored by OSEP, NLTS2 is assessing over a 10-year period the
characteristics, experiences, and results of a nationally representative
sample of secondary school age youth who were receiving special
education services in 2000 and who will transition to young adulthood
over the course of the study. The original NLTS study, conducted
between 1984 and 1993, helped to shape Federal special education
policy for more than a decade.
NLTS2 is the most comprehensive study of its kind. This nationally
generalizable study includes more than 11,000 students in 12 special
education disability categories who were ages 13 to 16 when the
study began in 2001. Data are collected through surveys of parents,
youth, general education teachers, and other school staff, as
well as from student transcripts. More than 500 school districts
and 38 special schools are participating in the study.
Dr. Wagner presented key NLTS2 Wave 1 (2001-02) findings, which
are highlighted below.
Secondary School Academic Experiences
- Education goals: Almost half of all students (47%)
planned to go to college. Ten percent of students with mental
retardation and 72% of students with visual impairments planned
to go to college.
- Course taking: Nearly all students took language
arts and math courses, and 21% took foreign language courses.
Science and foreign language course-taking increased 33 percentage
points between 1987 to 2001.
- Difference in taking academic courses in general education
settings: Academic course-taking increased 12 percentage
points between 1987 and 2001. Large increases were found among
students with hearing impairments and orthopedic impairments,
but no change was found for students with emotional disturbance.
- General education academic class level: Among students
in general education classes, 78% were in classes at grade level
and 21% were in classes below grade level.
- College entrance exams: Twenty-six percent of 11th
and 12th grade students in all disability categories combined
took college entrance exams.
- Reading and math abilities: Reading and math outcomes
were virtually identical.
- Ability to keep up in general education academic classes:
Only 14% of students with disabilities were above grade level
in reading, and only 16% of students with disabilities were
above grade level in math. Eighty-five percent and 32% of students
were five or more grade levels behind in reading and math, respectively.
- Grades: Thirty-two percent of students in special
education and 18% of students in general education received
mostly As and Bs.
- Progress toward postsecondary education goals: One-fourth
of students with disabilities were making a lot of progress
and two-thirds were making at least some progress toward postsecondary
Vocational Preparation and Work Experience
- Vocational goals: Forty percent of students with
disabilities who had transition plans had a goal of vocationally
oriented training, and 53% said they had a goal of competitive
- Vocational course-taking: More than half of students
with disabilities took occupational vocational courses, and
34% of students took prevocational courses. Between 1987 and
2001, there was a 15% decline in students taking vocational
- Vocational services and supports for students with disabilities
taking high school vocational course: Of students with
disabilities who took high school vocational courses, 51% received
career-skills assessment and 44% received career counseling.
- Work-related activities: Fifty-four percent of students
had been employed outside of work-study and outside of the home.
Half of the students worked at above minimum wage.
- Paid employment: Fifty-four percent of students with
disabilities had had paid work during the past year. The proportion
of students who had jobs and earned more than minimum wage increased
9 percentage points between 1987 and 2001.
- Progress toward vocationally oriented goals: Approximately
two-thirds of students were making at least some progress, and
one-third were making little or no progress toward vocational
- Social adjustment goals: Twenty-five percent of students
with disabilities had a social adjustment transition goal; the
rate was highest among students with autism (57%) and students
with multiple disabilities (56%).
- Social adjustment supports: Thirty-seven percent
of students with disabilities received substance-abuse education/treatment
services, which usually are schoolwide programs. Twenty percent
of students received mental health services; this figure increased
by 9 percentage points between 1987 and 2001.
- Disciplinary actions: One-third of students with
disabilities had been involved in disciplinary actions.
- Arrests: Twelve percent of all students with disabilities
had been arrested, and one-third of students with social and
emotional disabilities had been arrested.
- Progress toward social adjustment goals: More than
three-fourths of students with disabilities had made progress
toward social adjustment goals.
- Existence of transition planning: Eighty-nine percent
of students with disabilities had a transition plan (some students
may have been declassified as having a disability in 11th or
12th grade, or were not disabled in earlier school years).
- Initiation of transition planning: Transition planning
had begun by age 14 for 65% of students who had transition plans.
- Participants in transition planning: Special education
teachers were almost always (97%) participants in transition
planning, and parents/guardians and students participated at
least 85% of the time. Sixty-four percent of students received
explicit instruction in transition planning.
- Suitability of program to transition goals: Thirty-nine
percent of school staff said that students’ instructional
programs were very well-suited to their transition goals, and
43% said instructional programs were fairly well-suited to goals.
- Information about postschool services provided to families:
Fifty-seven percent of parents received information about postschool
- Postsecondary contacts made: State vocational rehabilitation
agencies were the contacts most commonly made (38%).
In response to a participant’s question about trends among
subgroups, Dr. Wagner explained that students with disabilities
are less likely to be poor now than in 1987. However, poor students
with disabilities still do not do as well as other students. In
addition, except in math, Hispanic students with disabilities
do better than African-American students in school. African-American
students with disabilities also have greater rates of behavior
problems and arrests than do other students with disabilities.
Download Mary Wagner's PowerPoint Presentation
( warning: very large file [21.3MB]
Further information about NLTS2 findings is available at www.nlts2.org
and the NCSET website at www.ncset.org
^ Top of Page ^
Select Distinguished Content Session Notes
See also Presentations, a listing
of all presentations and some PowerPoint slides.
Implications of NCLB and
IDEA Reauthorization Highlighted
During the National Leadership Summit, participants had the opportunity
to attend informative presentations by more than 25 renowned experts
from across the nation. At one of the Distinguished Content Sessions,
Dr. Martha Thurlow, director of the National Center on Education
Outcomes, offered insight into the implications of the No Child
Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the impending reauthorization of the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). She noted
that NCLB builds on IDEA and that there are links between NCLB
and IDEA reauthorization.
Dr. Thurlow first introduced key NCLB provisions: development
of grade-level standards and assessments that are aligned to those
standards; inclusion of all students, including students with
disabilities and those with limited English proficiency, in assessment;
a State accountability system that defines adequate yearly progress
to ensure that all students reach proficiency by target year 2014,
and a requirement for school improvement plans and consequences
if adequate yearly progress is not evident. She stressed that
NCLB does not require student-level accountability, but does require
system-level accountability to ensure that all students learn
at high levels.
The speaker also highlighted four recommendations for IDEA reauthorization
put forth by the President’s Commission on Excellence in
Special Education Recommendations : focus on results, not on process;
incorporate universal design in accountability; set high expectations
for special education; and hold local education agencies accountable
for results, with technical assistance provided.
Many challenges remain for improving secondary education results
for students with disabilities, Dr. Thurlow concluded. These challenges
- Many students who have not had the advantages of access to
the curriculum and standards-based education are behind and
cannot catch up.
- There is a need to integrate transition skills with NCLB and
IDEA academic requirements.
- Because teachers are unfamiliar with the standards, instructional
decisions often are made in the lower grades without regard
to standards requirements in the higher grades.
- Good accommodations decisions and practices are not being
made or implemented universally.
- Universally designed assessments do not exist; training, involvement
of special educators in item development, and sensitivity reviews
- Increasingly, students with disabilities are held to the same
standards as other students; therefore, alternative forms of
assessment (e.g., juried portfolio assessments) are needed.
- Variations in diploma options complicate matters for students
with disabilities, and more study of this issue is needed.
Experts Focus on Dropout Prevention
During one of the 12 Distinguished Content Sessions, three experts
discussed the important issue of dropout among students with disabilities.
Dr. Cammy Lehr, research associate at the Institute on Community
Integration at the University of Minnesota, opened the session
by noting that one in eight children in the United States does
not graduate from high school. According to OSEP, 29 percent of
students served under IDEA Part B during 2000-2001 dropped out
of school; in one State, the dropout rate for students with disabilities
was 70 percent. Addressing the dropout problem is critical, particularly
when school accountability and participation of students with
disabilities in standards-based systems are expected.
Dr. Lehr stressed the importance of research in informing practice
and improving graduation rates. She recommended several strategies:
establish procedures to accurately measure rates of school completion;
identify students who are at risk of dropout because of multiple
variables; implement interventions designed to address alterable
variables; ground interventions in a sound conceptual understanding
of dropout; identify interventions that show evidence of effectiveness;
use current conceptualizations of dropout to inform intervention
design and implementation; and identify interventions that show
evidence of effectiveness.
Dr. Olatokunbo Fashola, research scientist at the Johns Hopkins
University Center for Social Organization of Schools, said that
successful dropout prevention interventions are theory-based,
outcome-based, and research-driven, and show evidence of success
in specific populations. She stressed the need to understand research
on dropout interventions before adopting the interventions. For
example, she recommended asking questions about the study design-whether
experimental or quasi-experimental design was used, whether a
control/comparison group was included, how the study sites and
sample demographics were selected, and what the study limitations
were. She also highlighted several effective, research-based dropout
interventions, including programs that target Latino students
and first-generation high school students.
Dr. Chad Nye, executive director of the Center for Autism and
Related Disabilities at the University of Central Florida, closed
the session by outlining sources of dropout prevention intervention
research evidence. He reiterated that evidence used to select
interventions should be of high quality and scientifically based,
saying that "the better the evidence, the sounder the decision."
Sources of research-based evidence include professional publications,
U.S. Department of Education reports, evaluation reports, grant/contract
reports, and conference presentations. Such sources can be identified
by conducting electronic searches (e.g., using ERIC), reviewing
reference lists in published studies and papers, and consulting
organizations such as the Campbell Collaboration (www.campbellcollaboration.org)
and the What Works Clearinghouse (http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/).
^ Top of Page ^
Friday, September 19, 2003
Welcome and Charge for the Day
Dr. Robert Pasternack, Assistant Secretary of Special Education
and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education, welcomed
the National Leadership Summit participants. He observed that
the National Leadership Summit marked the first time that teams
representing most of the States and other entities had convened
to discuss the transition of youth with disabilities from school
to postschool life. The New Freedom Initiative, he said, demonstrates
progress made in improving life for adults with disabilities,
but more progress is needed. Fifty-four million adults in the
United States have disabilities, and this group is the nation’s
largest minority group. Despite unprecedented growth and prosperity
in recent years, the 70 percent unemployment rate of persons with
disabilities remains "unacceptably high."
The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
are working together to make the case that hiring persons with
disabilities is a sound business decision. This population of
workers has low employment turnover rates, has high work productivity
and morale, and is eager to enter the world of work, Dr. Pasternack
said. Strategies are needed to link students with disabilities
to business communities and to engage businesses in hiring persons
with disabilities. There is also a need to eliminate the myths
that persons with disabilities cannot do the same work as others
and that accommodating persons with disabilities is expensive.
^ Top of Page ^
Youth Panel Discussion: "Youth Success in Achieving Results:
Stories from Youth"
Facilitator: Dr. Richard Horne,
Supervisory Research Analyst, Office of Disability Employment
Policy, U.S. Department of Labor
Dr. Richard Horne moderated a panel discussion by four young people
with disabilities who offered their insights into how to help
youth achieve positive results. The youth panelists were:
- Matt Hoie , an Arizona high school sophomore who fully participates
in general education classes and plans to work with children
and adolescents who, like himself, have autism.
- Carrie Raabe2, a recent high school graduate from Arizona
who is employed in a cooperative training program at a country
club, and hopes to provide home- and school-based services to
persons with disabilities in the future.
- Peter Squire, who received his bachelor’s degree in
computer science from Mary Washington College in Virginia in
2002. A member of the Federally funded National Youth Leadership
Network, he works as a scientist at the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare
- Jamie Watts, a 2002 graduate of the University of Missouri
at Columbia. She has held internships at ODEP and in the U.S.
Department of Defense in the Washington, D.C., area.
Dr. Horne noted the importance of designing transition programs
and policies that tap the experiences of young people with disabilities.
Successful youth transition programs share four key design features:
- Preparatory experiences-Career assessments, employment opportunity
awareness, and work readiness skill development.
- Connecting activities-Academic tutoring, postsecondary and
additional learning opportunity exploration; supportive peer
and adult mentors; assistive technology, transportation, benefits
planning, health maintenance, and other self-sufficiency exploration
necessary to make informed choices.
- Work-based experiences-Job site visits and tours, job shadowing,
and paid and unpaid internships.
- Leadership development experiences-Supportive role models,
personal leadership development, and personal leadership opportunities.
Dr. Horne asked the panelists to respond to a series of questions.
What kinds of opportunities were you exposed to that prepared
you for your career?
Mr. Squire reflected that his father influenced him the most.
He knew he wanted to work in a scientific field and found his
niche and passion in computer science. Role models can shape a
young person’s hopes and desires, and the more role models
youth with disabilities see, the more avenues they will see. "It’s
really about finding what you’re passionate about,"
What kinds of internship opportunities have you had that have
helped you be successful?
Ms. Watts said her first internship was through the Workforce
Recruitment Program for college students with disabilities. She
worked as an intern at ODEP and "fell in love with the job,
the city, and the disability field, and found her passion."
She also had an internship with the Computer Electronic Accommodations
Program that provides assistive technology to employees of the
U.S. Department of Defense and other Federal agencies. The internships
gave her the experience she needed.
What have you been involved in that has helped you develop
as a leader and a self-advocate?
Ms. Raabe asserted that being an advocate means standing up for
your rights and learning to experience how others can help you.
In mentoring others, she hopes to help others be treated the way
she wishes to be treated, and she wants others to feel comfortable
sharing their experiences with her.
Could you share your success story?
Mr. Hoie said he had volunteered at a local summer teen camp,
where he had been a camper during three previous years. The year
before he volunteered, he became aware of a camper who had severe
autism, and he took responsibility for the camper by assisting
him on excursions and helping him prepare for a talent show. His
volunteer duties also included taking attendance and helping with
activities. He asserted that hard work and determination got him
to where he is.
What advice do you have for the National Leadership Summit
Mr. Squire suggested that the most important step is to involve
young people in planning for their futures and in goal-setting.
In high school, young people have an extensive support system,
but must learn to make their own decisions about the many choices
they face because supports will not always be there for them.
He recalled that during school he knew he had a disability, but
did not know what specific kind of disability or what it would
mean for him. "We really need to make sure we empower youth,
and the best way to do that is to involve them in the decision-making
process and let them know what’s going on. That is so important,"
Ms. Watts said she would like to see youth have mentoring experiences,
but the goals of these experiences sometimes differ for the students
who are being mentored and their mentors. Many times, students
want to meet someone who can help them find directions that will
lead to employment, while adults want to fill a job and work with
the young person in a job. Both goals are valid, but both people
need to communicate what they hope to get out of the relationship.
She added that employment programs can be beneficial, but if transportation,
personal assistance, and other supports are not available, then
the person with a disability will not be able to work.
The youth panelists also fielded questions from the audience.
Which type of services should be the focus of disability support
services at colleges-counseling or support services?
Mr. Squire responded that there is "huge variability"
among students with disabilities, especially in people with hidden
disabilities, so services should depend on the student’s
needs. The types of services provided also should depend on what
kind of experience the student has. For example, students with
ADHD might unknowingly overload themselves with coursework and
set themselves up for failure. Adults need to help youth understand
who they are, what their disability is, and what they can and
cannot do, so they are well-prepared to meet challenges when they
go to college or into the work world.
Ms. Watts concurred, recalling that when she was a college freshman,
she went to the disability services office, but was not yet attuned
to her own disability and needs. Colleges should offer new students
"a lot of hand holding," but toward the end of their
college careers, students with disabilities should be able to
advocate for themselves and others.
How should we work with parents and families who are used
to making decisions for their children?
Mr. Hoie recommended letting parents tell teachers about the characteristics
of the child and suggest ways to make the child’s education
successful, easier, and more enjoyable. His mother added that
for parents there is a "wonderful tension between the nurturing,
guidance, and protection, and letting go. It’s a life’s
work." When the parent sees the child’s initiative
emerge, the parent’s role should be to step back and be
the cheerleader, she said.
What helped you get through the rough road to become successful?
Mr. Squire reflected that the hardest times for him were during
his high school years, when he did not have a sense of direction
and his disability was "in full force." His teachers
gave him the greatest amount of support, and his special education
teacher saw that he had a gift and always pushed him to do his
work, but in the style that accommodated him in that current timeframe.
"That is absolutely vital. If I’d not had an individual
who understood that, I don’t know where I would have gone,"
Mr. Hoie responded that it is important to focus on one’s
own strengths. "Everyone feels like they are in the dark
ages now and then, and feels disappointed about themselves. You
can either sit around and not do anything, or you can think about
your strong points, not your weaknesses."
Ms. Watts agreed that a positive attitude is important. She viewed
college as a time to strike out on her own and to decide how to
live her life and what kind of supports she would need. During
college, she also found a core group of friends on whom she could
Ms. Raabe said it is important to have a vision and to learn that
other people can inspire you. In addition, she relied on quotes
from the Bible and on her mother, who has always been supportive
and someone she could look up to when she has needed help.
^ Top of Page ^
Developing a State Strategic Action
Plan: A Case Example
Throughout the two-day National Leadership Summit, 42 State teams
met in three dialogue sessions to develop strategic action plans
for improved outcomes for youth with disabilities in their States.
One of the State teams-which included two State education administrators,
a parent/advocate, a workforce development professional, and a
vocational rehabilitation representative-began the strategic planning
process by discussing priorities, including to:
- Provide information to parents early in a student’s
school career to encourage parent involvement, self-advocacy,
and self-determination at an earlier age
- Initiate transition planning earlier
- Increase access for persons with disabilities to employment
and training systems, such as One-Stop Career Centers
- Promote, develop, and support alternative learning, such as
work-based learning and internships
The team emphasized that expectations should be high and early
transition planning should be required for all youth, not just
youth with disabilities, and that their State’s existing
continuous transition improvement plan must be strengthened and
implemented more effectively. However, in the current environment,
schools’ emphasis on academic requirements eclipses the
importance of career and transition planning. The team members
expressed frustration with this environment and the conflicting
expectations of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) . One team member commented
that "We’re taking the 'I' out of IEP. NCLB is putting
us in a difficult situation because schools can’t help kids
create a vision and explore, or have programs that truly meet
After identifying priorities, the State team began to set goals
and develop action steps. One goal identified is to increase access
to the State’s employment and training services system for
individuals with disabilities, including youth. Among the action
steps proposed are to convene State agencies to discuss replication
of model disability services available at one of the State’s
One-Stop Career Centers, convening a Statewide One-Stop disability
support task force, and seeking funding to ensure that needed
supports are available at all of the State’s One-Stops.
A second goal identified is to increase awareness among families,
students, and educators about transition planning and strategies
to enhance transition programs and planning throughout students’
middle school and high school years. Action steps proposed include
repackaging existing transition materials to make them appropriate
for different audiences (e.g., parents, students, and educators)
and to enhance outreach to parents at critical time points in
their children’s secondary education.
As part of the strategic planning process, the State team also
began to identify lead agencies, technical assistance needs, critical
partners, and evaluation elements for the action steps proposed.
The strategic planning process was expected to be continued by
each State team following the National Leadership Summit.
State Action Planning Materials
(Note: These Microsoft Word documents will download onto
your computer if you click on them. To access the document(s),
locate and open them on your hard drive in a word processing program.)
The following action planning materials were used at the National
^ Top of Page ^
Presentation of Team Priority Issues
At the conclusion of the team dialogue sessions, priority issues
and strategies for improving outcomes for youth with disabilities
were summarized by region. Below are the priority issues identified
by the teams in each region.
- Interagency collaboration, including collaborative funding.
- Making links between NCLB and the transition requirements
in IDEA, and guidance in maintaining standards-based education
without losing the individualized ability to affect transition
- Stronger linkages among workforce development, mental health,
and school-based/adult systems, which are essential for successful
transition to occur.
- Expanded transition-related training and technical assistance
for youth, families, professionals, and paraprofessionals.
- Increased resources for teachers to meet transition requirements.
- Enhanced pre-service training.
The Great Lakes Region also emphasized the importance of in-depth
data collection, collaboration and commitment, mechanisms for
articulating information to all parties surrounding transition
efforts, continuing the work of the National Leadership Summit,
and expanding funding for transition.
- Closing the achievement gap.
- Reduction of the dropout rate.
- Stronger and expanded career, employment, and postsecondary
- Collection of postschool outcome data.
- Increased access to resources and services for students who
- Coordination of services to prevent duplication.
- Identification of stakeholders and education of stakeholders
about their roles.
Mountain Plains Region:
- Transition plans for all youth with formalized, consistent
structures-policy alignment, procedures, processes, materials
availability, awareness of the importance of transition for
- Interagency collaboration-having data to show where energy
should be focused and a system (including technical assistance)
to allow systems to share data efficiently and effectively.
- Examination of postsecondary outcomes for all students-including
knowing what is effective, having and analyzing postschool data,
being able to compare data for disabled and non-disabled students,
and knowing which agencies have made the greatest difference.
- Seeking Federal and State support to develop mechanisms for
data sharing and improving data collection systems and mechanisms
for all purposes.
- Helping families, schools, and adult providers to understand,
teach, and promote self-determination.
- Renewing secondary education and giving a seamless education
to all students.
- Strengthened linkages with the Workforce Investment Act system
through improved education and communication.
- Building collaboration in transition systems, including through
enforceable interagency agreements, that leads to successful
outcomes for youth.
- Data collection for all agencies to support accurate information
on postsecondary outcomes, leading to resource realignment,
shared accountability, etc.
- Person-centered planning and family involvement to support
dignity and high expectations for all individuals.
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National Response Panel
Moderator: Sue Swenson, Assistant
Executive Director, The Arc of the United States, and Executive
Director, Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., Foundation
Ms. Swenson asked a panel of nationally known experts to comment
on the priorities identified by the State teams and to respond
to three questions:
- What is your agency currently doing?
- How does your agency currently communicate with States and
interact with States about policy and program funding opportunities?
- What is the best way for States and persons with disabilities
to participate in the strategic planning process within the
Below are highlights of the panel members’ comments.
Christa Bucks Camacho, Youth and Transition Coordinator,
Office of Program Development and Research, Social Security Administration:
- Youth served by the Social Security Administration (SSA) represent
many different cultures, disability types, and economic levels.
- SSA recognizes that many young Social Security beneficiaries
will stay on the Social Security rolls for their lifetimes.
SSA policies and programs to change this situation include partnering
with local agencies to offer benefits planning to young people
- SSA is looking at the ways in which comprehensive work incentive
programs can be used to help students with disabilities or graduates
build on their skills and move into the workforce. For example,
SSA is addressing transition issues through research demonstration
projects in seven communities nationwide.
Dr. Richard Horne, Supervisory Research Analyst for Research
and Education, Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department
- It is important for people in the field to comment on research
agendas and other Federal Government activities when requested
through the Federal Register or other vehicles.
- Input from States helps ODEP to plan for and strategize employment
and training programs for persons with disabilities.
- Various agencies seek to improve systems, but the Office of
Management and Budget has sign-off authority.
- Training is important but receives less focus than employment.
- It is important to adopt employer-focused strategies (those
that consider employers’ needs, collaboration with employers,
and high-growth employment fields), rather than focusing only
on the supply side (i.e., "getting Johnny a job").
- ODEP must look more closely at collaboration in systems change
Stephanie Smith Lee, Director, Office of Special Education
Programs, U.S. Department of Education:
- Meaningful policy development must begin at the local level.
Self-determination and person-centered planning, improved collaboration,
reducing the dropout rate, and reducing the achievement gap
are important policy goals.
- The Bush Administration firmly supports accountability for
results, which means that effective data collection systems
must be in place. OSEP is looking at improved data collection
and will announce in the near future a new research center focused
on developing early childhood indicators.
- In developing postsecondary outcomes indicators, it is important
to identify desired outcomes and changes needed in schools to
- Since 1997, the monitoring system has evolved dramatically
to become a continuous improvement focused monitoring system.
Today, States are analyzing data, developing State improvement
plans to address problems, and seeking ways to move research
results into the classroom.
- OSEP has been working closely with other offices to build
awareness of special education concerns in light of NCLB, IDEA,
and standards-based reform.
- Assessment issues must be resolved to ensure accountability.
- Universal design for instruction, instructional materials,
and assessment is critically important.
Stephanie Powers, Executive Director, National Association
of Workforce Boards:
- Education linkages to the workforce investment system are
important. Workforce Investment Boards are governing boards
at the local and State levels. Local boards are very autonomous
and not accountable to State boards, and they reflect the authority
of local elected officials. Greater alignment of State and local
boards is important, however.
- Workforce boards are led by business people, not bureaucrats.
Educators must "talk their talk" and understand the
culture of the boards.
- One-Stop Career Centers are chartered by Workforce Development
Boards. Therefore, communication should target the boards, not
the directors of One-Stop centers.
- The workforce is the primary focus of economic development.
It is important for those involved in preparing or transitioning
workers to understand which cutting-edge skills are needed in
the workforce and to align curricula and programs to reflect
Madeleine Will, Chair, President’s Committee for People
with Intellectual Disabilities:
- The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual
Disabilities is an advisory body that reports to the President.
The Committee comprises 21 public members and 13 ex officio
members. Its charge is to prepare recommendations to the President
regarding improving the lives of persons with intellectual disabilities,
92 percent of whom are not employed.
- The New Freedom Initiative was launched in February 2001 to
bring greater personal freedom and independence to persons with
- Roundtable discussions have focused on public awareness regarding
persons with intellectual disabilities and on postsecondary
outcomes and employment.
- A recent study indicated deep resistance to including people
with intellectual disabilities in education and other arenas.
- The States and National Leadership Summit participants should
insist that data about postschool outcomes drive policy in the
- Self-determination is an important focus.
- In-service and pre-service teacher training to improve outcomes
for students with disabilities is important.
- Collaboration is important, but is often capricious and random.
In contrast, alignment would involve creating a mechanism across
government that would support creation of needed programs and
Joanne Wilson, Commissioner, Rehabilitation Services Administration,
U.S. Department of Education:
- The rehabilitation services system and all systems should
promote high expectations for persons with disabilities.
- A Rehabilitation Services Administration initiative is directing
funding to State rehabilitation agencies to work with consumer-controlled
organizations of persons with disabilities in developing transition
- Rehabilitation services programs are currently strained, so
new partners and expertise are needed to make a difference.
- Mentoring grants targeting transition-age youth with disabilities
have been awarded to provide mentoring and role modeling by
others with disabilities, and to give young people high expectations
J. Michael Zelley, Board Member, National Association of
- The workforce investment system is comprised of more than
600 Workforce Investment Boards nationwide.
- Workforce Investment Boards want educators’ involvement,
and it is possible to get access to the boards by engaging them
and "being at the table." This involvement will benefit
all students, not just those with disabilities.
- In Michigan, funds for transition services have been leveraged
through a Work Incentive Act cash match with other agencies.
A cash match program involving a local One-Stop Career Center,
local Chamber of Commerce, Vocational Rehabilitation, employment
services, and local Center for Independent Living has been also
been established for career counseling.
- From the business perspective, a high school graduate’s
skills are more important than the type of diploma the student
Ms. Swenson concluded the panel discussion by listing four steps
to collaboration: communicate, coordinate work and share leadership
on projects, cooperate by sharing a mission, and be willing to
change. She also encouraged the National Leadership Summit participants
to make use of NCSET’s many resources and services.
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Dr. Bonnie Jones of OSEP thanked the National Response Panel,
State teams, Dr. Kelli Crane, and the NCSET staff for their participation
in and their contributions to the National Leadership Summit.
Dr. Johnson encouraged the participants to continue the momentum
and energy built during the two-day National Leadership Summit.
He commented that the meeting involved more parents, youth, workforce
development representatives, and general educators than have participated
in past meetings on the topic of transition. Dr. Johnson also
thanked the participants, staff, and panelists for their contributions.
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