UPDN Organizes Transition Institute
Deanna Taylor and Kim Mendenhall
The 2016 Utah Transition Institute took place January 28 and 29 at the Davis Conference Center. The event was organized by the Utah Professional Development Network, a project of the Center for Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education (TAESE) at Utah State University's Center for Persons with Disabilities.
The purpose of the institute was “to support transition planning and building capacity to improve post-school outcomes for students with disabilities.” More than 200 dedicated professionals in Utah left their places of work and invested the time to dig deep into data that informed how they designed their team transition plans for their districts and charter schools. Team participants included both special and general educators, coordinators, specialists, administrators, counselors, vocational rehabilitation representatives, counselors, agency providers, parents, and paraprofessionals.
Facilitators received one full day of training, and then spent two days providing guidance for the teams in their work on the team transition planning tool. Dr. June Gothberg, from the National Technical Assistance in Transition (NTACT), provided the facilitator training as well as support of the planning tool for all participants at the institute. Prior to the institute, team leaders from each participating district/charter school participated in an online training led by Susan Loving, Utah State Office of Education (USOE) Transition Specialist, on preparing their teams for the institute. All 34 teams in attendance left with plans that will be reviewed and analyzed for technical soundness. The work will continue with the Virtual Community of Practice (V-CoP) for Transition in the coming months to insure implementation and evaluation of the team transition plans, as well as ongoing statewide transition collaboration.
In addition to team planning, outstanding keynote speakers and presenters from all over the state provided rich content for the plenary and learning sessions. Each of their presentations provided knowledge and planning of effective transition, aligning beautifully with the institute’s purpose.