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This podcast is a new way for educators and their community partners to share promising practices that advance post-school outcomes for New York's students with disabilities.

  • WBL 1: Yonkers: Getting Started on Work-Based Learning Through a School-Based Enterprise

    When you don’t have a lot of resources, small steps with what you already have available can lead to greater impact with more students. Kim Longville is a Special Educator and CDOS Coordinator at Riverside High School, in Yonkers. Her in-school cafe complements the academic coursework she teaches, re-engaging youth who are struggling.
  • WBL 2: Oneonta: Building a Work-Based Learning Team

    Building a new program in a school district is an exciting adventure – if you have a supportive team. Beth Spaulding is a teacher of Special Education and Work-Based Learning at Oneonta Middle and High Schools. Listen, as she describes her shared process to create a work-based learning program for a small city school district in upstate New York. And when it comes to selecting and engaging community partners, it’s really about developing opportunities for students to learn deeply about future careers.
  • WBL 3: High School Service and Learning, NYC: New Partners, New Opportunities for Students

    When developing a work-based learning program, having community collaborators is essential. Many of these agency partners offer free programming that schools can quickly tap into, saving a great deal of time and money. Gretchen Lernihan is a School Counselor with the High School for Service and Learning in Brooklyn. Gretchen kept her eyes open, followed a lead, worked with her administration and opened new doors for her students.
  • WBL 4: Broome-Tioga BOCES: Relationship Building with Businesses

    Sue Jones is a Special Educator and Work-Based Learning Coordinator for the Broome-Tioga BOCES. With funding from the New York State Education Department, she is leading an effort to develop community-based work experiences for school districts in her region. She is building her work-based learning program one business at a time.
  • WBL 5: Work-Based Learning and Career Development, A Multi-Year Approach

    Career development is a lifelong process, an ongoing interaction of interests, experiences and knowledge. Kristin Tomaszewski is a life skills teacher with students who have intellectual and developmental disabilities at Fredonia Central School District. She describes how she built upon her longstanding student-run enterprise, toward a multi-year career development program.
  • WBL 6: Bellmore-Merrick: Teaching Work-Life Balance

    There's more to a job than completing tasks. Consider the interactions you have, the way you dress and how you manage to get to work on time. Cheryl Gitlitz is the district-wide Transition Coordinator for Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District on Long Island. Her team of passionate, professionals provide a highly customized educational experience in close partnership with their students and families. You will hear about Bellmore-Merrick's community-based life skills program which works hand-in-hand with their work-based learning and job placement programs.
  • WBL 7: Carmel High School: Engaging Students with Businesses

    Carmel High School in the Hudson River Valley invites business representatives to meet with students through a unique getting-to-know-you process. Christine Chambers Szafranski, the Director of Pupil Services for Carmel Central School District calls this the reverse job fair. Another way for students to learn about the world of work is to manage their own business – a school-based enterprise.
  • WBL 8: Kings Park: Individual Planning Leads to Work-Based Learning

    When students share their goals and ideas about their futures within their educational planning meetings, courses and services for students become more individualized, varied and meaningful. Student-centered vocational goals can lead to higher-interest work-based learning experiences. These individualized work-based learning experiences result in a more career-focused path to paid employment. Through school-agency partnerships, options for on-the-job support or job coaching further expand opportunities for employment, reaching more and more students.
  • WBL 9: Hawthorne Country Day School: Using Student Information to Build a Work-Based Learning Program

    Kim Arruda oversees a transition program at Hawthorne Country Day School, in Hawthorne, NY. This is a comprehensive program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Students are learning about the world of work in their school and in the community. These high-quality learning experiences are carefully recorded to inform each student’s planning process, and to provide evidence for overall program improvement.
  • WBL10: Culinary Arts Institute: From Secondary to Postsecondary via Work-Based Learning

    Denise Poland is an education director for D'Avolio Culinary Institute in Buffalo, New York. Even though this is an adult education program, they work closely with high schools to advance the culinary arts for graduating students with disabilities. As you will hear, work-based learning, coupled with individualized planning, is at the center of their recruitment and educational strategies.
  • SD/IEP 1: Teaching the Teachers: The Student-Directed IEP Training Series

    Kate Ferguson led a week long training for teachers and administrators to help empower students to find their voices and take charge of their lives, Individualized Education Programs (IEP), and education paths. She describes how students learned about their strengths and needs and their IEP. They also learned how to communicate those needs to teachers in order to advocate for themselves. Similarly, teachers learned from students what their needs were and how to create a positive educational environment where student can achieve success.
  • SD/IEP 2: Building Capacity: The Four Part Training Series on the Student-Directed IEP Process

    Cathy Pantelides is a transition specialist in the Long Island Region and shares her experience providing training on the student-directed IEP to school districts in her region. Cathy shares the four part series of the student-directed IEP trainings offered across the region and how those who attend those trainings work with their students to increase self-determination.
  • SD/IEP 3: Increasing Student’s Voices: Getting Started with the Student-Directed IEP Process

    Stephanie Wozniack in the Lower Hudson Valley Region provided training with her colleague Kit Casey on the self-directed IEP process. Training sessions follow a team approach by engaging students in the IEP process and exceed expectations in self-direction while also providing educators and specialists with tools and knowledge to support students in superior ways. The end goal is to provide a team approach that is individualized needs for the student, while also providing educators with knowledge on different processes so they can tailor these processes to the best one for the area.
  • SD/IEP 4: Partnering with Parents to Increase Student Involvement in the IEP Process

    Naomi Brickel, a Director Community and Support Network in Lower Hudson Valley Region and Coordinator for the Westchester Institute for Human Development. Naomi describes, through the lens of her experience with her son John Paul, how students become empowered to challenge themselves when they take an active part in their IEP process.
  • SD/IEP 5: Pursuing Their Dreams: Student Outcomes as a Result of the Student-Directed IEP Process

    Carol Watros, provided training in Region of New York. Carol shares how students being involved in their IEP progress have impacted them. Carol describes students who have gained self-determination skills and how that has allowed them to find success in their future goals.
  • SD/IEP 6: The “I” in IEP: A Teacher’s Perspective on the Student-Directed IEP Process

    “Having the students lead their meetings is just so much more effective than having teachers sit around and discuss with a parent what their child needs…” says Peggy Bennet, Special Education Teacher at Altmar-Perish-Williamstown School District. Peggy is taking part in a pilot program that encourages and empowers students to take a lead in their IEP meetings. Peggy recounts an example of a student who directed his IEP meeting and the results that followed.
  • SD/IEP 7: Learning to Speak Up: A Teacher’s Perspective on teaching students self-advocacy skills

    Annie Williams is a Special Education Teacher at South Jefferson High school in Adams, New York who teaches her students the skills of self-advocacy to help them during their post-secondary education. Her point of emphasis is ensuring students are aware of the IEP and understanding the content within so that students can advocate for themselves. Annie shares a story about the positive results from a former student advocating for herself to take the class she wanted.
  • SD/IEP 8: Helping Students Achieve their Dreams: From Transition Assessment to Student-Directed IEPs

    Dr. Noreen Leahy, Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Personnel Services and Special Education at Rockville Centre UFSD, describes how their students create and achieve their goals in school and beyond. She discusses how the process of the student’s transition assessment evolved to help students recognize their strengths and weakness so they can be emphasized and improved upon.