The Maryland Transition Digital Portfolio – Impact
Here’s an analogy. Leaving high school is like launching a rocket, and the transition from school to adult life is like roaring into the atmosphere, heading off to explore new adventures. Some of these adventures will be planned; others will be unexpected – but all will continue to propel you through life. What counts is what you do with each new experience and opportunity encountered. The Digital Portfolio can function almost like the GPS on your phone: students engage in the IEP process to set meaningful transition goals and activities (telling the GPS where to go) and hit “Go.” As your journey progresses, you may encounter a roadblock that sends you in a different direction. That’s okay, because the GPS will “re-route” you. In the same way, new life goals can be determined and the digital portfolio can be used to document this critical information. Information that’s already in the digital portfolio can always be reviewed and updated, if needed. The Maryland Transition Digital Portfolio will be available to students and to additional adults on the support team.
Remember, as with any tool or resource, the digital portfolio will be more helpful if it is used consistently. Students, families, and educators will find it extremely user-friendly, responsive to individual needs, and useful for facilitating a successful transition into the post-school environment.
The Maryland Transition Digital Portfolio – Students
Middle and high school students celebrate! You have already done a great job building a strong base for a happy life. You are making this happen with help from your family, teachers and friends. But you are the one in charge. You are becoming the boss of your life!
Think of yourself sitting in the seat of a rocket ship. Your life up until now, inside and outside of school, has prepared you to blast off into your future. Your mission is to achieve the goals for your future. Your dreams are the fuel to guide your rocket ship toward these goals.
You will need tools to operate your rocket ship, and keep you on a steady path. You can do this with the Maryland Transition Digital Portfolio.
The Digital Portfolio is a place where you can share work samples, show your achievements, and highlight your strengths. For example, if your goal is to be in the military or go to college, you might add transcripts, health information, and samples of your leadership skills. If you want a job, you can add the information related your work skills, or upload a job application or resume. You can use the Digital Portfolio to tell a future employer that they should hire you!
Your first step is to learn about the Digital Portfolio. Find out how it can help you. Work with your Portfolio team to decide what you need to develop and keep there. If your goals change, that’s ok! You can still use the Digital Portfolio for new goals and to share new information.
Work with your portfolio team to steer your rocket as you blast off on your mission to to reach your goals!
The Maryland Transition Digital Portfolio – Families
With your support and guidance, your child has been building a strong foundation on which to build a successful and satisfying life. In fact, your child is becoming the boss of their own life. To continue the rocket analogy…think of your child sitting in the cone of a rocket – one that they have designed and built. All of their experiences up until now, in school and life, are the launch pad. Your support and their motivation is the fuel that will propel them from the launch pad into the atmosphere, towards their goal. Their aspirations are their mission. The Maryland Transition Digital Portfolio can be one of the mechanisms that help steer their rocket. You and your child will have the opportunity to work with a team to customize the digital portfolio in many different ways.
The first step is to acquaint yourself with the features of your child’s digital portfolio. Find out what these features can do – and how they can benefit your child. Then collaborate with your child’s portfolio team to determine which features are most important to work on right now. What information has top priority? This will depend on your child’s short-, mid-, and long-term goals. Keep in mind that your child’s goals can be adjusted, depending on their unique life circumstances. Here’s an example: if one of your child’s goals is to enter the military, they will need to put into their digital portfolio any information that relates to that goal: their transcripts, data on their physical and mental health, skills and experiences that indicate leadership potential, and so forth. Some of this same information will be needed for college applications. And if your child wants a job, they’ll need to have quick access to all of the information that goes into a job application, resume, and being able to tell a prospective interviewer why that company should hire them!
Work with your child’s portfolio team to determine what information is most useful to your child at each stage of the design process. Then go from there.
The Maryland Transition Digital Portfolio – Schools
With your schools support and guidance, your students have been building a strong foundation on which to build a successful and satisfying life. In fact, your students are becoming the boss of their own life. To continue the rocket analogy…think of your students sitting in the cone of a rocket – one that they have designed and built. All of their experiences up until now, in school and life, are the launch pad. Your schools support and their motivation is the fuel that will propel them from the launch pad into the atmosphere, towards their goal. Their aspirations are their mission. The Maryland Transition Digital Portfolio can be one of the mechanisms that help steer their rocket. The school will have the opportunity to work as a team with students and families to customize the digital portfolio in many different ways.