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This page is designed to provide parents and teachers with information and resources for students as they transition from public school education to adult settings. Information regarding the DISD transition instruction program is also provided. The DISD Transition and Employment Services Designee is Mike Herdman (Office: 281-229-6096).
Link to the Student-Centered Texas Transitions Network - go to this site to download the newly revised resource created by the (SCTN) to assist educators with implementing quality transition services for students with disabilities. The Revised 2021 Texas Transition and Employment Guide can help students with disabilities plan for adult life. The guide contains information about employment, postsecondary education, agency connections, and contacts to obtain additional resources
Link to Assistive Technology & Transition training by Christina Dominy
Mike Herdman, Special Programs Instructional Specialist, is the Transition and Employment Services Designee / Coordinator and lead SEALS teacher.
In this role, Mr. Herdman assists the SEALS 18+ instructors by providing information and resources about transition planning and services. Mr. Herdman ensures communication and collaboration between students, parents and staff of the Health & Human Services Commission, the Texas Workforce Commission, the Department of State Health Services and the Department of Family and Protective Services.
REQUIRED TEA Posting:
Texas Transition and Employment Guide (English/Spanish)
Questions to ask yourself:
DHS offers specialized classes in addition to the traditional Career Technology Education (CTE) classes offered. ARD committee placement is required for these courses. Brief descriptions and contact information for the teachers is listed below.
Ms. Sheri Davis is the the Vocational Teacher in the WAVE program at DHS.
Email: email@example.com Office: 281-229-7876
Mrs. Megan Turner is the Community Based Vocational Instruction (CBVI) Teacher in the WAVE program at DHS.
Mrs. Turner has worked in Special Education in Dickinson ISD for the past 20 years. She teaches CBI/CVBI skills to our DHS Gators.
When an ARD committee determines that a student needs additional transition instruction after the student has finished all required credit classes, DISD offers specialized classes and services - called SEALS (Secondary Education and Life Skills).
Typically, this program is for students who have an intellectual disability, autism or other health impairments that require a significant level of support and a small teacher: student ratio.
Students in the SEALS program will focus on individualized employment and community based instruction that will enable the student to reach their maximum level of independence in self-help and advocacy, accessing public services and transportation, and employability skills with the primary goal of social independence and competitive paid employment. Students will receive the majority of their instruction in a community or employment setting.
Mrs. Ashley Bennett teaches the SEALS 1 class, which is housed at MJHS.
email: firstname.lastname@example.org Office: 281-229-7170
Ashley Bennett has worked in DISD as a paraprofessional and now as a teacher for over 9 years. She is known as Ms. Ashley, or Coach to her students and athletes. She has also coached Special Olympics for 6 years.
Mrs. Bennet graduated from Dickinson High school in 2002, and is the mom to three wonderful sons, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. They are all proud members of Gator Nation.
Prior to becoming a special education teacher, Mrs. Bennett notes that she informally studied autism and positive behavior training through various parent-trainings. The most significant training I received was the basic understanding of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) at UHCL Autism Center that her son attended for 2 years for behavioral supports.
As the Seals 1- Independent Life Skills (ILS) Teacher for DISD Special Programs, she addresses student's IEP Transition goals to help students transition to adulthood after successfully completing all high school credits. Student's goals can range from following their hygiene routine to working on pre-vocational tasks that will aid in transitioning into areas such as SEALS 2 Work-Base Learning, a job, day habilitation, etc. (Again, this typically depends on the family supports and services that become available to the student prior to their last year of attendance).
In ILS, the main focus is to provide our students with the skills and access to skills that will potentially help the student, as well as their families, in learning how to maintain a level of self-sustainability in their post-high school life.
Ms. Georgeanna Santarelli teaches the SEALS 2 class, which is housed partially at MJHS and partially at College of the Mainland.
Ms/Coach George is a proud graduate of DISD, class of 1983. She attended University of Houston for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She has worked in education for thirty years; 28 of those in public education in special education, and fifteen of those years have been in Dickinson ISD. Coach George has served as a Special Olympics coach for 12 of those years and was previously our Head of Delegation.
Ms. Santarelli has worked at all levels of special education and has mainly taught students within a self-contained setting, specifically students with Intellectual Disabilities and Emotional Disturbances. She states, "I have always worked diligently to allow my students access to education within the general education setting. Working in the SEALS 2 program provides me the opportunity to endorse this level of student engagement in an academic, community and work environment that often culminates in a job for students upon their graduation from DISD."
The Gulf Coast Center provides services and supports for individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities that enhance their lives and highlight their strengths.
National Technical Assistance on Transition
Texas Transition Website
Learn more about transition in Texas:
Secondary Transition Guidance from the Texas Education Agency
Texas Transition and Employment Guide
Guia Tansicion y Empleo de Texas
Dickinson Independent School District
2218 FM 517 East | Dickinson, TX 77539
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