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    3 ways to support special education students with college and career readiness

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    Key Point:

    There are more than that 140,000 special education (SPED) students in Washington state. These students often do not have access to the same level of resources that are available to general education students. Although we have made great strides in how we support students receiving special education services, equity gaps still exist in areas such as college and career planning.

    Students in special education may be considered incapable of succeeding in general and advanced level high school classes, participating in challenging vocational training, or succeeding in post-secondary education. There is a gender. These low expectations are often reinforced by the educational experiences of teachers, school counselors, and parents during their K-12 education. Special education students need their ambitions, interests, and talents to be recognized and encouraged, while also considering the academic supports they need to succeed.

    All students, regardless of ability, deserve access to resources that can help them successfully build their post-secondary plans.

    Here are three ways to help special education students participate in the college and career planning process.

    identify goals

    Setting goals is an important first step for all students in the post-secondary planning process. This will give you a clear vision of what you want to achieve and start creating a roadmap to get there.

    School staff and families must work together to help special education students set goals that reflect and embrace the reality of academic challenges without lowering expectations that may limit options. These goals need to be achievable, ambitious, and most importantly, customized to include students' abilities, strengths, and aspirations, allowing them to maximize achievement based on their strengths. That's it.

    Coursework not only provides valuable insight, but also helps students review the goals they set for themselves in high school and create a clear and complete inventory of skills. This gives career and college readiness teams a strong understanding of what tools and supports students need to succeed.

    It's important to keep goal-setting conversations positive and strengths-focused, especially for students, staff, and families who may be struggling to see their future potential.

    Provide personalized experiences and guidance

    As with all students, college- and career-ready skills can be developed in a variety of settings, with support from both school staff and the larger community.

    Creative opportunities for skill building and workforce training can be found at many schools. For example, in our school district, we have special education students who work as teacher's assistants, delivering mail to offices and classrooms. Additionally, both hard and soft skills are learned and developed in experiential settings outside of the classroom, such as community service projects, extracurricular activities, job shadowing, career mentorship, informational interviews, internships, practicums, and after-school programs. Masu.

    Assess what skills and talents special education students have and create opportunities inside and outside the classroom so that students can build on these and prepare for post-secondary life. We support.

    Group involvement

    Because special education students often work with a variety of professionals within the school system, it is important that all involved have a shared understanding of the student's interests, strengths, and future goals to ensure success.

    Successful collaboration fosters positive, realistic conversations across the team and ensures that all parties are committed to helping students achieve their post-secondary goals. College and career readiness software is a valuable tool that keeps everyone on the same page and allows multiple individuals to easily track and monitor student progress. The transition from high school to college or a career can be a big step for special education students, so parent involvement is especially important to continue providing support and guidance after graduation. is.

    Administrators, teachers, counselors, paraeducators, and parents who are all part of the student's team have a culture and belief system that special education students are capable of high-level work, success in post-secondary education, and enrollment. must be accepted. About a meaningful career. Special education students are entitled to the same opportunities as general education students, including the individual support they need along the way.

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