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Florida Talks Transition_ Focus Groups

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					Florida Talks Transition!
       Focus Groups

       Chipley
                              Jacksonville




                                   Viera



                 Tampa




                  Ft. Myers                Miami
    The goal of the focus groups was to
    obtain the following information:

•   preferred communication style of students with disabilities, family members,
    agency personnel-caregivers, and school personnel;

•   current methods of receiving information;

•   perceptions of students with disabilities, family members, and agency
    personnel/caregivers, and school personnel’s involvement in transition as it
    is or should be;

•   factors that contribute to dropout, graduation, employment, and
    postsecondary education and training; and

•   supports needed for effective family involvement.
                     The Sites
   April 27, 2009 Miami (FDLRS South)
   April 28, 2009 Ft. Myers (Lee County Public
                   Education Center)
   April 29, 2009 Tampa (Manhattan Center)
   May 6, 2009    Chipley (PAES)
   May 18, 2009 Jacksonville (Schultz Center)
   May 19, 2009 Viera/Brevard County
                   (Educational Services Facility)
The Schedule…
   4:30-5:45   School personnel
                Agency personnel and
                caretakers

   6:00-7:15   Parents and family member
                Students
The Facilitators…
Professional        Affiliation                   Facilitated at sites:

Joyce Lubbers       BEESS: FL DOE                 Chipley, Jacksonville, Viera

Sheila Gritz        BEESS: FL DOE                 Miami, Ft. Myers, Chipley

Jordan Knab         Project TEN                   Miami, Ft. Myers, Tampa
                                                  Jacksonville, Viera


Patrick Mulvihill   Project TEN                   Miami, Ft. Myers, Tampa
                                                  Chipley, Jacksonville


Heather Mack        Project TEN                   Viera

Kristine Webb       University of North Florida   Miami, Ft. Myers, Tampa
                                                  Chipley, Jacksonville, Viera
  The Participants…
Participants         Number of
                     participants



Agency/Caretakers              29


Parents/Families               32


School personnel               54


Students                       14


Other                               7


TOTAL participants            136
Ethnic Identities of Participants…
Focus Group Instrument…
   Statement of Purpose and Introductions
   Receiving Current Information about Transition
   Preferred Communication about Transition
   Parent/Family Involvement in Transition
   Student Involvement in Transition
   Drop-out Issues and Graduation
   Employment
   Postsecondary Education and Training
   Closing Remarks
The Results…
   NVivo8
   Categories (student involvement)
   Nodes or themes
Learning about transition…
Learning about transition…
How Agencies/Schools would like to
disseminate information…
(a)   outreach to students and families,
(b)   utilization of print materials,
(c)   utilization of electronic media, and
(d)   IEP information and involvement.
Parents/Students want to learn by:
Transition Process/IEP development
Age When Transition Should Begin
                        Agency Personnel          School Personnel         Parents/families         Students


Age


Birth-early childhood                      7.5%                      11%                      8%


Elementary school                          23%                       45%                      50%              29%
Middle School                              31%                       33%                      34%


High School                                31%                       11%                                       71%


Through Adulthood                          7.5%


When diagnosed                                                                                8%
How to improve transition: Student-
Focused Planning
Focus Group        Sample Commentary
    members

Agency Personnel   We need face-to-face planning meetings
                   Students need in-school presentations about agencies so they are able to plan better.
                   Give students the power to speak and run it.
                   We should ask students ahead of time to think about positive things about themselves.
                   The IEP needs to be discussed, not dictated.
                   We need to talk about the IEP in terms of a living document, report progress and outcomes, how
                         they are progressing. This can’t be confined to one meeting.
                   Is the IEP in an accessible format or in a language they know?
                   The IEP is already done when the student walks in—not right!
                   Train kids in the transition IEP process before the IEP meeting.
                   We need student input and interviews.
                   The student should have pre-meetings with teachers.
                   Always speak with the student directly.
                   Students need self-directed IEPs.
Parents and Families
  Parents   My child identified what she wanted to do—on
                computer. She does every year-(laugh), then she
                changes her mind.
            Let the student choose courses—choose mainstream
                or other settings.
            Please treat them like everyone else.
            Everyone should be prepared ahead of time—
                interests and options for post-school. This helps
                everyone to be better prepared.
            Ask about what the child is interested in.
            Focus on interests and let that direct schooling.
            Allow student choice, but also allow consequences of
                those choices.
School Personnel
School      We need to teach self-determination, step by
Personnel      step.
            One student ran his entire meeting!
            All of us need to be open to the process – the
               focus is on the student.
            Students should invite their own participants.
Students
Students   Everybody needs to set goals, and then work
              on them.
           I need the opportunity to have my say.
           You should do the work and know how to
              work.
           I’m the only one who knows what I want.
Summary of Performance: What
Participants Know about SOPs
Focus Group Participants   Level of Participation     Sample Comments:




Agency Personnel                                Low   Just heard about it on Friday
                                                      Some schools are doing a measurable postschool outcome.
                                                      SOP? I need a complete description.
                                                      Haven’t gotten one yet.




Parents/Families                                Low   SOP?
                                                      SOP? Have I participated in this?
                                                      No, but probably before the exit IEP.
Summary of Performance: What
Participants Know about SOPs
School Personnel   Medium   The Transition teacher completes that.
                            Ours is complete with students folder, inc assessment etc.
                            We do that through ―STAR.‖
                            Some are doing a better job with the SOP. It varies from school to
                                   school.
                            We complete that at the exit IEP—It’s just one more thing!
                            Agencies won’t look at them.
                            I’m surprised to learn that many are just learning about it.
                            We met in Tampa and learned more about put it together, and we’re
                                   doing something easy this year.
                            It profiles student strengths and the accommodations needed.
                            Districts initially held off.
                            The national document on that is 8 pages!
                            Students filled out the major areas of it. I’d like to use the national
                                   student input model.
                            Staffing specialists make sure teachers do.
                            I question the value of it. Community colleges and universities don’t
                                   take it.
                            Colleges don’t care—what you get in high school, you don’t get in
                                   college.
                            It’s useful for special diploma kids for agencies
                            Parents and students think they can take this to college and get
                                   something—they can’t!
                            Better connect with the parent on what it can get you.
Team Members in Transition and
IEPs should include:
   Students/clients
   Parents
   Agency Personnel
   Teachers
Team Members in Transition:
Agencies and Caretakers
 Sample Commentary about agency attendance and
 involvement:
 We do attend-- all the time, unless there is a conflict
 Our agency wants to attend if they know what our
 attendance means.
 By the time the students reach 17 to 18, agencies
 should be there.
 APD has fewer case workers & we get to all IEPs
 Sometimes if there are conflicts I telephone parent
 I know it’s important.
 Interagency Council helps with information.
Sample Commentary about Specific
Barriers to Agency Involvement
     Lack of communication and/or collaboration:
     The schools need to contact agencies earlier.
     I am not invited.
     I get such short notice from the schools.
     Some schools are excellent about
   communicating agency information; some are
   not
     Information is disseminated/but not at the
   beginning of the year.
Barriers: Agency
Resource, Time and Personnel Shortages
 I have 9 different schools
 The sheer numbers of IEPs held at the same time – in early
  spring
 There’s not enough agency staff to cover all of our
  responsibilities.
 Information overload; agencies change their way of doing
  things.
 Agencies are interested, but due to numbers, they can’t be at
  all IEPs.
 Schools need to set-up IEPs back to back so agencies can
  stay one day.
What are the barriers to parent involvement in
the transition process and IEP development?
Responses were categorized under the
    following themes:
(a) Student-focused practices,
(b) unfriendly environment,
(c) lack of information, and
(d) lack of time/resources.
Common theme:
   ―Information needs to be in a central place.
    One publication to tell us options. ―
   ―I would like a centralized transition
    agency-just too many places to go!‖
Student Involvement
Student Involvement
Students with Disabilities Who Drop
Out of School.
   Lack of options or opportunities
   Over-emphasis on academic standards
   Lack of support
   Life pressures/choices
   Lack of self-determination
Thoughts from school personnel:
students who drop out
There’s no opportunity for vocational education. It’s too academic
(School personnel).
Vocational classes are closed to students with a special diploma in
some districts (School personnel).
It’s relevancy—they are getting standardized curriculum and
benchmarks, when they need real life skills (School personnel).
There is no opportunity to access technical education and learn
something they are good at (School personnel).
If a student is not successful academically, they must do remediation,
and that knocks out electives. It’s mandated (School personnel).
They don’t participate in extra-curricular activities (School personnel).
There’s a lack of vocational and technical programs (School
personnel).
Barriers to Employment
   Lack of opportunities or community support
   Lack of resources for career exploration or
    employment
   Adequate time for career exploration or
    employment preparation
   Lack of preparation or information about
    career exploration or employment
Lack of opportunities   Jobs are limited; they’re just not there and these aren’t jobs for
or community support    Intellectual Disabled students (Agency personnel).
                        You have to have companies in the community willing to work
                        with job coaches (Agency personnel).
                        Lots of problems…businesses don’t want job coaches on site,
                        and there are workman’s compensation issues (Agency
                        personnel).
                        They need role models from family and friends (Agency
                        personnel).

                        Changes in management can be a challenge (Parent).
                        There are limited options in our community (Parent).
                        There’s such a focus on state testing and remediation that they
                        don’t have opportunities for career exploration, especially on a
                        standard diploma (Parent).

                        Standard diploma kids don’t get opportunities to explore (School
                        personnel).
                        Schools do not want work experience to get in the way of
                        academics (School personnel).
                        There is no time in their schedules for exploration, especially if
                        they are in so many remediation classes (School personnel).

                        I haven’t got a chance to job shadow, but I want to do it
                        (Student).
                        My school doesn’t offer much in that (Student).
What worries you the most about employment after graduation?
                Sample Student commentary:



                              My disability.
                      How well the job pays bills.
              I will need to make payments on time.
                          Just getting started.
                     What do I do when I get in?
                   I need people to get me going.
                     I don’t know what to expect.
                 I never worked, but I volunteered
       Getting stuck in a dead-end job, like minimum wage.
           Having job satisfaction, and communication.
                        Income, the kind of job
                      The economy going down.
                         Having work clothes.
What do you worry about when you think about
students attending college or training
programs?
   Lack of information about college or
    training school requirements
   Lack of knowledge: disabilities and needed
    supports: postsecondary personnel
   Lack of student preparation
   Lack of student self-advocacy and
    independence
Barriers for Agencies
Inadequate understanding of agencies’ role and support
 Students are not coming to the table with enough information
   about their disability and the accommodations they need.
 One of the biggest gaps, I think is understanding adult
   responsibility vs. school; they have to follow through with
   agencies (families). They don’t see the school’s role ending.
 100% of students are referred to V.R. , but 98% are non-
   compliant. There’s just no follow through.
 Parents who have been involved think that agencies haven’t
   done anything.
 Parents don’t always know ―who‖ they want.

				
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