CA Dept. of Education


Secondary Issues 2016-17


Linda Sanguinetti
Education Specialist

Linda Sanguinetti, M.A., is an Education Specialist at the Diagnostic Center- Northern California. She has twenty five years of special education teaching experience at the elementary and high school levels serving student with a variety of needs. Currently at the Diagnostic Center she participates in multidisciplinary assessment teams and works with several high school classrooms helping to implement evidence based practices. She also conducts trainings in the area of Transition.


Submit A Question

Click a topic below to expand the full question and answer.

  • new!Job Skills


What are specific skills that my student will need to be job ready?


That is a good question; unfortunately, national statistics show that 20% of working age adults with disabilities are employed versus 68% of people without disabilities. However, research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Center concluded that 85% of job success comes from having well-developed soft and people skills, and only 15% of job success comes from technical skills and knowledge (hard skills).

When we look at what success looks and feels like to students it helps us to focus the skills that they will need to be successful. The following information from the UC Davis MIND Institute: Pathways to Employment 2013, Robert Levy-paid intern stated that success is when you are:

  • A real part of family, faith, work and community
  • Have real responsibilities
  • Are recognized for skills and accomplishments
  • Can take risks and learning from mistakes
  • Can change attitudes about what people with disabilities are capable of accomplishing

At a recent CAPTAIN Summit (Jan.2017), Janis White, Ed. D, Regional Center of Orange County presented a session entitled: High School and Beyond: Updates on Policy Changes Impacting Practices. She shared skills to teach that will help students become work ready.

Soft Skills to teach:

  • Generalizing skills
  • Managing time and prioritizing responsibilities
  • Making judgements
  • Taking initiative, able to work independently
  • Solving problems
  • Communication and interacting
  • Manners/sharing/caring about others
  • Focus, concentration and/or physical stamina
  • Speed and/or Quality
  • Work ethic, motivation and attitude

Hard Skills to teach:

  • Physical skills (driving a wheelchair, using a knife, buttoning a shirt, crossing a street)
  • Telling time
  •  Money skills
  • Math and reading
  • Tech skills (computers, phones, internet)
  • Navigating from A to B
  • Vocational skills

  • Independent Living Skills (As Appropriate)


When is the Independent Living Skills Measurable Post-Secondary Goal appropriate?


Preparing students to become College and Career ready is a huge task.  When we look at specifically what this means, many additional skills (independent living skills) are subtly linked:

  • College-ready means being prepared for any postsecondary experience, including study at two and four year institutions leading to a postsecondary credential (i.e. a certificate, license, Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree)
  • Career-ready means not just a job. A career provides a family sustaining wage and pathways to advancement and nearly always requires postsecondary training or education.

A tool that I refer to constantly is the Essential Life Skills for All Teens, which was created by Shasta Twenty-first Century Career Connections, This tool identifies independent living skill areas that everyone could benefit from. Below is a partial list.

  • Home Skills- locating housing options; arranging rent, utilities, phone; etc.
  • Financial Literacy- understand gross/net pay and deductions; budgeting; etc.
  • Citizenship- registering to vote; comply with laws/regulations; volunteer; etc.
  • Personal Appearance Skills- basic clothing repair; laundry; ironing; etc.
  • Community Access- know options; read a map/GPS; know landmarks; etc.
  • Technology- using social media responsibly; maintain safe identity; etc.

Shasta Twenty-first Century Career Connections (STC3) is a community –based-
organization which has evolved from the foundation of School-To-Career. The goal is to
build on the system of engaging Students, Parents, Educators, Businesses, Labor, and Youth-Serving Organizations to prepare all students for successful transition from High School to Post-Secondary education and training for Careers, Continuing Education and

  • Competitive Integrated Employment


Where can I find information about Competitive Integrated Employment?


There are many places to find information about Competitive Integrated Employment. I recently found an informative article in the December 2016 edition of the Costco Connection! I found it interesting that Costco Wholesale was highlighting the benefits of inclusive employment from both the employee and employer’s standpoints. The initial paragraph of the article defines the purpose of Competitive Integrated Employment in a way we can all appreciate:

“Work matters. It helps put food on the table and clothes on our backs. It connects us to the evolving world. It develops and affirms our identities. Even when it feels like a slog, work engages us and shapes our potential.”

( page 30)

Currently, the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR), California Department of Education(CDE), and California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) are collaborating together to develop a roadmap that:

  • Reinforces the State's "Employment First" policy and other laws that focus on employment in an integrated setting

  • Reinforces the need for competitive wages for individuals with Intellectual Disability and Developmental Disabilities (ID/DD)

  • Guides implementation activities for the next five years.

These agencies have created a blueprint draft which outlines opportunities for employment for individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and Developmental Disabilities in California. The main goals of the blueprint include:

  1. Improve collaboration and coordination between the three departments to prepare and support all individuals with ID/DD who choose CIE.

  2. Increase opportunities for individuals with ID/DD who choose CIE to prepare for and participate in the California workforce development system and achieve CIE within existing resources.

  3. Support the ability of individuals with ID/DD to make informed choices, adequately prepare for, transition to, and engage in CIE.

Link to Blueprint:

  • Transition Conference


Where can I find good resources and current information to support student transition?


While there are many excellent websites to explore, there is nothing better than a conference focused specifically on Transition. One that I would like to highlight is the California Institute on Secondary Transition held December 8-9 2016, in San Diego.

The training topics include: Transition to Post-Secondary Education, Transition to Competitive Integrate Employment, Parent Role in Transition, Connecting to Community, Support for Transition, Youth Self-Advocacy and Leadership, Roles of Schools, WorkAbility I and Agency Collaboration

Whether you are a parent, teacher, administrator, or youth this conference has learning objectives that cover a variety of areas:

  • Strategies to meet the transition mandate in the IEP
  • Tools and resources to improve transition at the local level
  • Ways in which parents can learn to navigate the education system and the transition process when school ends
  • Ways to engage youth in career planning that leads to personal planning for their future

If you are interested please visit the California Transition Alliance website for links to connect to this conference ( ).

  • NTACT Website


With the beginning of the school year in full swing, I have received several requests for transition resources that are inclusive and thorough.


One recommendation that I continually make is the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT). Their overall goal is to improve Postsecondary Outcomes for All Students with Disabilities.

NTACT is a Technical Assistance and Dissemination project, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). NTACT has been funded from January 1, 2015 until December 31, 2019.

NTACT’s purpose is to assist State Education Agencies, Local Education Agencies, State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies, and service providers in implementing evidence-based and promising practices ensuring students with disabilities, including those with significant disabilities, graduate prepared for success in postsecondary education and employment.

The website,, is a wealth of information right at your fingertips including:

  • Resources and guidance in the areas of Transition Planning, Graduation, Post-School success, and Data Analysis and Use.
  • Evidence based practices and predictors within each of the Measurable Post-Secondary Goal areas (Education/Training, Employment, Independent Living skills)
  • Lesson plans that are ready to go that support the Evidence based practices and tie to Common Core Standards.

Another way NTACT disseminates resources in addition to their website is through newsletters, e-blasts, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers.

I strongly encourage you to take advantage of this valuable resource.


  • New Resource from California Career Resouce Network (CalCRN)


Can you recommend specific transition activities and lessons that will support the transition process for my students?


I have recently shared the valuable resources that are available from the California Career Resource Network (CalCRN). These include:

  • California Career Zone
  • Career Surfer
  • California Career Center
  • The Real Game California

Recently a new resource has been added:  Career and College Readiness Lesson Plans (CCRLP).
The CCRLPs consists of 45 lessons spread across grades 5-12, with 5 or 6 lessons per grade. They are organized by grade level but not limited to implementation in any specific grade. The CCRLP Lesson Overviews document provides a very brief description of each lesson and the CCRLP Table of Contents is a one page spreadsheet with lesson titles, topic area, and lesson focus. Sample lesson titles are included below:

  • What Skills Do I Need?
  • Gaining By Giving
  • Plagiarism is Stealing!
  • Learning the Skills to Pay the Bills
  • What's the Plan?
  • Matchmaking: Interests & Careers
  • What's a Hot Job?
  • My Best Resume
  • Hazards in the Workplace
  • Due Dates, Deadlines & Decisions
  • In The Interview Hot Seat
  • What's Next?

These lessons are posted on the CalCRN home web site under the Lessons tab, and can also be found by going directly to

In addition to the lesson plans, the CCRLPs include an Educator Guide, Career Readiness Glossary (in English and Spanish), and all the student handouts are available in Spanish. The lessons are posted in both Word and accessible PDF versions so that educators can revise/adapt lessons to fit their needs.
I encourage you to check out this new resource!