EduCATOR Resources

 

What are my responsibilities as a K-12 educator?

Employment First principles point those of us in education towards ensuring that competitive, integrated employment is the aim for all people with disabilities. Regardless of the context in which we are supporting students with disabilities, educators align themselves with Employment First when they foster meaningful student connections to the world of employment possibilities that exist for them outside of the classroom.

  • Work Based Learning- What is your role in connecting your classroom to careers for students? It likely involves finding your place in providing the continuum of work-based learning experiences, from career awareness and exploration to paid, community-based jobs.

  • Career and Technical Education - Regardless of disability diagnosis, students with disabilities are, first and foremost, just students. For this reason, disability-specific career supports are not always necessary. Students enrolled in a concentration of Career and Technical Education courses while in high school miss less school, are more likely to graduate on time, and are more likely to be employed after high school (Theobald, et al., 2017).

Educational Rights

The rights of students with disabilities are violated, knowingly and unknowingly, each and every day. If educators don’t understand the rights of students with disabilities and the recourse they have in addressing rights violations, chances are good that students don’t know have a good idea of those things either. One of the best things you can offer your students is empowerment through a better understanding of their rights.


Where can I find resources about higher education?

The norm for high school students is to become career ready by continuing on in their education .in some fashion. We should hold the same expectations for people with disabilities. There are different options for continuing education, which could include on-the-job training, technical college training, or training at a university. Whether your student is leaving high school with a diploma or leaving high school without a diploma, there are absolutely options at hand for continuing their education.

  • The South Carolina High School Credential - Roughly 50% of students with IEPs are currently leaving South Carolina High Schools without state diplomas. Until this year, SC had no state-recognized path for student to follow that would provide them with a credential affirming their work towards college and career readiness. The SC High School Credential offers the promise of changing that story.

  • SC Technical Colleges- SC Technical Colleges offer bridge programs to 4-year schools, 2-year degrees, and certificate programs that don’t necessarily require a high school diploma. Find an SC technical college near you.

  • College Raptor- There are plenty of options for finding a 4-year college or university that offers a degree in your area of interest. One look with a search engine will turn up quite a few for you; College Raptor is a great example.

  • ThinkCollege - Comprehensive transition programs at two and four year colleges and universities have been started all over the country in the last 10 years. Most are specifically for students with intellectual disabilities who left high school without a traditional diploma, and nearly all focus on providing employment, social, academic and independent living support on a college campus. South Carolina has 5 such programs around the state. To learn more about these and the others around the country, visit Think College today.

  • SC Works has a comprehensive resource list related to educational programs and educational rights.

  • SC State Department of Education, Adult Education can assist individuals with obtaining a high school diploma, GED, or help to improve your reading skills. Access a directory of Adult Education sites across South Carolina here.

  • The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) provides a wealth of information on best practices in transition planning and support. Much of the content on the site requires creating a free account, but it will give you access to valuable resources.  

Post-Secondary Education Rights

Just like students in secondary education, students in post-secondary have rights that protect them from being discriminated against based on their disability.


What local agencies or programs are available to me?

Collaboration with other agencies and implementing best practice driven programming are perhaps the two most powerful tools at the disposal of educators. Having a clear vision for how both play into improving post-school outcomes in employment for your students is an absolute necessity.

  • The Transition Alliance of South Carolina (TASC) is a national leader in providing resources to local areas on interagency teaming and best practice in transition. If you don’t know what the agencies in your community can do to support your students or are unsure on what constitutes strong transition programming, connect with TASC today!

  • The South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department (SCVRD) helps young adults with barriers to employment build self-esteem; develop teamwork, communication, and leadership skills; and prepare for employment success and life as adults. VR also provides pre-employment training for students with disabilities, including job exploration counseling, work-based learning experiences, counseling on post-secondary education, workplace readiness training, and instruction in self-advocacy. These services may be provided in an individual or group setting, and do not require the student to be a VR consumer. Contact your VR counselor, teacher, guidance counselor or school nurse to get started.

  • The South Carolina Commission for the Blind (SCCB) is the branch of SC’s vocational rehabilitation system for people, including youth, with visual disabilities.

  • Protection & Advocacy for People with Disabilities offers this fact sheet to help you better understand Pre-Employment Transition Services offered through SCVRD and SCCB.

  • SC Works is an agency that serves all working age South Carolinians looking to find their place in employment. You can find a directory of SC Works locations here.

  • EQUIP is an inclusive, educational group designed to teach young adults (ages 13-28) with disabilities the value of self-advocacy, disability pride, youth empowerment, and professional skills. EQUIP is comprised of young adults with disabilities who are passionate about reaching their full potential and empowering others to do so as well!

  • Family Connection of South Carolina is our state’s Parent Training and Information Center and can be a great resource to parents. Family involvement in the transition process is a known predictor of post-school success for students with disabilities and parents can benefit from connecting with other parents who hold high expectations for young adults with disabilities.


What resources are available for more information?

Students equipped with the fullest possible knowledge of their rights and empowered to take the lead on their own lives is an aim that we can all contribute to.

  • The I’m Determined Project provides resources to educators, parents, and youth to promote self-determination and encourage youth to take an active role in their life. While this state-directed project is based out of Virginia, there are resources that any state can access and utilize.

  • It’s important to understand the value of transition planning and connect students with agencies that can expose them to careers, help with supports needed after high school, and provide students with a clear path of independence following high school exit. Protection and Advocacy created a fact sheet with important information to consider for transition planning

  • The Pacer Center has helpful information you can provide to parents.