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CSAVR The Times, They Are a Changin’. Establishing a Transition Community of Practice in Your State Fall 2005. Topics of Discussion. Overview of a Community of Practice Creation of a Local Community of Practice A State VR Director’s Perspective

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csavr the times they are a changin

CSAVRThe Times, They Are a Changin’

Establishing a Transition Community of Practice in Your State

Fall 2005

topics of discussion
Topics of Discussion
  • Overview of a Community of Practice
  • Creation of a Local Community of Practice
  • A State VR Director’s Perspective
  • A Regional Approach to Expanding Communities of Practice
  • Growing and Sustaining a Community of Practice: A Statewide Perspective
  • How Can Your State be Involved in the National Transition Community of Practice?
what s on your mind

What’s on Your Mind?

Let's Talk

Establishing a Transition Community of Practice in Your State

overview of a community of practice

Overview of a Community of Practice

Joanne Cashman, Director

The IDEA Partnership

a community of practice
A Community of Practice

“Group of people who share a concern, a set of problems or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their understanding and knowledge of this area by interacting on an ongoing basis.”

(Etienne Wenger et.al., 2002)

a community of practice is about outcomes
A Community of Practice is about Outcomes
  • All partners are required to demonstrate outcomes of youth served.
  • What’s in it for Me for ALL partners in the community.
  • The community comes together around the shared vision of youth with disabilities becoming productive, self-sufficient citizens.
the spirit of community we are in this together
A way of working

Involving those who do shared work

Involving those that share issues

Always asking “who isn’t here?”

A way of learning

To create new knowledge grounded in ‘doing the work’

With those who can advocate for and make change

The Spirit of Community: We Are In This Together!
encouraging investments that result in outcomes
Learning how to move from ‘knowing’ to ‘doing.’

Translating learning to policy.

Encouraging investments that will move the work.

Recognizing the value of all contributions to a more complete and effective approach.

Creating new relationships among policymakers, researchers and implementers.

Encouraging Investments that Result in Outcomes
creation of a local community of practice

Creation of a Local Community of Practice

Marty Kester

Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant

before it was called a community of practice
Before it was called a Community of Practice…
  • Reality: Youth were graduating unprepared for employment.
  • Gathered interested stakeholders to discuss the issues.
  • Identified barriers and potential solutions.
  • Commitment and leadership: the birth of the Berks County Local Transition Coordinating Council…the rest is history!
  • As the Bureau Director, recognized and promoted this “strategy” as common practice in VR…now called a “community of practice”.
a state vr director s perspective

A State VR Director’s Perspective

Catherine Campisi, PhD

CA Department of Rehabilitation

community of practice
Community of Practice
  • Why Was it Important to California VR?
  • Why Should it be Important to your VR Agency?
  • Public Policy of Seamless Transition in Rehab Act and IDEA
  • Interagency Agreements between VR and Education
  • Interagency Agreement between VR and higher education
  • Interagency Agreements with WIA partner agencies
  • IPE before leaving high school—seamless transition
  • Community of Practice is A Mechanism to Make the Paper Real
what could be the better outcomes of using cop
What Could be the Better Outcomes of Using CoP?
  • Young VR Consumers are better prepared for work
  • Coordinated career planning
  • Better Consumer Plans for Employment
  • Less missteps, lack of consumer success and conflict which saves VR dollars and staff time;
  • Development of new disability community leaders and meaningful youth input on SRCs, SILCs, WIBs, and grant advisory councils;
facing some realities
Facing Some Realities
  • Too many issues, overloaded staff, lack of resources
  • CoP is not required in the Rehab Act
  • All true… but inter-agency coordination to support youth moving from school to work IS required
  • Because you cannot do it all, DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD DO NOTHING
  • Key value of partnership is communication, discussion, and negotiation. Find the incremental progress steps.
  • It gets easier and has a multiplier effect as you go on
  • Bottom-line – Make the public policy and the paper required of VR for seamless transition REAL… CoP is a mechanism to help get you there.
a regional approach to expanding communities of practice

A Regional Approach to Expanding Communities of Practice

Vance Coover, NE Division Administrator

PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

Hal Bloss, Assistant Executive Director

Luzerne Intermediate Unit

vr issues
VR Issues
  • Rehabs
  • Success Rate
  • Job Retention
  • Limited Budget
better student job programs
Better Student Job Programs
  • Early Focus on Jobs
  • Student Centered
  • Experiential
  • Real Situations
  • Community Integrated
  • Data Collection
complexities across systems boundaries
Complexities Across Systems’ Boundaries

21 OVR District Offices

501 Public Schools + Approved Private Schools + Charter Schools

67 County Administrators (MH/MR/Children & Youth)

29 Regional Education Agencies

26 Local Workforce Investment Areas

geographic regional challenges
Geographic/Regional Challenges

10 County Wilkes Barre OVR

4 Intermediate Units

community of practice community more than 1
Community of Practice Community = More than 1
  • Practice = Just Do It!
growing effective practices
Growing Effective Practices
  • College Experience Programs
  • Transition House Programs
ne pa community of practice college experience programs
NE PA Community of PracticeCollege Experience Programs
  • Special Education
    • 4 Intermediate Units (#16, 17, 18 & 19)
    • Hazelton Area School District
    • Tunkannock Area School District
  • OVR Wilkes-Barre District Office
  • Post-Secondary Schools
    • Penn State – Hazleton
    • Luzerne Co Community College
    • Lackawanna College-Towanda
    • Bloomsburg University
    • Penn State – Worthington
expanding your community s capacity through replication of best practices
Expanding Your Community’s Capacity through Replication of Best Practices
  • OVR Transition Project with Hazleton School District & Penn State University: College Opportunities Options Program
    • To provide experiential learning for youth on a college campus, while in high school to determine if post-secondary education is a via goal, to experience the expectations of higher education, and to learn from other experienced youth.
  • Replication in six sites, designed to meet the needs of youth in a local area.
vital house transition house model program
VITAL House: Transition House Model Program
  • OVR Transition Project with Hazleton School District to establish VITAL House
  • Youth Outcomes Evident!
  • Transition Houses Began to Appear Across Pennsylvania…Some with Funding, Others with No Funding
  • Success Breeds Success!
  • In the Northeast Region of PA Youth Now Have Participation in a Transition House as a High School Option
    • Victory Village
    • The REAL Academy
    • TIGER House
three key principles an regional educator s perspective
Three Key Principles: An Regional Educator’s Perspective
  • Appropriate Placement
    • What? Who? Where? When? And the overriding question is Why?
    • Build strength based models- islands of competence
    • Remove the fear
  • Everyone working with the student must be an advocate for the student
  • Be consistent with the message!
capability for replication
Capability for Replication
  • Move off the Dime!!!
  • Start the Journey!!! Vision comes later!!!
  • Be Ambiguous - Sell the problems, not the solutions!
  • Stop the monologue, start the dialogue!
  • Provide opportunity and choice. AOAP!!!
  • No X-mas Tree programs!!!
  • Be consistent with the message!
growing and sustaining a community of practice a statewide perspective

Growing and Sustaining a Community of Practice: A Statewide Perspective

Joan Kester, Statewide Transition Specialist, PA OVR

State Leadership Team, PA Community on Transition

so where do you begin
So Where do You Begin?
  • It happens on multiple levels – national, state, regional, local levels.
  • What’s on your plate? What is achievable and could create a win-win situation?
  • Give up Control. Share the responsibility for solutions. Who could contribute, broaden your impact, and share the work? Involve others from the BEGINNING, not at the end to create buy-in and ownership. Things may feel messy.
  • Take a leap of faith. Families and youth have a great depth of knowledge and experience. Involve them in your work from the start in deeper roles.
so where do you begin1
So Where do You Begin?
  • Leadership is essential and multi-dimensional.
  • Work with a purpose. Focus on outcomes.
  • Open, honest, ongoing dialogue about the tough issues. No more pointing fingers or pretending things are perfect. Get beyond turf issues.
  • Create a teamwork environment. Your team is ever evolving. Promote a “you can count on me philosophy”.
  • Synergize! Share your passion. Accept diverse opinions. Trust that multiple perspectives lead to solutions when you least expect it! Celebrate and have fun.
actions speak louder than words
Actions Speak Louder than Words
  • Combine professional development efforts. If we all hear the same message, we will eventually speak the same language and focus on the same outcomes.
  • Cross-pollinate on projects, policies, initiatives, state plans, etc. Pave the way to seamless transition services.
actions speak louder than words1
Actions Speak Louder than Words
  • “I’m from the state and I’m here to help, trust me!” Break down these barriers. Replace with “We are in this together.”
  • Actions speak louder than words. You can count on the state team. Create forums for open, honest communication. Be prepared to hear about problems and barriers. Always balance these discussions with potential solutions and highlighting what works.
actions speak louder than words2
Actions Speak Louder than Words
  • Help connect the dots of effective practices. Stop reinventing the wheel by establishing a network.
  • Create an environment where local stakeholders can learn from one another, and can count on networking opportunities: statewide conference, regional sessions, conference calls, list-serves, and websites. Be creative!
sustaining your efforts
Sustaining Your Efforts
  • Ongoing strategic planning may provide clarity and focus of future work. Always move forward.
  • Develop and nurture a culture of community.
  • Build and sustain an effective communication network.
  • Remember ideas develop in all directions. Input and feedback from stakeholders drive your work.
  • Community of practice is a way of working, not a new or separate initiative. It aligns with our traditional VR philosophy.
final words of wisdom
Final Words of Wisdom
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate.
  • Make sure people are constantly given opportunities to connect to your work in meaningful ways.
  • Always ask who is not at the table and could contribute? Don’t take no for an answer.
  • Feel the passion and synergy created from community efforts.
  • Stay focused on the vision – it’s all about youth outcomes!
the idea partnership how can your state become involved
The IDEA Partnership: How can Your State Become Involved?

More information on the Interagency Transition Community and other Cross-State/Cross Role Communities is now available at:


…or call us toll free at :

1-877- IDEAINFo

csavr the times they are a changin1

CSAVRThe Times, They Are a Changin’

Let's Talk

Establishing a Transition Community of Practice in Your State

feel free to contact us
Feel Free to Contact Us!
  • Catherine Campisi, ccampisi@dor.ca.gov
  • Joanne Cashman, joanne.cashman@nasdse.org
  • Marty Kester, mgkester@comcast.net
  • Joan Kester, joakester@state.pa.us
  • Vance Coover, vcoover@state.pa.us
  • Hal Bloss, hbloss@liu18.org