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Implementing the North Carolina Occupational Course of Study. Dr. Nellie P. Aspel Gail Bettis, M.Ed. Events Surrounding the N.C. Occupational Course of Study. North Carolina ABCs Accountability Program including promotion standards

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events surrounding the n c occupational course of study
Events Surrounding the N.C. Occupational Course of Study
  • North Carolina ABCs Accountability Program including promotion standards
  • CTE raising standards resulting in less “hands-on” courses offered by high schools
  • Lack of widespread CBT for students
  • Continuing drop-out issue for students being served in special education programs
  • Adoption of the TASSEL model by the state of Alabama and adoption of TASSEL within the state of North Carolina by multiple school systems.
pathways to a north carolina high diploma
Pathways to a North Carolina High Diploma

Career Course of Study

College Tech Prep Course of Study

College/University Prep Course of Study

Occupational Course of Study (8-2000)

Handout: Pathways to a High School Diploma

north carolina high school exit documents
North Carolina High School Exit Documents
  • High School Diploma
  • Certificate of Achievement
  • Graduation Certificate
  • NC Standard Course of Study
  • School-To-Work Opportunities Act (JobReady)
  • SCANS Skills
  • Elements of Work Ethic
  • Career Education
  • Vocational assessment is important to career decision-making.
  • Experiential hands-on learning is an important need for students for with disabilities.
  • Self-Determination is vital to successful transition planning and the obtainment of competitive employment.
  • The application of functional academics to work settings is important to future career success.
  • Interagency cooperation is needed for successful career development.
  • Students should spend increasing amounts of time in the community as they approach graduation.
  • Students who have paid work experience prior to graduation are more likely to obtain paid employment after graduation.
what are the benefits of the ocs
What are the benefits of the OCS?
  • Meets all transition requirements of IDEA
  • Provides functional curriculum matched to post-school goal of employment
  • Provides opportunity to obtain a high school diploma
  • Provides multiple vocational training options and paid competitive employment.
  • Decreases drop-out rate and behavior problems
  • Emphasizes self-determination

The OCS Can Prevent Many Problems Typically

Faced by Special Education Graduates

the occupational course of study is not
The Occupational Course of Study is NOT:
  • An appropriate curriculum for ALL students who can not obtain a high school diploma through one of the other courses of study
  • A program designed to remove certain students from the accountability standards
  • An inflexible course of study that can not be modified to serve a wide range of students with varying abilities
  • A “classroom - textbook” driven course of study
which students should consider the ocs
Which students should consider the OCS?
  • Students who are being served in the Exceptional Children’s program
  • Students who have a post-school outcome goal for employment after graduation
  • Students whose post-school needs are not being met by the NC Standard Course of Study and who wish to pursue a course of study that provides functional academics and hands-on vocational training.
participation in the ocs is
Participation in the OCS is:
  • Not based on a specific population, disability or label
  • Not appropriate for a student who is simply “struggling” in the SCS and who may not get a high school diploma
  • Not “automatic” for a student who has failed the 8th grade EOG.
  • Not a pathway consideration for a student who wishes to enter the military or pursue a two-year or four-year college/university degree
  • Not based solely on the preferences of the student and his or her family
  • An IEP decision NOT an administrative decision
  • Not going away!!!
iep team considerations when making placement decisions regarding the ocs
Previous success with accommodations, modifications and supplemental aids and services in the standard course of study

Match between student abilities and the various pathways to a high school diploma

Desires of the parent and student

Student post-school goals in the transition domains

Learning style of the student

Recommendations of former teachers

Drop-out risk

IEP Team Considerations When Making Placement Decisions Regarding the OCS

Handout: OCS Recommendation Form

main components of the ocs
Functional Academic Curriculum

School-based learning activities

Career Technical Education

Work-based learning activities

Competitive Employment

Computer Proficiency


Student and parent involvement

Career Portfolio

Main Components of the OCS
occupational course of study curriculum framework
Occupational Course of Study Curriculum Framework
  • English: Occupational English I-II-III-IV
  • Math: Occupational Math I-II-III
  • Science: Life Skills Science I-II
  • Social Studies: Government/US History and Self-Advocacy/Problem-solving
  • Occupational Preparation I-II-III-IV
  • Career/Technical – 4 credits (recommended in same career pathway)
  • Health/PE (1 credit)
  • Arts – not required but recommended
  • Electives – local decision
additional ocs requirements
Additional OCS Requirements
  • 300 school-based vocational training hours
  • 240 work-based vocational training hours
  • 360 competitive employment hours
  • Career Portfolio
  • Completion of IEP Objectives
  • Computer Proficiency as specified in the IEP
occupational english competencies
Occupational English: Competencies
  • Functional Reading
  • Written Language
  • Expressive Communication
  • Receptive Communication
  • Media and Technology

Handout: OCS Curriculum Framework

occupational math competencies
Occupational Math: Competencies
  • Computation
  • Financial Management
  • Time
  • Measurement
  • Independent Living
  • Technology
life skills science i and ii
Safety Measures and Procedures

Simple First Aid

Obtaining Medical Treatment

Healthful Living and Good Nutrition

Relationship Issues

Basic Human Anatomy and Genetics

Human Reproduction

Life Science (plants, and animals)

Environmental Science

Physical Science (tools, simple machines, energy, and physical properties)

Life Skills Science I and II
social studies i sbe approval pending
Social Studies I(SBE Approval Pending)
  • Background, functions, and roles of local, state and federal government
  • Local, state, national and international geography
  • Economic skills
  • Expression of personal rights in relationships to local, state, and federal employment laws.
  • Basic US History
social studies ii self determination sbe approval pending

Awareness of Disability


Communication Skills


Problem-Solving Skills

Relaxation Skills

Social Studies II – Self-Determination(SBE Approval Pending)
occupational preparation requirements
Occupational Preparation Requirements
  • Occupational Preparation I (1 credit)
  • Occupational Preparation II (2 credits)
  • Occupational Preparation III (2 credits)
  • Occupational Preparation IV (1 credit)
  • School-Based Training (300 hours)
  • Work-Based Training (240 hours)
  • Competitive Employment (360 hours)
  • Career Placement Portfolio
competency goal 1 self determination

Understanding evaluations and assessments

Career Planning

Forms of Communication

Laws and Disability Rights

Labor Unions

Agency Services

Transition Planning

Competency Goal 1: Self-Determination
competency goal 2 career development
Competency Goal 2: Career Development
  • Career Benefits
  • Occupational Information
  • Career Pathway Choice
  • Vocational Assessment
  • School-Based Vocational Training
  • Work-Based Vocational Training
competency goal 3 job seeking skills
Competency Goal 3: Job Seeking Skills
  • Job Search Areas and Strategies
  • Obtaining and Completing Job Applications
  • Interviewing Strategies
  • Employment-Related Information
  • Career Placement Portfolio
competency goal 4 work behaviors habits and skills in personal management
Competency Goal 4: Work Behaviors, Habits and Skills in Personal Management
  • Work Ethic
  • Personal Hygiene and Grooming
  • Transportation and Mobility
  • Personal Management Work Behaviors, Habits, and Skills
  • Payroll and Fringe Benefits
competency 5 work behaviors habits and skills in job performance
Competency 5: Work Behaviors, Habits, and Skills in Job Performance
  • Common workplace rules
  • Safety Issues
  • Environmental Issues
  • Quality and Quantity of Work
  • Physical Demands
  • Job Performance Issues
  • Technology
competency goal 6 interpersonal relationship skills
Social Amenities, Social Routines, Conversational Topics, and Language

Conflict Situations

Cultural Diversity

Supervisor Interactions

Natural Supports

Customer Service Skills

Formal and Informal Organizational Systems


Competency Goal 6: Interpersonal Relationship Skills
competency goal 7 completion of 360 hours of competitive employment op iv only
Competency Goal 7: Completion of 360 Hours of Competitive Employment (OP IV Only)
  • Obtains and maintains a competitive employment position in an integrated community setting at or above minimum wage (with or without supported employment) in chosen career pathway.
  • Synthesizes and applies all skill areas learned in previous Occupational Preparation courses to obtain and maintain competitive employment.
  • “Sheltered Employment” is not competitive employment.
school based training activities 300 hours
Vocational Assessment Activities

School-Based Enterprises

Student-Operated Small Businesses

On-Campus Jobs

Vocational Organizations and Job Clubs

Leadership in School-Sponsored Community Service Projects (e.g. Blood Mobile, Food Drive)

Job Fairs

Mock Interviews by Local Employers

School-Based Training Activities (300 hours)
work based training activities 240 hours
Community-Based Training (enclaves, mobile work crews)

Situational Assessment

Paid and Non-Paid Internships (WIA or CTE)

Job Shadowing


Co-Op programs

Industry Tours

Interviews of Local Employers

Part-Time Employment

Legitimate Volunteer Experiences

Community Service Projects/Volunteerism

Work-Based Training Activities (240 hours)
competitive employment 360 hours
Competitive Employment(360 Hours)
  • Successfully obtains and maintains a competitive employment position in an integrated community setting at or above minimum wage (with or without supported employment) in chosen career pathway.
  • Synthesizes and applies all skill areas learned through the OCS to obtain and maintain competitive employment.
  • Serves as an “Exit Exam.”
what happens when a student does not complete the competitive employment hours
What Happens When A Student Does Not Complete The Competitive Employment Hours?

Option 1:

The student may exit school with a Certificate of Achievement and transcript.

The student shall be allowed by the LEA to participate in graduation exercises.

If the student later secures employment that meets the specified criteria

established in the “High School Exit Agreement” and completes 360 hours of

successful employment, he/she could then be granted a North Carolina diploma.

Option 2:

The student may choose not to exit high school and, instead, return in the fall

to complete his/her competitive employment requirement, with the assistance

of school personnel. This option is available to students who have not yet

reached their 21st birthday. The student must be enrolled in school and have

an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that addresses seeking and securing

competitive employment as part of the transition component. If the student

successfully completes the 360 hours of competitive employment, he/she would

then receive a North Carolina Diploma.

Handout: Statement of Understanding – Certificate of Achievement

career portfolio
Personal Information

Educational Information

Employment Information



CTE Courses

Extracurricular and Community Participation

On-Campus and Off-Campus Training

Competitive Employment

Work Evaluation Summaries

Medical Information

Financial Information

Occupational Assessments

Career Portfolio

Handout: Career Portfolio Format

computer proficiency
Computer Proficiency
  • The IEP Team must determine the level of computer proficiency appropriate for each student enrolled in the OCS.
  • The standard for computer proficiency should be set as high as is reasonable for a student based on ability and post-school goals.
  • Computer proficiency should match a student’s needs (e.g. assistive technology)
  • The IEP Team should have a “standard” procedure for this process.
  • Documentation should reflect student progress toward their individualized computer proficiency requirements.

Handout: Computer Proficiency Planning Form

what do you need to get the job done
Administrative support

Access to reliable transportation

Space to establish an SBE or operate a student operated business

Sufficient staff to deliver the curriculum, oversee vocational training sites and do job development

Polices and procedures for various aspects of the program

Parent and student involvement

Interagency collaboration

Materials and equipment

Business and community support

What do you need to get the job done?