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Washington State University
College of Education

WTP Summer Institute 2022


The WTP/MEGI Summer Transition Institute highlighted innovative transition strategies to support post-school outcomes for youth with disabilities – with a focus on school and Vocational Rehabilitation collaboration. It started at 3pm on August 2nd and ended at 12pm on August 4th. It was held at the Wenatchee Convention Center. Lodging at the Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel was provided free of charge to Institute participants. Meals were provided, as well. School staff were also be eligible to receive continuing education units at no cost to them.

The WTP/MEGI Summer Transition Institute was funded by the Washington Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (WA-DVR), and coordinated by Washington State University Research and Innovation in Special Education (WSU RISE). The event included a series of transition focused workshops, panels, speakers, and opportunities for professional networking and planning. Attendance included transition focused practitioners from around the state, including special education teachers, school guidance counselors, CTE staff, school administrators, regional transition consultants, and VR staff. The majority of attendees (but not all) had participated in one of two 2021/2022 WA-DVR funded model demonstration projects — the Washington Transition Program (WTP; focused on increasing availability and accessibility of coordinated transition services to students) and Motivational Enhancement Group Intervention (MEGI; focused on increasing special education students’ self-determination/self-advocacy).

Questions can be sent to:

Featured 2022 Model Demonstration Projects

Motivational Enhancement Group Intervention

Motivational Enhancement Group Intervention (MEGI) is an evidence-based 12-session career development intervention. It combines evidence-based transition practices with motivational interviewing to increase students’ with disabilities self-advocacy/self-determination skills and vocational outcome expectations (Sheftel et al., 2014). MEGI is facilitated by WA-DVR staff as part of already existing transition and special education classrooms. MEGI: (1) increases students’ sense of competence, (2) supports student autonomy, (3) develops student awareness of needs and preferences, (4) engages students in conversations about how individual and contextual factors impact barriers/supports to employment, (5) develops self-advocacy skills, (6) strengethens relationships among the students, and between students and MEGI facilitator (WA-DVR staff), and (6) engages students in career planning.

If you would like more information about MEGI, would like to be trained in MEGI facilitation, or are interested in having MEGI as part of your special education and transition programing, please contact Dr. Anya Sheftel at


Washington Transition Program

The Washington Transition Program is designed to support teams of school and VR staff to work together. School-based teams meet together on a regular basis. They learn more about transition services for students (including those with disabilities) and work to find new and existing ways to improve students access to services. Teams have to work within their unique contexts to understand the kinds of transition services that their students need, what resources and services are out there that can help them meet those needs, and how these services can be brought to the students who need them. Teams are often leading the way in bringing transition to the forefront of they and their colleagues work, and sharing their knowledge and expertise with those around them. Through opportunities such as the WTP/MEGI Summer Institute, school teams can come together to help build a broader statewide identity of transition.

If you’d like to learn more about how to the Washington Transition Program please reach out to:

2022 Workshops and Workshop Materials

Self-Advocacy and Self-Determination

Dr. Anya Sheftel and Heather Lynch, CRC


This interactive session will explore strategies for supporting self-advocacy/self-determination for students with disabilities. Participants will have an opportunity to discuss strategies for supporting student’s self-advocacy/self-determination, barriers that inhibit students’ self-advocacy/self-determination, and ways to overcome these barriers. Participants will engage in hands-on activities, learn from each other, and be provided with resources they could implement with their students.

Presenter Bios

Dr. Sheftel’s research and community collaborations focus on supporting career development and post-school transition for youth and young adults with disabilities. Dr. Sheftel also created a career development intervention (Motivational Enhancement Group Intervention; MEGI) that is currently being used in Oregon and Washington high schools as a pre-employment transition service focused on self-advocacy.

Heather Lynch has been a part of the MEGI family for 8 years. She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and member of Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) from Bend, Oregon. Heather is a hope-activator and  loves collaborating with humans on their journeys.


Self-Advocacy and Self-Determination PowerPoint

Strategies to Support Self-Advocacy and Self-Determination

Self-Advocacy and Self-Determination Additional Resources

Developing Local Partnerships: Sharing Strategies for Increasing School and Vocational Rehabilitation Collaboration

Dr. Mary Morningstar


This session will provide resources and strategies for enhancing partnerships between schools and VR. Materials and resources from the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition: The Collaborative will be explored, with opportunities to plan next steps to improve partnerships. Information about the Pre-employment Transition Services will be shared, with time to discuss how services are being offered locally.

Presenter Bio

Dr. Mary Morningstar is a Professor of Special Education at Portland State University and leading thinker within the field of Secondary Special Education and Transition.


A side-by-side-comparison-transition

Developing Local Partnerships Action Planning

HandoutsDeveloping Local Partnerships

Local Partnership Assessment

Pre-ETS Toolkit

Culturally Sustaining Transition Practices

Dr. Amber Brown Ruiz, CRC


Culturally sustaining transition practices are equity-based practices that focus on the lived experiences of our students as an approach for learning. In this workshop, we will focus on how to embed culturally sustaining practices into transition and discuss examples of different resources and strategies. Participants can expect to learn about the importance and background of culturally sustaining transition practices, key principles, and implementation practices in the pre-ETS context.

Presenter Bio

Amber Brown Ruiz is a postdoctoral researcher at Washington State University (WSU) for the WSU ROAR program. She received her PhD in Special Education and Disability Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). She has a growing scholarship agenda aimed at improving post-secondary transition outcomes for students of color with disabilities through collaborative and culturally responsive transition service delivery models. Her research is derived from her practitioner experience as a former vocational rehabilitation counselor.


Culturally Sustaining Transition Practices

Connecting the Dots: Partnering and Planning for Transition

Dr. Tania May


This session will provide an overview of Washington state special education transition data, along with requirements for IEP transition planning and services. The discussion will review research, best practices, and resources for collaborating with students and families, school and district staff, and transition partners in support of improved post-school outcomes.

Presenter Bio

Dr. Tania May is the Assistant Superintendent of Special Education for the Washington state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Her work is focused on collaborating with schools, community partners, families, and students in support of improved outcomes for students with disabilities. Tania has over twenty-five years of special education experience in classrooms, districts, and with the state.


Partnering and Planning for Transition PowerPoint

Partnering and Planning for Transition PDF

Inclusionary Practices Demonstration Sites

Mental Health, Disability, Supports and Transition

Jonathan R. Beard, LICSW


Serious mental illness typically has its onset during late adolescence and early adulthood. Psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, and mood disorders, such as major depression, are the two most common types. Today, there are a variety of effective clinical treatments for these disorders. These disorders often significantly and adversely impact social, academic, and vocational role and task performance. These disabilities can be formidable and need their own services in addition to the clinical treatment. With both, young people can recover and move into their own lives. This workshop will present a brief overview of these disorders and their clinical treatment, skills and supports that can restore or accommodate social, academic, and vocational role and task performance, and information on public sector mental health services, including a coordinated specialty care approach known as New Journeys.

Presenter Bio

Jonathan R. Beard is a Washington State LICSW with many years of experience as a provider, supervisor and senior executive in nonprofit and governmental mental health and other human service settings. He possesses extensive experience in developing, providing, and supervising a variety of clinical, rehabilitation, recovery based and other services to adults with serious mental illness and co-occurring disorders. He currently serves as a Program Manager in the SPIRIT (Supporting Psychosis Innovation through Research, Implementation and Training) Lab in the Department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine at the University of Washington. A primary focus of his work is supporting team based approaches such Assertive Community Treatment for adults with serious mental illness and New Journeys for youth and young adults experiencing a first episode of psychosis.


Behavioral Health ASO

Disability and Mental Health PowerPoint

Higher-Education-Support-Toolkit HO

New Journeys Brochure

Economic Medical Social Benefits of Employment and Education

Job Development to Support Work-Based Learning

Dr. Holly Whittenburg, Dr. Amber Brown Ruiz, & Genna Kieper


In this workshop, we will explore approaches for developing work experiences within local communities and building relationships with business partners. Come learn about using community mapping to identify local businesses for outreach, strategies for conducting initial conversations with business leaders, and ways to connect students with businesses and deepen relationships over time. Our workshop includes hands-on practice activities, real-life examples from WSU ROAR, and multiple opportunities for session participants to learn from each other.

Presenters Bios:

Dr. Holly Whittenburg is an assistant professor of special education at Washington State University and co-director of the Washington Transition Program. Her research focuses on interventions to improve employment outcomes for transition-aged students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the effects of special education and vocational rehabilitation law and policies on the transition experiences of students with disabilities.

Amber Brown Ruiz is a postdoctoral researcher at Washington State University (WSU) for the WSU ROAR program. She received her PhD in Special Education and Disability Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). She has a growing scholarship agenda aimed at improving post-secondary transition outcomes for students of color with disabilities through collaborative and culturally responsive transition service delivery models. Her research is derived from her practitioner experience as a former vocational rehabilitation counselor.

Genna Kieper is the WSU ROAR Employment Services Coordinator and a Washington State University doctoral student in the Educational Psychology program. She has a background in behavioral therapy and research regarding social justice and equity in educational settings. As the ROAR Employment Services Coordinator, Genna focuses on supporting employment services for the program, developing community employment partnerships, and helping students explore their career interests and passions.


Job Development to Support WBL

General Resources and Information


Wenatchee Convention Center

121 N. Wenatchee Ave,

Wenatchee, WA

*Parking is available free of charge and the facility is ADA accessible.


Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel

201 North Wenatchee Avenue, Wenatchee, WA 98801

*All registered participants will be assigned a room at check-in.

Clock Hours & CEUs

Clock Hours or CEUs will be available to participants and instructions on how to claim them will be provided at the registration table.

Covid-19 Statement

We encourage everyone to use their best judgement and comfort with physical distance and masking. We ask that all of us respect others’ boundaries, need, and preferences.


Please see your materials packet for a QR code to complete an evaluation!


Please contact the event organizers if you have any accommodation needs not requested in your registration.

Get Connected!

Meet your colleagues and share contact information to build and maintain working relationships that will enhance coordinated transition services for youth and young adults with disabilities!

Contact Us

Please reach out to with any comments or questions!

Thank you to everyone who has helped make this inaugural event a success!


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