Houston County Schools has implemented ASPIRE in all of its elementary, middle, and high schools. In the 2011- 2012 school year, 126 teachers and all special education program specialists participated in ASPIRE training. Parent meetings were also conducted to inform parents about the ASPIRE process and to share strategies for enhancing self-determination and self-advocacy skills. During the 2012 – 2013 school year, 75 additional teachers were trained in ASPIRE and additional parent meetings were held.
On-going training and technical support was provided to the district by staff from the Georgia Department of Education, Division for Special Education Services and Supports, and the GLRS Center, which was responsible for providing on-site coaching to support implementation of ASPIRE strategies and practices. An ASPIRE contact was established for each school, and district support was provided by the district’s program specialists. Methods were established to track students who were participating in ASPIRE to support their successful transition from school to school within the county.
To date, over 200 teachers have participated in ASPIRE in Houston County. A minimum of nine students per school per year participated in ASPIRE. As a result, teachers are utilizing strategies and practices that support student participation in the IEP process and subsequently build self-determination and self-advocacy skills. Most importantly, students are gaining information and developing skills needed to make informed decisions about their educational programs and to plan for their transition to post-secondary education, career, and independent living.