February 2022: News & Updates
Dear reader,
Thank you to all who updated their newsletter profile. We were surprised and touched at how many of you took time out of your day to do it. If you didn’t have a chance to update, it’s not too late! Here’s a handy instruction sheet to help you.
Student Opportunity! Be a Think College Policy Advocate and Change the World
Why is advocacy important? How can a student learn to advocate? Great questions and we have some answers for you. Apply today to be a Think College Policy Advocate! Take training with other students and learn how to talk with your legislators to create change. Applications are due March 7, 2022. Click here for an application and more info.
young woman with glasses smiling on a green lawn
Meet our new program assistant, Shelby Bates!
Join us in welcoming Shelby to the National Coordinating Center team. She provides critical administrative support to the whole team and their many projects, and we can’t wait to see all she can help us accomplish. Learn more about Shelby.
student in wheelchair smiling and wearing white sweater
We found an intern! Or rather she found us.
Rachel is a talented writer passionate about self-advocacy. She called us out of the blue and told us she would like to be an intern for Think College. She came to learn from us, but we are already learning a lot from her. Read about Rachel on the website.
Memoranda of Understanding: A Tool to Support and Strengthen Partnerships
This Think College Insight Brief defines Memoranda of Understanding (MOU), discusses their use by inclusive postsecondary education (IPSE) programs, and provides examples of MOU between IPSE programs and partners, such as school districts, community agencies and vocational rehabilitation. Click here to read the brief.
Think College team members Clare Papay, Belkis Choiseul-Praslin, and Cate Weir conducted research on the tone and expectations created by names of IPSE programs. Their findings were published in this month’s Journal of Inclusive Postsecondary Education.
Accreditation Workgroup Update
The NCC Accreditation Workgroup continues to work on the development of a program accreditation process for college programs for students with ID. A small group of members recently concluded their work on the Accreditation Guidance Manual. This manual will help program leaders understand all the steps in the accreditation process and the focus on quality programming outlined in the standards. If you’d like to get to know the standards better the NCC Accreditation Workgroup webpage can help! View a recent presentation on the current status of program accreditation to hear from the leaders of this work where we are and what our future goals are related to program accreditation.
Technical Assistance: You Ask, We Answer
Last year, our TA team answered 600 inquiries from parents, teachers, students, administrators, program staff, guidance counselors, and friends. You ask, we answer. Really! Send an email to ThinkCollegeTA@gmail.com and ask us anything about inclusive postsecondary education. We will get you an answer.
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Question of the Month
My son attends high school, and we would like to know what resources colleges are available in my region. He is in special education and will be graduating in 2022.  
Recommended Family Resources
Is your child thinking college? If so, you need to listen to this podcast! Cate Weir, NCC project coordinator, gives advice and tips on preparing for college and how to find inclusive programs.
Here are a few recommendations from the PACER Center on apps that can support students to succeed in high school or college. Check them out now.
Video: What does it mean to be independent? Just ask Colby! 
This 5-minute YouTube video is about a college student named Colby. Colby, his mother, and others talk about the importance of self-determination, supported decision making, and guardianship.
Click here to see the other 981 resources available on ThinkCollege.Net.
Upcoming Webinars
student answering phone at retail shop
Who Does What? Optimizing Employment Services and Supports through Individual Planning for College Students with Intellectual Disability
Presenters: Melissa Diehl, Amy D'Agati, and Meg Grigal
March 31, 2022 | 2-3pm ET
How do you ensure students have access to employment? Start with a good team. Having the right team in place to support college students with ID to access and succeed in employment is critical—and complicated. Attend our March 31 webinar to learn about optimizing employment services and supports.
piggy bank and books
Paying for College: Exploring Possible Funding Options
Presenter: Cate Weir
May 25, 2022 | 2-3pm ET

How do you pay for college? That’s a million-dollar question. Join us May 25 to learn about several funding options students and families can explore.

Belkis joined the research and evaluation team at Think College a few short months ago and is already leaving her mark. Find out what drew Belkis to our team!
women walking on beach
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This month, Aryana Jones (AUCD’s social media professional) shares tips and advice on ways to make Twitter work for you and your advocacy. Learn about hashtagging and other ways to make your words count. #ReadHerBlogPost #Now #ClickHere
Project Advisory Committee
What’s the PAC and who’s a part of it?

The NCC established its first Project Advisory Committee, or PAC, last year. The list of people and organizations participating is impressive. How impressive? Find out by reading a monthly member profile.

This month, we interviewed Beth Myers (shown left with a student), director of the Taishoff Center and the Lawrence B. Taishoff Professor of Inclusive Education in the School of Education at Syracuse University. Read her profile now.
Affinity Groups
Engage with like-minded folks!
Are you passionate or curious about a specific aspect of transition or postsecondary education? Whether you want to talk or just listen, an NCC Affinity Group is a good way to engage with others. Click the name of the group to learn more about its goals, activities, past recordings, and upcoming meeting dates.
Click here to read an article about the different groups and they got started.

Focus: Vocational Rehabilitation Affinity Group
Middle-aged bald man smiling
Are you interested in building or enhancing the partnership between VR and higher education programs? If yes, the VR Affinity Group is right for you.

Facilitated by a member of our TA team, Russ Thelin, the group engaged in discussion around promising practices and methods of innovation/expansion in the partnerships to advance the results for mutual clients/students of these programs. Watch the most recent recording or visit the group's webpage.
Just looking for meeting dates? Check out our events calendar.
Female student in brown sweater and jeans sitting in a wheelchair
Rachel Adams-Duffy
Rachel is in her final semester at the Turning Point Program at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey. If you read above, Rachel is a new intern at Think College.
Other Think College project activities
Earn Your Transition Leadership Certificate Online
UMass Boston offers a transition leadership certificate that focuses on the transition from high school to adult life for young people with a wide range of disabilities. The program is an excellent way for educators and non-educators from across the nation to broaden their abilities and to place their work in a wider context. 

There are 4 ways to learn more:
Think College Inclusive Higher Education Network’s webpage is now live!

The TC Network is Think College’s newest project, focused on expanding inclusive postsecondary options and improving outcomes for students with intellectual disability. The TC Network’s webpages are now live with initial project information. Check back often for updates.
Contact Danie Dahm at danielle.dahm@umb.edu if you have questions.
College Matters Florida
The College Matters Florida project launched a multi-media educational awareness campaign in January 2022. They are seeking partners to help disseminate educational materials on social media, organization websites, and more. If you are interested, sign up here.

Contact Jaimie Timmons at jaimie.timmons@umb.edu for more info.
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For more information about Think College newsletters, contact:

Sheila Johnson
Knowledge Translation Associate
Institute for Community Inclusion
University of Massachusetts Boston

Stay Connected with Think College!