Twofer – IDEA Partnership AND NSTTACPosted: May 5, 2012
In a few hours I’ll be heading down I-81 South with a dear friend and colleague for the National Communities of Practice on Transition meeting and NSTTAC 2012 Capacity Building Institute.
Housed under the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE), the IDEA Partnership “reflects the collaborative work of more than 50 national organizations, technical assistance providers, and organizations and agencies at state and local level. Together with the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), the Partner Organizations form a community with the potential to transform the way we work and improve outcomes for students and youth with disabilities.”
For the past 4+ years I have had the privilege of learning and working along side leaders from local, state, and national organizations and agencies in support of families, students, educators, administrators and service providers. Working with this network of professionals has allowed me to see what other states and organizations are doing in support of individuals with differing abilities, how they are working (or sometimes not working) with partners and it has given me great access to new ideas and resources. This idea of a Community of Practice (CoP) stems from the work of Etienne Wenger. There are many components to a CoP, but my strongest take away from this learning process is to always ask, “Who’s not at the table?” and “How do we get them here?” We cannot make decisions for someone, tell them how things are going to work and then expect full engagement. Building partnerships and developing relationships from the beginning is critical for the success of any initiative or idea to come to fruition. I keep thinking back on the old saying, “Give a man a fish he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish he eats for a lifetime.” Building community takes time, it needs to be taught, learned, practiced to become effective. I participate most actively in the CoP on Transition, but there are also CoPs on School Behavioral Health, Autism, Universal Design for Learning, and Creating Agreement.
Through the CoP I became connected with NSTTAC, the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center. NSTTAC serves through these objectives:
*Assist State Education Agencies with collecting data on IDEA (2004) Part B State Performance Plan Indicator 13 and using these data to improve transition services;
*Generate knowledge that provides a foundation for states to improve transition services that enhance post-school outcomes;
*Build capacity of states and local educational agencies to implement effective transition education and services that improve post-school outcomes; and
*Disseminate information to state personnel, practitioners, researchers, parents, and students regarding effective transition education and services that improve post-school outcomes.
Working with NSTTAC has given me an incredible wealth of knowledge on the process each state/territory must go through in order to reach consensus and move forward with plans to support students in transition. I have facilitated both the Bureau of India Education and the state of Florida teams during the Capacity Building Institute and have learned MUCH, not just about the process of transition, but of the people involved in the process. Fascinating stuff. The NSTTAC website has several excellent resources regarding Indicators 13 and 14…the transition indicators. There are also links to other resources around drop out prevention and other topics.