On September 25, 2018 the Division of Early Intervention and Special Education Services of the Maryland State Department of Education, in collaboration with the Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education, conducted this seminar for a cross-disciplinary audience that included transition specialists, general educators, career and technology teachers, school counselors, assistive technology professionals among others.
Setting the Stage for New Collaborative Approaches to Preparing Diverse Learners for the Future
Maryland has a sweeping view of a shared mission to begin preparing students and families at the earliest age possible for their future. This module articulates the rationale for cross-disciplinary collaboration as reflected in Maryland’s Transition Continuum. All partners shoulder a tremendous amount of responsibility in preparing our students for the life after high school and so it makes sense to coordinate efforts and share expertise.
Who are the Diverse Learners in our Schools?
In this module we Step into the shoes of students to provide examples of the range of personal issues that youth with disabilities face every day as they come into our schools. This module also re-frames the concept of “College and Career Ready”– recognizing that there are many excellent “middle skills” jobs that will require some post high school training, but not necessarily a 2- or 4-year college degree.
Strategies for Getting to Know the Diverse Learner
Diverse learners, including students with disabilities, are often labeled by their deficits, in this module we consider that often a deficit can be re-framed as an asset. Tools such as the “Positive Personal Profile” can be used to highlight the unique aspects of a student as well as help students share this valuable information about themselves, to teachers, counselors, employers, and others – so that they can expand the network of people who know, and can assist them.
Supporting the Diverse Learner through Universal Design for Learning Strategies
There is often a gap between what we are trying to teach and the needs of the diverse learner. This module describes 5 tenets of effective teaching and learning and demonstrates how Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach that bridges the gap. UDL materials and activities provide multiple means of engaging students, presenting the material, and for allowing students to demonstrate and express their understanding.
Our Roles as Collaborative Life Coaches and Social Justice Experts
Regardless of our specific job titles and roles, the value of collaboration on behalf of diverse learners is tremendous. In this module we explore ways to articulate our unique roles to other professionals and members of the community, identifying the 4 attributes of highly effective transition specialists as well as ways to share tips and resources for effective co-teaching and collaboration.