VICTORY / 18+ Program Referral Procedures and Program Description

What's Required

(a)  The commissioner shall by rule adopt procedures for compliance with federal requirements relating to transition services for students who are enrolled in special education programs under this subchapter.  The procedures must specify the manner in which a student's admission, review, and dismissal committee must consider, and if appropriate, address the following issues in the student's individualized education program:
(1)  appropriate student involvement in the student's transition to life outside the public school system;
(2)  if the student is younger than 18 years of age, appropriate involvement in the student's transition by the student's parents and other persons invited to participate by:
(A)  the student's parents; or
(B)  the school district in which the student is enrolled;
(3)  if the student is at least 18 years of age, involvement in the student's transition and future by the student's parents and other persons, if the parent or other person:
(A)  is invited to participate by the student or the school district in which the student is enrolled; or
(B)  has the student's consent to participate pursuant to a supported decision-making agreement under Chapter 1357, Estates Code;
(4)  appropriate postsecondary education options, including preparation for postsecondary-level coursework;
(5)  an appropriate functional vocational evaluation;
(6)  appropriate employment goals and objectives;
(7)  if the student is at least 18 years of age, the availability of age-appropriate instructional environments, including community settings or environments that prepare the student for postsecondary education or training, competitive integrated employment, or independent living, in coordination with the student's transition goals and objectives;
(8)  appropriate independent living goals and objectives;
(9)  appropriate circumstances for facilitating a referral of a student or the student's parents to a governmental agency for services or public benefits, including a referral to a governmental agency to place the student on a waiting list for public benefits available to the student, such as a waiver program established under Section 1915(c), Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 1396n(c)); and
(10)  the use and availability of appropriate:
(A)  supplementary aids, services, curricula, and other opportunities to assist the student in developing decision-making skills; and
(B)  supports and services to foster the student's independence and self-determination, including a supported decision-making agreement under Chapter 1357, Estates Code.
(a-1)  A student's admission, review, and dismissal committee shall annually review the issues described by Subsection (a) and, if necessary, update the portions of the student's individualized education program that address those issues.
(a-2)  The commissioner shall develop and post on the agency's Internet website a list of services and public benefits for which referral may be appropriate under Subsection (a)(9).
(b)  The commissioner shall require each school district or shared services arrangement to designate at least one employee to serve as the district's or shared services arrangement's designee on transition and employment services for students enrolled in special education programs under this subchapter.  The commissioner shall develop minimum training guidelines for a district's or shared services arrangement's designee.  An individual designated under this subsection must provide information and resources about effective transition planning and services, including each issue described by Subsection (a), and interagency coordination to ensure that local school staff communicate and collaborate with:
(1)  students enrolled in special education programs under this subchapter and the parents of those students; and
(2)  as appropriate, local and regional staff of the:
(A)  Health and Human Services Commission;
(B)  Texas Workforce Commission;
(C)   Department of State Health Services; and
(D)  Department of Family and Protective Services.
(c)  The commissioner shall review and, if necessary, update the minimum training guidelines developed under Subsection (b) at least once every four years.  In reviewing and updating the guidelines, the commissioner shall solicit input from stakeholders.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.  Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 704, Sec. 1, 2, eff. June 20, 2003.
Amended by: 
Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 257 (H.B. 617), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2013.
Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 574 (S.B. 748), Sec. 1, eff. June 9, 2017.
Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1044 (H.B. 1886), Sec. 2, eff. June 15, 2017.


Appropriate state transition planning under the procedure adopted under Section 29.011 must begin for a student not later than when the student reaches 14 years of age.

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1250 (S.B. 1788), Sec. 3, eff. June 17, 2011.


How are 18+  Services Different than CBI/SL/CBVI

Texas requires school districts to consider the availability of age-appropriate instructional environments for adult students who are at least 18 years of age and older. Age-appropriate instructional environments for adult students with disabilities ages 18 and older are those of their same-age peers, community environments and options that are available to adults of all ages. The issue is not the availability of age-appropriate instructional environments but how to access and utilize the environments that exist in the community and not on high schools campuses or even at separate locations owned and operated by a public school district. The age-appropriate environments include but are not limited to businesses, community services, transportation vehicles, living environments, post-secondary institutions and recreation/living locations.

The 18+ is a non-traditional education that is designed to provide instruction in the community in age-appropriate environments. Locations include work-based learning sites and paid-employment sites, postsecondary education options, service learning, community services such as grocery stores and adult agencies, and community transportation services. Community sites for recreation/leisure are included in the transition programming options for students in the 18+ program. The specific locations where the instruction occurs, and the supports needed are individually designed and based on the adult student’s IEP developed by the ARD (Admission, Review and Dismissal) Committee through a data-driven decision making process based on current evaluation data. 18+ is a community-based program that uses the community as an extension of the classroom. The opportunity to learn side by side with individuals without disabilities is a critical component of the program. The individualized education program, for each adult student, is designed to be implemented in natural environments in the community that have been identified as post-school goals by the adult student and parent/guardian. Current evaluation data is used to identify strengths, preferences, and interests related to postsecondary goals. Information on instructional needs, which were identified in the current evaluation data, is provided to the ARD Committee to make data-driven decisions in the development of the individualized education program (IEP). The IEP is the guiding framework to implement instruction for work-based learning, postsecondary education, travel training, independent living, service learning, recreation/leisure activities, or other areas of need identified by the ARD Committee. Related services identified as a need are integrated into the natural community environments and supported by the 18+ staff in collaboration with the related service staff.

18+ and Transition Services

According to federal law, the ARD committee must determine transition services (including courses of study) needed to assist the child in reaching postsecondary goals. Although the Texas Education Code requires Transition planning to be in place not later than when the students turns 14 years of age, Transition Services must be in place prior to the student turning age 16. The Texas requirement went into effect September 1, 2011.

C.F.R. §300.320. Definition of individualized education program. 
(b) Transition services. 
Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP Team, and updated annually, thereafter, the IEP must include—
(1) Appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age 
appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, 
employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills; and
(2) The transition services (including courses of study) needed to 
assist the child in reaching those goals.

The state of Texas provides additional clarification regarding transition services and areas to consider. Item 8 addresses age-appropriate instructional environments. Item 2 does not apply at 18+, as students must be 18 or over in order to participate in the non-traditional adult learning program.

(j) Beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, not later than when a student reaches 14 years of age, the ARD committee must consider and, if appropriate, address the following issues in the IEP:
  (1) appropriate student involvement in the student's transition to life outside the public school system;
  (2) if the student is younger than 18 years of age, appropriate involvement in the student's transition by the student's parents and other persons invited to participate by:
    (A) the student's parents; or
    (B) the school district in which the student is enrolled;
  (3) if the student is at least 18 years of age, involvement in the student's transition and future by the student's parents and other persons, if the parent or other person:
    (A) is invited to participate by the student or the school district in which the student is enrolled; or
    (B) has the student's consent to participate pursuant to a supported decision-making agreement under Texas Estates Code, Chapter 1357;
  (4) appropriate postsecondary education options, including preparation for postsecondary-level coursework;
  (5) an appropriate functional vocational evaluation;
  (6) appropriate employment goals and objectives;
  (7) if the student is at least 18 years of age, the availability of age-appropriate instructional environments, including community settings or environments that prepare the student for postsecondary education or training, competitive integrated employment, or independent living, in coordination with the student's transition goals and objectives;
  (8) appropriate independent living goals and objectives;
  (9) appropriate circumstances for facilitating a referral of a student or the student's parents to a governmental agency for services or public benefits, including a referral to a governmental agency to place the student on a waiting list for public benefits available to the student such as a waiver program established under the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 1396n(c)), §1915(c); and
  (10) the use and availability of appropriate:
    (A) supplementary aids, services, curricula, and other opportunities to assist the student in developing decision-making skills; and
    (B) supports and services to foster the student's independence and self-determination, including a supported decision-making agreement under Texas Estates Code, Chapter 1357.



18+ / VICTORY Program Goals


The program goals for 18+/VICTORY is to serve young adults with disabilities as they transition from public school to adult life, may include one or more of the following:
To assist adult students to obtain full or part-time paid employment;
To assist adult students to participate in postsecondary education and/or training;
To provide travel training to adult students to ensure access and sustainability of skills learned and performed in the community;
To facilitate the learning and use of self-determination skills;
To improve communication skills related to business and social relationships, meeting personal needs, employment, postsecondary education/training, and independent living;
To assist adult students to develop social relationships with same-age peers as a natural support system;
To facilitate the application to and client-ship of adult agencies and/or community services that provide continued services and supports to adults with disabilities;
To assist adult students to develop and participate in adult recreation/leisure activities;
To train parents/guardians and family members on strategies and skills to provide support to adult students with disabilities after graduation or aging-out of high school; and
To provide training, support, and opportunities for adult students with disabilities to increase their level of independence and participation in adult life.



What We Do




Description of Program

Vocational Independence Community Training of Outstanding Young Adults (VICTORY) is proposed as Spring ISD’s postsecondary transition program for students with intellectual and cognitive disabilities. This program will combine vocational instruction with real world experiences designed to equip students with cognitive disabilities with the skills needed to become viable citizens in the community. The program will serve Community Based Instruction (CBI) and Structured Learning (SL) ages 18 to 22 that have completed the requirements for graduation and need additional support to obtain competitive employment, enter college or assistance with daily living skills necessary for independence. VICTORY consists of three components: 1.) vocation 2.) independence and 3.) community.

Vocation

 The major aspects of the vocational component are pre-employment skills, on-the-job training and internships.  Pre-employment skills training focuses on soft skills with emphasis on effective communication, workplace etiquette, resume writing, presentation skills, team work, interviewing skills, time management and other pre-employment skills.  Students will learn through hands on activities and direct instruction using the Unique curriculum and Brigance Transition Skills Activities.
All participants in VICTORY will engage in on-the-job training at a partnering job site.  The training will occur in various training environments within the community such as: hospitals, restaurants, transportation services and retail establishments.  Students will be placed on sites based on their long-term employment goals, interests, and abilities. Under the direct supervision of the teachers and vocational trainers, students will learn specific skills needed to work in specific environments.  Once students complete a series of on-the-job training, the teachers will evaluate the students’ performance to determine if they are eligible for an internship.  
Eligible students will select sites in which they are interested in becoming employees.  As interns the students will train under the supervision of an employee or manager at the intern site.  The purpose of the internships is to allow students to receive training leading to competitive employment in their area of interest. Some potential internships are: Spring ISD Child Nutrition and Transportation departments, daycares, Pet Smart, bakeries and other businesses in the community.

Independence

A key area of focus of VICTORY is helping young adults with disabilities to develop the skills needed to survive in the “real world”.  To help participants achieve independence, VICTORY students will receive extensive training in daily living skills, self-advocacy and self-determination. Program participants will learn how to manage living independently through learning labs and activities that simulate real-life scenarios. The students will have access to a functioning kitchen and mock apartment.  In the simulated labs, the students will practice cleaning, cooking, meal planning, grocery shopping, maintenance of an apartment, etc.  In addition, the daily living curriculum will teach students how to manage bank accounts, practice counting money, making purchases, paying bills and other skills associated with everyday life. 
Self-advocacy and self-determination are fundamental life skills for all adults.  Students with disabilities often struggle in these areas.  The curriculum used in the VICTORY program exposes students to activities centered on self-advocacy and self-determination. Program participants will engage in activities that emphasize decision making, asking pertinent questions, taking ownership of one’s actions, being active participants in planning for their future and being able to advocate on their own behalf.

Community

Learning to navigate in the community is an important fragment of training and preparing students for independence.  The VICTORY program will prepare students by creating work opportunities in the community as well as specific training in accessing community resources.  VICTORY participants will receive in-depth training in using public transportation, attending recreational events such as plays, etiquette in restaurants, accessing community resources such as the post office and library, navigating a college campus and practicing communication skills in social settings.   

The goals of VICTORY are:

Equip participants with skills needed for employment, college readiness and independence.
Increase employability of Spring ISD students with disabilities in the community
Provide vocational training and internships in student selected career paths.
Achieve 85% placement in competitive employment by year 3.

The ultimate goal of the program is to expose students to real world life and work experiences leading to competitive employment, independent living or further education.

Program Requirements for Participation

The target audience for the VICTORY Program is Spring ISD’s CBI and SL students, ages 18 to 22, which have met the requirements for graduation and have participated in Community Based Vocational Instruction (CBVI).  The decision for placement into VICTORY is an ARD committee decision. VICTORY is not appropriate for all adult students with disabilities who are 18 or older. To be considered for VICTORY the student must:
Be ages 18-22 and reside in SISD,
Have a current Individual Education Plan (IEP)
Have completed their high school courses for graduation 
Able to provide official transcript showing completion of courses
Met state assessment guidelines; 
Referred for consideration by the high school staff, parent or student request
Require and/or seek support in skills necessary for adult life beyond the age of 18.  
Be employable and/or interested in skills training


Referral Process



It is the responsibility of the campus (Transition Counselor, Evaluation Specialist or Case Manager) to refer students for VICTORY consideration. The referral includes completing the VICTORY Referral Form, obtaining an official transcript from the campus, and emailing the documents to the VAC Transition Program Lead.  Once the VAC Transition Program Lead receives the referral, the Parent/guardian will be contacted regarding the adult student’s referral to VICTORY. An initial observation will be scheduled on the campus in the student’s classroom environment. A second observation will occur during Community Based Vocational Instruction.

After the completion of the observations, the student and parent will be interviewed by the VICTORY Screening Committee consisting of VAC Transition Program Lead, CBVI Transition Specialist, Campus Transition Specialist and Coordinator.  The Screening Committee will review each referral to determine if student meets criteria. Once the student is deemed eligible for participation, a staffing with the campus staff, VAC Transition Program Lead, and CBVI Specialist must be held before the ARD meeting to discuss the student referral. An ARD meeting will be scheduled to review the existing data and consider the placement of the adult student in the VICTORY Program. The VAC Transition Program Lead must be a member of the ARD committee for any student being considered for VICTORY.

Service Delivery

The VICTORY Program will use a campus based model initially with the goal of eventually moving to a district based model and eventually to a community model. Campus based 18 plus program participants are separate from traditional high school program but still remain on a high school campus. The district provides bus transportation 
The program will initially be housed on an existing Spring ISD high school campus.  The VICTORY Program will require a staff of 2 teachers and 2 vocational trainers.  The VAC Transition Program Leader will serve as the administrator for the program. 


For more information regarding VICTORY, please contact:

Rey Smith Sims, M.Ed
Transition/18+ Coordinator 
rsmithsi@springisd.org
281-891-6269

Forms