Every year since 2011, the National Coordinating Center (NCC) has held a meeting for project directors and staff of the Transition Postsecondary Education Programs for Students with Intellectual Disability, or TPSIDs. When possible, we meet in person and have met in many great American cities over the years. This year, like in 2020, we held our meeting virtually due to lingering travel restrictions and concerns over COVID.
We took advantage of the virtual aspect of our meeting by inviting speakers that may not have been able to take the time to travel to our meeting, and were thrilled when Kim Knackstedt, the newly appointed (and FIRST!) disability policy advisor to the White House Domestic Policy Council. It is a big deal that disability in being included in these domestic policy discussions in such a meaningful way, and we were delighted that Dr. Knackstedt was able to speak to our TPSID group. She was able to share various ways that the current administration is embedding disability policy across all government agencies in order to make long-term investments in education, employment, and home and community-based services for people with disabilities.
The two-day virtual meeting also included sessions on program accreditation standards, federal and state policy, micro-credentials, Vocational Rehabilitation partnerships, the NCC Technical Assistance providers, and the last ten years of TPSID data in a fun and engaging “data party”. We learned about each TPSID project through an online TPSID Gallery in our conference app. Good news for those who are interested in these topics – we recorded the sessions, and many of them will be posted in our Think College Learning Channel, where we post recordings of webinars on a wide variety of topics. Many from last year’s meeting are there already, and we will be adding those from this year soon!
We also had some time for fun and socializing in an online virtual “hotel” complete with a lobby, a couple of bars, and a park where we could meet and chat with other meeting attendees. And it’s just not a TPSID meeting without a photo contest and other games, complete with prizes; congrats to the winners!
This annual meeting offers the staff of the NCC and the TPSID projects an opportunity to come together for a couple of days and really focus on the work we are doing together, and the community building and sharing energizes all of us for the year ahead. One attendee captured this when she said “It was wonderful to get to meet with so many program directors/team members who are at varying stages of their program's development. I really enjoyed the opportunity to discuss areas that worked, areas that provided learning opportunities and growth, as well as just the open forum for questions/answers.”