2014-2015 RCN Priorities

START Regional Collaborative Network (RCN) Priorities:

  1. Professional Development with Impact
  2. Coaching for Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices (EBP)
  3. Secondary Transition
  4. Peer to Peer Support Programs

1. Professional Development (PD) with Impact:

Develop and implement a PD plan in collaboration with START approved trainers. PD may be delivered in many different ways but should focus on START module content and include training with implementation follow up.

Options for PD with Impact may include:

  1. Intensive Training series similar to START's team-based Intensive Training (i.e. Mini IT)
  2. Training series focused on a specific group such as paraprofessionals, general education teachers, building coaches, or parents
  3. Intensive focus on an evidence-based practice such as functional behavioral assessment, self-management, data collection and decision making practices
  4. Peer to peer program support training
  5. Connecting ASD PD with school improvement goals and activities (e.g. school-wide PBIS or RtI)
  6. Implementing brief, targeted trainings at building team meetings, staff meetings, or grade level meetings

Outcomes may include:

  • Increased number of people trained in evidence-based practices
  • Increased involvement of parents in training
  • Increased number of peer to peer support programs operating in districts
  • ASD support integrated into school improvement plans (e.g. intensive supports within a multi-tier system)
  • Improved paraprofessional knowledge and implementation of evidence-based practices
  • Adoption of meeting mechanics across district buildings
  • Data demonstrating student improvement on goals related to training
  • Improvement in USAPT data compared to pre-training assessment
  • Expansion of district and building involvement throughout the RCN region

2. Coaching for Implementation of Evidence-based Practice:

Coaching is the primary infrastructure for implementation of evidence-based practices and may include instructional practices such as differentiated output leading to greater access to general education curriculum or specific practices such as self-management. All RCN should evaluate and strengthen their coaching structure with building teams, building coaches, and coach leaders to ensure implementation of evidence-based practices for educating all students with ASD.

*For current information about empirically supported treatments, see the new report from the National Professional Development Center (NPDC) listing 27 evidence-based interventions for children with ASD.

Key components of this goal area include:

  1. Utilizing the USAPT to assess use of practices, developing goals for improvement, and entering the data into the online USAPT system
  2. Establishing a coaching structure at the district and ISD level
  3. Increasing knowledge, use, and evaluation of evidence-based practices
  4. Create a minimum of one video or podcast for coaches to use in order to improve implementation of evidence-based practices. An example will be posted on the START website under Coaching Resources

Outcomes may include:

  • Coach(es) in each building that has students with ASD. Coaches may serve in different roles such as coaching for team process, coaching for implementation of specific strategies such as visual supports, or coaching to implement peer to peer support.
  • Regular meetings with building coaches
  • An ISD/district coaching resource website and/or library
  • Completion of the USAPT in each building within a district
  • Action plans and follow up on USAPT improvement goals
  • Broad implementation of meeting mechanics across districts
  • Regular data review at building team meetings
  • Integration of ASD support into building meetings and school improvement plans
  • Direct coaching at the building, classroom, and student level
  • Increased implementation of specific EBP (e.g. video modeling)
  • Improved outcomes for students as measured through specific data

3. START Building Your Future (BYF) - Secondary Transition:

The goal of the START BYF Project is to establish a process that allows young adults with ASD to participate in meaningful work experiences before leaving school that ultimately leads to paid employment in the community. Professionals in the schools and the adult service systems use a discovery process and natural supports to support integrated employment for all students. Each RCN will need a Secondary Transition Action Group (or send an RCN representative to an already established group) to set goals for at least 4 transition age students to develop innovative plans to access work experiences and employment and/or post-secondary education.

*Review the BYF Training Manual and support materials on the START website

Key components of this goal area include:

  1. Transition Planning
    1. Identify at least 4 transition age target students for employment or post-secondary education focus
    2. Use the V3 discovery process checklist - Vision, Vocational Profile, and Visual Resume
    3. Establish an implementation plan for employment or post-secondary education based on the discovery process for target students and collect baseline and student progress data
    4. Develop natural supports as part of work experiences
  2. Plan at least two Community Conversations through your RCN. Use the Community Conversations Resources on the START website.

Outcomes may include:

  • Use of the V3 discovery process for students with ASD starting at age 14 (or earlier)
  • School-based transition staff and community partners are trained in the components of the BYF Project
  • Youth/young adults with ASD obtain after school and/or summer employment before graduation
  • Regular meetings are scheduled with MRS and CMH to create a plan to work with students earlier and blend funding and practices
  • Natural supports strategies are used in work settings for students with ASD
  • Community Conversations are held with families, the Chamber of Commerce, local businesses, or other community groups
  • Members of the school-based transition team meet with the Office of Disability Services at the local college to coordinate efforts to improve access to and success in college
  • High school counselors have information about supporting students with ASD to successfully enter college or technical school.

4. Peer to Peer Support Programs:

The purpose of peer to peer support programs is to provide increased opportunities for students with ASD to access general education environments and develop social relationships with peers. Peers model typical academic and social behavior in educational environments throughout the school day and provide support for students with ASD to promote independence and socialization.

* See the START website for peer to peer support checklists and resources

Key components of this goal area include:

  1. Identify and log all peer to peer support programs in RCN using the START log or database
  2. Establish a comprehensive peer to peer support program in at least 4 new buildings in the RCN region
  3. Provide training to building and district personnel on peer to peer support as an evidence-based practice
  4. Provide technical assistance to buildings and districts to establish peer to peer support programs
  5. Support teams to attend START Peer to Peer support training as needed
  6. Request peer to peer technical assistance from START as needed
  7. Expand peer to peer support programs to include at risk students as peers
  8. Use the START peer to peer logo and resources and/or develop your own local peer to peer support "brand" to create a regional and statewide peer support community

Outcomes may include:

  • Increased number of peer support programs established within each RCN
  • Peer to peer programs established at all levels in a district from elementary through high school
  • Increased participation of students with ASD in general education through systematic peer support
  • At risk peers participating in peer support programs demonstrate benefits such as improved attendance and grades and fewer behavior referrals
  • Current peer to peer support programs are expanded to include extracurricular activities
  • Parent and community involvement in peer support programs

Additional resources for on Peer to Peer Support as an Evidence-based Practice:

National Professional Development Center (NPDC)

Autism Internet Modules