February 2016 VSA Webinar: “Creative Control: Arts, Self-Determination, and Student-led IEPs”

Creative Control: Arts, Self-Determination, and Student-led IEPS, presented February 9, 2016, explored the challenges students face to meet their IEP goals when they’re not at the table to determine what those goals should be, how they can best work towards them, or sometimes even why they have an IEP in the first place. Arts lessons and activities – including role play, creative writing, visual art portfolios, and peer critique – provide educators with a range of possibilities for documenting and assessing student progress, and offer multiple points of entry for students to engage meaningfully in their IEP process and develop the self-determination skills necessary for success in school and in life.

Click on the play button below to watch a free recording of the Webinar. (You will be prompted to enter your email address and contact information prior to viewing the Webinar.)

February 2016


N. Dearden_headshot As a Secondary Transition Specialist at the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), Ms. Naté Dearden provided training to DC educators on how to promote student involvement and self-determination throughout the special education planning process. Ms. Dearden also led the Secondary Transition Community of Practice, a group of community stakeholders who advocate for improved post-school outcomes for youth with disabilities.



2016 VSA SchoolTalk webinar_Eliza Derick

Eliza Derick, Special Education Teacher, Eastern Senior High School, earned a Masters in Special Education from American University and a BA in Anthropology from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She has 10 years of arts-based instruction experience in special education classrooms from DCPS to The Lab School of Washington, and is certified through the DCPS Leadership Initiative For Teachers at the Advanced stage.


2016 VSA SchoolTalk webinar_Mo Thomas Mo Thomas, 8th Grade Inclusion Specialist, Two Rivers PCS, earned her B.A. in Communications from North Carolina State University, with a triple concentration in Theatre, Mass Communication/ Journalism, and Public and Interpersonal Communication.



S Oetgen_headshot Susan Oetgen, Arts & Conflict Resolution Specialist, SchoolTalk, facilitates a range of collaborative, interagency initiatives to promote self-determination and creativity in secondary transition planning with and for students with disabilities in District of Columbia schools.




Summary of Discussion Topics:

  •  Origin of Creative Arts in Student-led IEPs — April 2015
  • Takeaway 1: Student Self-Determination and Student-led IEPs
    • What is self-determination?
      • Knowing yourself, knowing what you want your future to look like and how to plan for it, and knowing the supports you will need to have control in your life
    • Research-Based Benefits:
      • Students develop stronger self-advocacy and self-determination skills which leads to self-confidence
      • Increased parent and general education teacher participation
    • Self-determination matters!
    • Impact of adult driven planning process:
      • Students don’t know they have a disability
      • Students often don’t know the reason for IEP meetings
      • Students report that they make few (if any) decisions at IEP meetings
      • Students don’t know what is expected of them during IEP meetings
    • What is a student-led IEP?
      • Meaningful participation in ALL stages of IEP development
      • Student takes a leadership and decision-making role
  • Takeaway 2: Arts = Strategies to Document and Assess Student IEP Goals
    • Role play
    • Student memoirs
    • Vocabulary rap
    • Creative projects and presentations used as mastery of IEP goals
    • Visual representations of self-awareness
  • Takeaway 3: Arts = Strategies to Cultivate Student Self-Determination and IEP Participation
    • Identity boxes
    • Vision boards
    • Artist statements
    • Spirit animals
    • Coat of arms
  • Our experience as educators

Links and Resources:

We want to know-what did you learn from this webinar?

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