Madison Teacher Saves Special Education Resource
When funding ran out for a special educational resource last spring, possibly leaving students across the state in the lurch, Madison Director of Special Education Dr. Liz Battaglia decided to take matters into her own hands. With the help of students, Battaglia recently developed a new website to make sure students and families have access to the information they need.
The website is designed to help with secondary transition, a planning process used by students with disabilities to prepare for transition to life after high school. Schools are required to plan for transitions of students with disabilities, according to Battaglia.
“We help students to transition to three areas: post secondary education and training, employment, and independent living, so our IEPs [Individualized Education Programs] need to assist the students in developing skills in those areas,” she said.
To understand the process of secondary transition and the different resources available, the Connecticut Transition Community of Practice developed a website for the process through a government-based site. However, last April, Battaglia learned the website was no longer going to be funded and decided to step up.
“I was in a meeting and said, ‘Hey, why don’t we just do something that would be easier than a site you have to log on to, and why don’t we get students to help?’”
Battaglia went out and bought a domain name and enlisted the help of students to build the new site this summer.
“I started working with some students in our summer school program and then during the year they helped create the background, the templates, the buttons; they pulled out the clip art we used,” she said. “The students came up with the majority of the design.”
The new site will include all of the information previously available on the government site, but will be more accessible, according to Battaglia.
“The government website you would have to log on to in order to access and there is no log on through this site,” she said. “It does have the same information, but the other one wasn’t really being used because parents would come and see that you have to do a log in.”
With the site now up and running, the Connecticut Transition Community of Practice honored Battaglia and several students for creating this statewide resource this fall. Battaglia said she and the students continue to monitor and improve the site.
“It is going to be like the one-stop-shop for secondary transition in the state,” she said. “We will continue to manage this site and other students will be involved in it in the future. This is going to be an ongoing thing and more students can help.”
The website can be found at www.cttransition.org.