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by Christine M. Davis, Virtual Learning Specialist | Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8


As teachers, we are used to learning new things, trying different strategies, and pushing ourselves to new heights. The Spring of 2020 is proof of that, as we all adjusted our teaching ways to continue to meet our students during a time of quarantine and school closings. Now that the summer is here, we ask ourselves, how can we get better at this? Explore three ways to extend your professional learning this summer.

#1 Watch a Webinar

Watch or revisit one of the weekly webinars about virtual learning. Topics range from learning tools to teaching strategies and where to find free content. Watch one or watch them all!


Click here for a list of webinars.



#2 Explore Resource Lists

Overwhelmed by resources that have been shared on social media? We picked out the top few virtual learning resources for you. Select any list below.

#3 Join a Professional Learning Community (PLC)

Join a conversation with other educators and keep the learning going!


By Troy Eppley, Supervisor/Educational Consultant | Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8


Let us take some time to reflect on the 19/20 school year. Your child is entering their junior year of high school. Plans for life after school have been happening since he was in 7th grade.

However, it is now finally becoming real and the exit from high school can be seen. The IEP team has done their work, they planned to incorporate activities and services into the year, scheduled various in-person experiences for your child, even planned trips to transition and career fairs. The excitement is building for yourself and especially your child – as they are looking at getting ready for their “first real taste of freedom." Just as the weather was starting to show signs of spring, on Friday, March 13, 2020 everything came to a screeching halt. No more buses, no more in-person classes, no transition activities or career fairs – all those activities are no more…or are they?


As an educational consultant for Secondary Transition of students with disabilities, when the announcement came for the closing of schools, like many others, I was afraid that the secondary transition planning process would be hit the hardest. Everyone’s attention went to the “now” instead of looking ahead to the future (rightfully so). With so many in-person activities canceled, the struggle quickly shifted to finding ways to fulfill obligations towards transition, especially when in reality, parents/guardians themselves might be looking to transition to a new job, or navigating how to apply for unemployment benefits.

However, once the initial shock had worn off, it was obvious it was time to gain our footing, recalibrate, and continue planning for the next steps, even now that school days are coming to an end. Extend your learning by focusing and honing your knowledge and skills in these three core areas:

· employment, · postsecondary education and training, · independent living.

In this time of uncertainty and wading through the unknown, these areas can serve as a road map for guiding us in a positive, productive direction. Through virtual learning experiences, students can continue to break down activities into one of these categories – it just takes a bit of creativity to successfully reshape these activities into different learning experiences.

Ideas to help advance the transition planning process for each of these core areas for focus:

Employment Brush up on your virtual communication platforms. Since in-person interviews are likely not to happen anytime soon – it is important to be prepared if you are afforded the opportunity to interview that you are well prepared. You do not have to become an expert, but it is important that you are able to navigate around the platform.

  • Zoom - is one of the most widely used communication tools. Zoom is currently offering free accounts – get one and try holding a “meeting” with someone you know, like a family member.

  • Google Hangouts – another free communication tool to practice your interviewing skills.

  • Skype – Another free communication tool.

  • Careeronestop – is a source for career exploration through career videos, interest assessments, and other career information.

  • Dr. Kit - helps users explore possible careers and what it [JA1] [JA2] takes to get there.

Postsecondary Education

Thinking about college? Great! Most colleges are offering virtual tours and application processes now. Take time to explore those prospective schools to get to know the campus, requirements for majors, and how to apply online.

  • Bestcolleges.com – gives you the ability to compare universities or filter schools based on your desired major topic.

  • Dr. Kit – Success in School – offers opportunities to search and filter careers into broad categories.

Independent Living

Almost everyone needs to know how to manage a household. Whether you might rent or own a home or live in assisted living or a group home, it is important to know how to find and access resources and learn how to manage them once found – or even where to look to find housing.

So, don’t let fear paralyze you in your transitional journey. Leverage these tools and resources and you will be well on your way to enhancing the knowledge and skills you have been learning since your middle school years, and now in a virtual space!

  • Christine M. Davis

For the past nine weeks, IU8's Extended Campus has provided a collection of webinars, resources and workshops to help you keep the learning going virtually for your students. But, what is the Extended Campus, and what else does it have to offer? Join an upcoming webinar to learn how Extended Campus can help you and your learners reach for more this summer and in the upcoming school year.


Free Webinar: Extended Campus...Reach for More!

Click here to join this webinar on Thursday, May 28th from 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

When students start school in the fall, some may display lower achievement levels than at the start of summer break. This summer learning loss can accumulate year after year, and may be magnified this year, due to how the 2019-2020 school year ended.


Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 has three exciting ways to keep the learning going for your students. Register your students for one, two or all three of these opportunities!


Our Extended Campus summer courses are available in a flexible format, so that students can focus on the modules they need most. 


Courses are available between June 8th and July 31st. Registration is open until June 12th, 2020. Click here for more details about Summer School.

For the 2020 season, IU8 will be offering ATOMS virtually for students in grades 2 - 8 during the 2019-20 school year. 


ATOMS will be a five-week camp from June 15 through July 17. The ATOMS instructors will be offering live sessions of new and even some reimagined courses! Click here for more details about ATOMS Recharged!


Keep the Learning Going with the World of Learning Institute!


The World of Learning Institute provides virtual language learning experiences in 7 languages. We are authentic, relevant, and engaging! Click here for more details about the World of Learning Summer 2020 Courses.

As always, if you are looking for resources, strategies or tools to use for virtual learning, check out https://www.myextendedcampus.com/resources.

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Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8

814-940-0223

4500 Sixth Avenue,

Altoona PA 16602