All Tuesday Tips

The Career Videos Collection

Our INSTRC website resources include several different websites that feature career videos. For your convenience, there’s a Career Videos page under the Resource Collections tab on the INSTRC website. Just go to the Resource Collections tab on the INSTRC website and scroll to “Career Videos” or use this link:  

Middle school teachers: Need to inspire some fun career exploration for your 6th to 8th graders? Try the many videos on Virginia Career View’s Unusual Occupations page, where your soon-to-be job seekers can learn about acoustical engineers, hippotherapists, or shark tank cleaners. Video scavenger hunt, anyone?

Talk to Us!

Welcome back to a new year!

The Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center has a new general mailbox. You can now reach us at  

Please use this email to send us information requests, feedback, basic questions, and requests for technical assistance. An INSTRC staff member will respond to your questions.

We’ve got your back. Tell us what you need (other than more than 24 hours in a day; we can’t help you with that one)!

It's the Most Wonderful Time

From the staff of the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center to all of you, peace and joy!

Take some time this season to revel in snuggly blankets, the aroma of orange and cinnamon, cookies baking, after-dinner card games, puppy dog tails, soft candlelight, carols from a choir, ribbons and bows, and smiles that light up a room.

Happy Holidays!

'Collaborative Transition Planning From Process to Practice'

As in past years, the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center (INSTRC) conducted regional trainings for transition teachers and administrators in September to talk about updates to the Transition IEP process. Hundreds of Indiana teachers who attended the trainings also learned about strategies for moving their Transition IEPs from compliance to the level of quality.

For those of you who could not attend one of the trainings, INSTRC’s Joni Schmalzried and Project Success’ Ashley Quick co-presented an abbreviated wrap-up webinar in October that touched on many of the issues discussed at the in-person trainings.

Need a refresher? Watch “Collaborative Transition Planning: From Process to Practice.”

Transition Services and Activities Capturing the Big Picture

A number of events and programs occurring in our schools can be good transition activities for your students. The key to capitalizing on these larger, group activities for a particular student is to understand 1) the individual needs of that student, and 2) how the activity can help the student move toward his/her goal. If you’re finding it challenging, documenting and describing these large, group events as individual activities, this tip is for you.

This short presentation we’ve recorded on YouTube walks you through the best practice process of moving from thinking about the “big picture” event to focusing on what each student needs and will gain from participating in a larger scale opportunity. Take a look and see how it might apply to your students or your school.  

DON’T FORGET: When you are writing a transition service and activity, think about whether or not there will be an outcome that you can capture and use as part of next year’s age-appropriate transition assessment. That’s what brings the authentic experience full circle for students and helps them continue to make informed decisions about their future.

Welcome Michelle Oja

With today’s tip, we want to introduce you to Michelle Oja, the new education specialist at the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) within the Office of Special Education. Michelle will be overseeing transition-related services across the state. She’ll be out and about, meeting many of you, as she gets to know Indiana, our Cadres of Transition Leaders, and the amazing things we are doing for transition-aged students.

In addition to overseeing transition planning (Indicator 13), Michelle will be involved with the Certificate of Completion, career technical education, and Choice Schools.

A little background: She graduated from Nazareth College of Rochester with her bachelor’s degree in English and Inclusive Education and her master’s degree in Adolescent Education. Michelle recently moved from Virginia to Indiana. Before coming to the IDOE, she was a special education teacher, working with high school and middle school students for the past ten years. Michelle is excited to begin working with Indiana teachers and administrators to support students with IEPs as they transition from school to adult life.

You can reach Michelle at 317-232-9065 or 

Indiana Career Explorer: More Information

After our Tuesday Tip introducing you to Indiana Career Explorer, we had several questions from our readers. We contacted the Indiana Field Trainer to get some clarification and direction for those of you who have had difficulty setting up student accounts.

Anyone can set up a sample student account to see the tools and resources available to students. Our contact recommends the following to create a middle or high school student sample account:

  1. When you are asked to type in the first three letters of a school name, type in “tra” and select “training use only.”
  2. Change the birthdate and graduation year to reflect that of the appropriate grade student, but you can use your own email address as a username.

On a broader scale, school employees can contact Client Engagement to identify the site manager for their district (the person who can set up an administrative account). Each school has an assigned site manager even if they don’t use the system. Contact Client Engagement at: 877-999-6227.

There are trainings available to schools, both online and in person. If you are interested in staff training, please contact Mary Pouch at

We hope this helps with clarifying how to get started exploring Indiana Career Explorer. Let us know or contact Mary if you have additional questions!

Explore Work

The Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center has teamed up with George Washington University to create “Explore Work,” a new online training for teens with disabilities. The course lets users delve into career planning, first work experiences, school beyond high school, workplace readiness, and self-advocacy.

“Explore Work’s” modules include strength-finder activities, career scavenger hunts, independent living challenges, videos, and more. Users have the option of guided or self-guided learning. Guided instruction allows students to save and track their progress and provides certificates for each completed module.

Ready to explore? "Explore Work"

Indiana Mental Health Resources for Students

Adversity, trauma, and stress can negatively affect the social, emotional, and cognitive development of teens and young adults. Adults often identify or mislabel students experiencing these issues as having behavior, discipline, and/or learning issues in school. The Indiana School Mental Health Initiative (ISMHI), a project of the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University, works alongside school districts and their community partners to provide resources, training, and advocacy to promote the social, emotional, behavioral, mental, and physical health of Indiana’s school-age children. ISHMI’s goal is to increase school engagement and improve educational and life outcomes.

Through the ISMHI website LookUp Indiana, you can search by city name or zip code to find mental health providers, shelters, social service organizations, and support groups in your area. Take a look at some of LookUp’s resources, below, and then bookmark the website!

Common Language—a listing of frequently used, education-related mental health terminology and references.

School Mental Health Resources—links to professional organizations; frameworks; workshops, trainings, and assemblies; school-based health centers; mental health intervention registries; and more.

General Information—more information about the ISHMI’s vision, mission, goals, and staff.

The Path to Independence: Mobile Apps to Support Transition-Age Youth

The PACER Center provides support to young adults with disabilities and families who are making decisions about education and services. Many mobile apps can support students as they work towards self-determination and independence in postsecondary education, job training, employment, and independent living. The PACER Center’s resource, "The Path to Independence: Mobile Apps to Support Transition-Age Youth," provides a list of free or low-cost apps reviewed by parents and professionals.

The document categorizes apps into the following topics:

  • Exploring College and Career Pathways
  • Finding and Getting a Job
  • Vocational Support
  • Independent Living Skills
  • Executive Functioning
  • Reading, Writing, and Note-taking Supports

Visit the PACER Center website and The Path to Independence: Mobile Apps to Support Transition-Age Youth for more information.