Partnership for Transition

Project Period
October 2006 – September 2010

Partnerships for Transition is an exciting collaborative venture between the Rural Institute’s Transition Projects, the Montana Council on Developmental Disabilities (MCDD), and Parents, Let’s Unite for Kids (PLUK). This project, funded by MCDD, is designed to improve transition outcomes for middle school youth with developmental disabilities.

What kinds of things can middle school students do to help prepare themselves for transition?

  • Discover their strengths, skills, interests, and strategies that help them learn and perform at their best
  • Be able to share this information about themselves at their own IEP meetings using Transition Portfolios
  • Work at school-based jobs
  • Start and/or be employed at school-based businesses
  • Perform volunteer work in the community
  • Become familiar with and get connected to local resources

How will the Partnerships for Transition Project help prepare middle school students and the people who live and work with them?

  • By providing quarterly teleconference training about transition, employment, Social Security work incentives, and collaborative funding to PLUK Family Support Consultants, families, teachers, agency staff, and others who are interested.
  • By developing a “tool kit” communities may use to help families learn about transition needs and services.
  • By demonstrating use of the transition tool kit in six Montana communities.
  • Through piloting a middle school student “Discovery” process with ten students with developmental disabilities (two each in Billings, Butte, Helena and Miles City; one each in Kalispell and Missoula).

Discovery: A person-centered process that guides service providers and schools in getting to know a student in terms of interests, goals, abilities, support needs, and contributions for the purpose of planning for employment.

  • By capturing the information gathered through Discovery in a Transition Assessment and Planning Guide.
  • Through mentoring local teams (PLUK Consultants, family members, teachers, etc.) to develop early employment experiences and transition plans for the ten students.
  • Through coaching local teams to develop Transition Portfolios (using text and photos) to record the information learned about each of the ten students during Discovery.
  • By networking the local teams quarterly for additional training and information sharing using interactive video conferencing.
  • By disseminating project information and updates through the Rural Institute Transition and PLUK Web sites, quarterly electronic newsletters, and articles in PLUK’s newsletter.

Is there a cost to participate in training?
No, there is no cost to participate in the training sessions. The training calendar is available on this website and on the PLUK website.

Who will benefit from participating in the Partnerships for Transition Project?

  • Middle school students (grades 6 through 8) with developmental disabilities and anyone who lives, teaches or works with them (family members, teachers, agency staff, employers, etc.).
  • Ten “pilot” students have been selected and are participating in Partnerships: two each in Billings, Butte, Helena, and Miles City, and one each in Kalispell and Missoula.
  • Family members, teachers, agency staff, employers, etc. around the state may participate in teleconference training sessions, read the newsletters, gather information from the PLUK and Rural Institute Transition Web sites, implement “Discovery,” complete Transition Assessment and Planning Guides, connect young people with appropriate agencies using resources and guides developed through the project, and create Transition Portfolios for local youth with developmental disabilities.

Project information will be disseminated through e-mail and Web site postings; hard copies will be sent only upon request. Please send us your e-mail address or other contact information to ensure you are included in these opportunities.

Ellen Condon, Project Co-Director
Toll Free: 800-243-5467, or (406) 243-4134
Rural Institute, 700 SW Higgins Ave., Suite 250, Missoula, MT 59803

Kim Brown, Project Co-Director
Toll Free: 800-243-5467, or (406) 243-4852
Rural Institute, 700 SW Higgins Ave., Suite 250, Missoula, MT 59803