Sunday, August 9, 2009

Transition Portfolios: Drafting Some Ideas

Tansition So I'm starting to think about this a bit more.  This is new to me and I have a lot of ideas right now but I know that I need to streamline this a bit more.  There are several reasons for this in my mind.  These include:
  • planning for the future to ensure that the program that we are working on in school will assist in getting the student to the place that is beign envisioned for their future
  • to create one central document that can be passed on to the agency that takes over the student's program when they exit school - hopefully to make the transition smoother for everyone
  • to tie what I'm doing in my classroom with our division's current focus of "Assessment for Learning"
  • to ground myself and my program and give it a focus as student's get closer to graduation
I'm still waiting for one resoure that I just re-ordered from Perkins School for the Blind and think that it will be a resource that can give me a lot of direction.  For now, I'm brainstorming based on the high school portfolios I used to do with grade 10-12 students when I was teaching Career and Personal Planning courses in my other life ;).  Seriously, I did develop a portfolio at my last school because I ended up getting assigned this class a couple years in a row.  So here is what I'm thinking to put inin the binder that would be the student's portfolio:
  • Cover Page with Brief Introduction: This would include key information like name, date of birth, a picture of the student...etc.
  • Checklist of Steps:  This would be a checklist of what needs to be done and at what point including tasks that need to be done to ensure the student would have adult services once they turn 18. 
  • Brief Biography of Student: This would be mostly be done in a scrapbooking style with students assisting to make as much as possible (including picking pictures, colors, decorations, input in what to put down...etc.).
  • Circles of Support:  A section that outlines the circles of support that the student has including itimate relationships, friendships, participation relationships, economic exchanges.  I would also want to include what agencies the student currently has access to or could gain access to. 
  • PATH Images: I have not done PATH with students before but would really like to get in to doing some future team planning to ensure we are all on the same page.  I would fold the image up and put it in here (or put in a picture with reference to where the actual image is) as well as include any notes made during the initial or subsequent PATH meetings.  Would love to hear from people who have experience with this!
  • Skills and Abilities:  This section is the section that ties in the most to the assessment for learning piece I mentioned above.  I would have this section be mostly photo representatoins with brief "I can" statements attached to them.  This would be an evolving section that we would add to whenever something new comes up.  As the students gets closer to transitioning, we may need to streamline it a bit more. This can also be through of as a celebration of accomplishments.  I'm toying with the idea of displaying these pages before they are put in to the student's binder.
  • Preferences/Likes: This would be a section related to things that the student enjoys doing or having.  This section can be used to help plan future leisure activities, plan for work placements that would incorporate likes, or as a reinforcer list for those who will function with a reinforement program for their adult life.  Again this section will be very photo heavy and students will have to indicate their approval of anything that goes in this section.
  • Communication System: An outline of the communication system the student currently uses (as I have all but 2 students who are non-verbal).  There will also be a personal communication log that explains things that the student will do to indicate words or feelings (one example would be that  dropping head down means he doens't want it).  This section will also include a brief summary of systems that we have tried and what results we had.
  • Level of Independence/Supports Needed:  Fairly self-explanatory really.  Just want to ensure that we are passing on all information related to supports that we have had in place for the student while they were in the classroom.
  • Enviornmental Set-up Required: Really this might not be a seperate section from the last one but for now I've listed it as one.  What would be included here is information on adaptive materials/equipment, communication system, staff support needed, social interaction needs, mobility needs, emotional needs, reinforcement programs...etc.
  • Vocational Experiences:  This would be an outline of all vocational experiences the student has had through the time they were in school with us. 
  • Recreational Experiences:  Because part of our student's adult programs will need to ensure that they have meaningful leisure/recreational experiences, we will include information about the experiences the student gains while in school as well as their reaction to them (enjoyed them, didn't like...etc.).
My thought is that much of the portfolio will be pictures and point form as I don't want it to be something overwhelming.  I also want to pull parents in and have them add some things to the student's portfolios related to what they are doing at home.  Ultimately it would be wonderful to pull in all the supports that the students currently have to do the same but we will see where that goes.

I will be posting more as I make outlines and starting nailing things down more (and once I get that other resource that I think will be very helpful too).  Stay tuned for more...

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