1. Tests and other means of assessing the achievement and aptitudes of students for various occupations are appropriate and are used to provide personalized counseling and program placement services to students (10-1-a).
  2. There is a student orientation program to acquaint new students with policies, functions, and personnel of the institution (10-1-b).
  3. A designated staff member is responsible for maintaining official files and records of students (10-1-c).
  4. Written procedures for access to student coursework, testing, and records are established to protect their confidentiality, limiting access to authorized personnel only (10-1-c).
  5. The institution, upon request by students, provides transcripts or procedures for obtaining transcripts containing as a minimum the following information:   program of study; courses or units of study completed with corresponding grades, and period of enrollment (10-1-c).
  6. All period of enrollment, financial, academic, and current educational progress records are available at the institution (10-1-c).
  7. Preserving and protecting student coursework, testing, and records are provided by the use of storage devices, duplicate physical or digital records, security files or other measures that ensure both the preservation and security of the records from fire, theft, vandalism, and other adverse actions (10-1-c).
  8. The institution provides and has implemented appropriate grievance policies for handling complaints from students, as described in the institution's catalog and/or the student handbook (10-1-d).  
  9. The Commission's mailing address, telephone number, and website address are included within the grievance policy for cases where the grievance is not settled at the institutional level (10-1-d).
  10. Institutional records reflect that program complaints and grievances receive due process and include evidence of resolution (10-1-d).
  11. The institution maintains records on student complaints that are filed in accordance with the institution's grievance policy to ensure acceptable quality in the educational programs offered by the institution (10-1-d).
  12. The institution provides academic advisement services to assist students in planning and completing the occupational education programs that they pursue (10-1-e).
  13. If the institution has processed Title IV loans or is currently processing Title IV loans….(10-1-f)     N/A – WWRC does not process Title IV loans.
  14. The institution has adopted and implemented a written plan for the health and safety of students in case of sickness, accidents, or emergency health care needs on campus and the plan is evaluated regularly (10-1-g).
  15. A system is in effect for reporting and investigating all incidents affecting health and safety (10-1-g).
  16. The institution is responsible for any reasonable accommodation of students who are identified to have special needs (10-1-h).
  17. The institution has a written plan for determining the effectiveness of student services, documenting an annual evaluation of these services, and dissemination of results to staff so that pertinent information can be used to improve student services (10-1-a through h).
  18. The institution provides placement services for all program completers (10-2).
  19. (criteria 19-24) The institution demonstrates it is following a written plan for placement services, including required elements, per defined COE standards (10-2).

Introduction

 WWRC offers a diverse array of student services and activities to create and maintain an atmosphere conducive to positive living and learning experiences for persons served, leading towards attainment of individualized rehabilitation goals targeting durable employment outcomes.   The majority of needed services are available within the Center complex.  For specialized services not offered at WWRC, community resources are utilized.  The assigned WWRC Rehabilitation Counselor has the flexibility to use the resources that are most appropriate for the individual student being served.  The ability to provide a wide range of comprehensive rehabilitation services in one location is a major strength at this institution and is one of the main reasons that referral sources choose WWRC.  WWRC's focus, across services and programs, is to teach, reinforce, and mentor appropriate skills to assist persons served in successful re-entry to the home community.   WWRC day and residential students/clients are expected to obey all state and federal laws, as well as to abide by basic Standards of Conduct expectations and any program-specific expectations of a given area.   WWRC activities encourage the development of recreational, civic interests, and leadership potential through a variety of opportunities. 

 

Upon enrollment, all students participate in a centralized, structured new student orientation to gain familiarity with the campus, key staff and locations, and to learn about basic expectations.   The length of the general orientation process is 1-2 days, dependent on the program in which enrolled.   The length for newly enrolled vocational students is 2 days.  Students are provided a detailed schedule upon arrival and a copy of the WWRC Student Handbook, also available on the WWRC website.    Following the general orientation, newly enrolled vocational students participate in a more specific orientation to the Vocational Training Department.    Newly enrolled vocational training students enter the classroom following the departmental orientation where curricular-specific orientation is provided by the Instructor(s) for that training program.

 

WWRC is in compliance with all COE standards relative to student records, student grievances/complaints, student health and safety, reasonable accommodations, and, documentation of student satisfaction with services provided. Placement services are provided in coordination with WWRC's parent Agency, the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services Division of Rehabilitative Services (DARS/DRS).   Evidence of this compliance is contained in policies, procedures, and relevant written plans and may be validated through interviews with staff and observations by the Visiting Team during the scheduled Site Visit.

Analysis

Various assessment instruments are used to assess aptitude and achievement for personalization of student vocational and academic programs, including counseling advisement and placement services.  The Woodcock Johnson IV C, is used to evaluate student's academic achievement for reading and math.  The Gates MacGinitie (4th ed) and the Wide Range Achievement Test 4 (WRAT 4) are utilized to obtain more in-depth academic achievement diagnostic information for students who are undergoing a Vocational Evaluation as part of the WWRC experience.

 

The Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) is used to test Reading Comprehension and Applied Math Skills for students in Vocational Training.  The information collected through this assessment tool is utilized to enhance and personalize academic and training area instruction.  In addition, the TABE test results are used to screen potential candidates to sit for WorkKeys testing through ACT to obtain a Career Readiness Certificate (CRC). WWRC is an approved testing site though ACT for WorkKeys testing.

 

GED Ready testing is administered to interested vocational evaluation, Life Skills Transition Program (LSTP) and vocational training students who have not obtained a high school diploma.  The results of these tests are used to determine appropriateness for General Education Development (GED) testing and the level of support that will be required to become a candidate for GED testing.  During the remediation a variety of materials are utilized to prepare students for the rigorous demands of the GED test.  To attain a GED, four subtests (Reasoning through Language Arts, Mathematical Reasoning, Science and Social Studies) must be passed with a minimum score of 450 points each. The students who pass the GED test obtain and receive a High School Equivalency Diploma.  WWRC is an approved testing site through PearsonVue for GED and other industry credentialing exams owned by PearsonVue. 

 

WWRC is in the process of becoming an approved College Ready Test Site in order to be able to administer Accuplacer, an approved Ability to Benefit assessment under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. 

 

WWRC administers a centralized, structured New Student Orientation Program, implemented on the day of arrival for all new students, regardless of program enrollment.  Orientation lasts 1-2 days, dependent on the area in which enrolled.  A one (1) day orientation provides clients with information needed to live on campus for a short term program; a two (2) day orientation prepares students to transition from home for an extended period of campus living.  All newly admitted students enrolled in a vocational training program receive a two-day orientation.  The general New Student Orientation Program acquaints students with the campus lay-out and location of key programs and staff members as well as the Student Code of Conduct.    Also covered are relevant policies and basic life, safety, and health expectations for success in a residential living and learning environment.  During the general orientation process, all students meet with their assigned Rehabilitation Counselor to review stated Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) goals and expected employment outcomes and to mutually develop a written plan to help achieve those goals. An Orientation Program must be repeated if a client is absent from their WWRC program for three or more months.

 

In addition to the general orientation program for all newly admitted WWRC clients, students enrolled in any WWRC training program are required to attend a Vocational Training New Student Orientation which occurs each Wednesday morning at 8:00 in a designated area of the R.N. Anderson Training Building; all students who have been admitted to a Vocational Training Program during the preceding week are required to be in attendance.  This orientation is typically conducted by the Vocational Training Department's ETO Instructors, or designee(s).  Each student is provided a copy of the Vocational Training New Student Orientation Checklist and is initially asked to share:  Name; Home Community; Vocational Goal; Training Program; and, WWRC Counselor.   In this orientation, each student is also asked to sign a consent form giving the department permission to contact them one year after completing their program for follow-up information.   Content covered includes:

  • General overview of WWRC's organizational structure and the role of Vocational Training within this structure;
  • Student Leave Policy (including examples of "good" and "poor" choices for utilization of leave);
  • Attendance policy;
  • Appropriate channels for students to express concerns and grievances;
  • Review of the Student Code of Conduct, with emphasis on No Drugs; No Weapons; No Fighting; and, No Sexual Activity on Campus;
  • Information on Blood Borne Pathogens, as well as Health, and, Emergency, Fire and Safety procedures; and,
  • Importance of wearing student identification at all times.


This is followed by a general/question and answer period.  Interpreters are provided, as identified, and written material is available in alternative format, upon request.  Students enter their vocational training program at the conclusion of the Vocational Training Department orientation to receive further orientation to the classroom and occupational/curricular-specific standards and expectations by the assigned Instructor(s).

 WWRC's policies and procedures are in full compliance with COE's standards relative to maintenance, storage, and retrieval of student records (see Self-Study Exhibit links at the end of this narrative).  The WWRC Records Management Services Department Manager is the designated staff member accountable for all functions related to official files and records of students, directly and/or through delegation to departmental staff.    Official records are electronically imaged through the Records Management Services Department.  Student Health, locked with security keys when closed, also maintains a working folder for quick reference, including the enrollment sheet, a copy of the Outpatient Nursing Initial Assessment, "running orders", progress notes, and medication sheets.    Student records are preserved and protected in the Records Management Services Department with security locks and fire sprinklers.  

 Student transcripts are available, upon request through the WWRC Records Management Services Department.  Transcripts contain the following information:  program(s) of study; course offering task sheet(s) which document student performance and grades; period of enrollment; and graduation status.  

All period of enrollment, financial, academic, and current educational progress records are available through a review of individual records within the campus Records Management Services Department and/or through a data report generated by the AWARE client data management system.    AWARE (Accessible Web-based Activity and Reporting Environment) is a web-based, fully integrated, comprehensive case management software system designed by and for public vocational rehabilitation agencies.   The system reflects business practices that are common to VR agencies across the country. 

WWRC Rehabilitation Counselors lead teams of rehabilitation professionals who encourage students to discuss concerns or unresolved issues.  Students are encouraged to discuss any unresolved issues or concerns with their assigned Rehabilitation Team. However, a more formal appeal can be made, verbally or in writing, to the supervisor of the person with whom a student has a disagreement. The supervisor will consider all the details and make a decision. If the student does not agree with the supervisor's decision, another formal administrative review is available. As stated on the WWRC website, students should contact their Rehabilitation Counselor for more information about the appeals process.

Beginning with WWRC orientation and throughout their stay, students are informed of formal grievance and appeal processes available through the disAbility Law Center of Virginia.  VR students have a right to appeal a decision through established Agency Policy which is directed by federal VR legislation and regulatory guidance.  In accordance with established WWRC procedures, if the issue is not settled at a local level and/or at any stage of the appeals process, students will be provided COE's mailing address and contact information. 

WWRC maintains records on student complaints and grievances filed in accordance with Agency and WWRC grievance policies.  These logs include the name of the complainant, date filed, nature of complaint, and resolution and will be available for review by the Visiting Accreditation Team by contacting the WWRC Deputy Director.  WWRC documents its comprehensive business process and policy for management of student complaints and grievances in its Administrative Governance Manual.  This process is also included in the Client Handbook and reviewed during New Student Orientation when newly enrolled students meet with their assigned Rehabilitation Counselor.

Students are recommended for a specific program based on referral request, background information and performance results, potential demonstrated during evaluations and orientation and assessment processes, work history, and a review the local job market for their home community.  If there are questions concerning feasibility for success, a student may be entered into a desired program of studies for an initial assessment.  Academic counseling and advisement is provided through WWRC's Rehabilitation Counseling Division, in collaboration with instructors, evaluators, and academic support staff.  Should a student be challenged, or experience unanticipated difficulties, in a given course of study, an interdisciplinary team meeting, led by the assigned Rehabilitation Counselor, is held with the student to discuss and determine "action steps", including recommended program modifications and/or adjustments.  These team meetings can be called at any time by any member of the team.  Progress reviews are conducted on a routine basis and are intended to assist the student in planning and completing the occupational education program to achieve a stated vocational goal on the Individual Plan for Employment.  

 WWRC has a written plan for the health and safety of students in case of sickness, accidents, or emergency health care needs on campus.   The mission of Student Health is to provide health care services that enable clients to achieve their potential for independence, education, and employment.  WWRC contracts with the local Medical Center to provide emergency care.

 First Aid kits are located in key locations throughout campus, including the training building and dorms for minor injuries or ailments.  Everyone shares the responsibility to encourage clients to problem solve minor issues.  Clients do not need to come to Student Health unless s/he has questions or concerns. 

In addition to Student Health Services, WWRC operates a Life, Safety, and Health Program to identify, evaluate, and reduce risk to people and property.   Included in this program is a function to identify and investigate incidents involving students, staff, volunteers, and visitors who sustain an illness or injury.  The Center also operates a comprehensive Emergency Management Plan that calls for regular fire drills and safety inspections.    This Plan was significantly enhanced under a federal Readiness for Emergency Management in Schools (REMS) grant initiative awarded to WWRC by the U.S. Department of Education/Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (2009-2011).  The SARA (Situation Awareness and Response Assistant) system, initially purchased under the REMS grant, provides an accessible means to alert clients, staff, families, visitors, and community partners in the event of an emergency affecting the campus and to provide routine updates regarding the status of the emergency situations.  Tests of WWRC's Emergency Management Plan are routinely conducted involving pre-planned disaster scenarios.   All plans and operational procedures are evaluated regularly (e.g. monthly, quarterly, and annually) through the WWRC Safety and Risk Management Committee, external audits by independent regulatory bodies, and internal departmental reviews.   

The WWRC Community Supports Services Team (CSST) routinely monitors stability of the WWRC campus environment as part of its accountability for oversight of an effective pro-social support system for enrolled students to increase their likelihood of success in program completion and attainment of employment outcomes.   The Behavior Coordinator, a CSST member who dually chairs the Conduct Review Board, monitors trends and patterns in student behaviors and ensures the availability and access to quality support services based on identified trends and patterns at any given time.  The Behavior Coordinator regularly communicates current support services to Rehabilitation Counselor and Team members. The Behavior Menu of Services is also maintained in WWRC's Administrative Governance Manual. All group curricula are designed to not only assist WWRC students with navigating the residential and academic environment, but also to transfer to an employment setting upon completion of their vocational training program.    There are also individual behavioral support services offered through the Behavioral Health Department that focus on more individualized needs of our students. 

Reflective of its vision and mission for serving people with disabilities, WWRC routinely identifies and provides reasonable accommodations critical to successful independent living and durable employment outcomes.    These accommodations, whether rehabilitation and assistive technology equipment or devices or specialized programming and/or curricular design and learning methodologies, are integrated within the individual student's rehabilitation program, as documented and reviewed continuously through rehabilitation team processes. 

 WWRC follows a written plan for determining the effectiveness of student services, for documenting an annual evaluation of these services, and for dissemination of the results to staff so that pertinent information can be used to strengthen and refine services.  The WWRC Organizational Development and Quality Assurance (OD&QA) Division is accountable for administration of the Center's Customer Satisfaction System, in partnership with the WWRC Executive Team, Managers/Supervisors, and designated Program staff.

 Responsibility and accountability for Placement Services is jointly held between WWRC and its parent Agency, the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services/Division of Rehabilitation Services (DARS/DRS), serving as WWRC's primary referral source.  Early consideration of the successful transition back to one's home community is a vital part of the Rehabilitation Team process for VR consumers served at WWRC.  Effective planning facilitates successful community re-integration with a positive employment outcome.   Effective planning requires full engagement of the WWRC Rehabilitation Team, which includes the VR consumer and his/her DRS Rehabilitation Counselor in the home community.  

No later than forty-five to sixty (45-60) days prior to anticipated program completion, the WWRC Rehabilitation Counselor is expected to convene a Rehabilitation Team meeting that focuses on final home community transition planning considerations, options, and goals.  This specialized Rehabilitation Team meeting should include the DRS Job Placement Counselor and/or Employment Service Organization (ESO) representative, if feasible and appropriate to the types of services the VR consumer will need upon return to the home community, to optimize utilization of their services. This Rehabilitation Team meeting may address such things as Assistive Technology, Reasonable Accommodations, and Placement Recommendations. 

 A Written Plan for Placement, maintained in the Vocational Training Department Operations Manual and aligned with WWRC's cultural governance regarding transitions back to the home community, includes all COE-required elements, as reviewed and verified by Visiting Team members at time of the Accreditation Site Visit.

 

Challenges and Proposed Solutions

 

The WWRC Executive Team must continuously review the scope of student services and programming to support the mission of the Agency and WWRC for VR consumers in its daily operations. In addition, WWRC has set up business processes to continuously monitor campus and environmental stability vis-à-vis its student population profile and identified trends/patterns to determine and adjust, as necessary, its student services.  In recent years, implementation of Agency Order of Selection, mandated under federal law if funds are deemed insufficient to serve all eligible people with disabilities, changes in federal laws and regulations governing VR programs and IT security including the privacy and protection of sensitive data, and ever-evolving changes in the complexity of disability-related functional limitations presented by WWRC's population profile have resulted in:

 

  • more focused, workforce-driven counseling and academic advisement services, including strengthened Rehabilitation Team processes and more intentional coordination with the DARS/DRS Program;
  • a more structured, hands-on, experiential orientation program that continuously reinforces key concepts across environments;
  • implementation of a structured Behavior Management and Support System designed to be fluid and flexible to be responsive to the needs of students at any given time; and,
  • more stringent records management business processes and controls designed to be compliant with recent changes in federal and state IT security and data privacy laws and regulatory requirements.

     

The most significant challenge facing WWRC as related to COE Standard 10 is that of its Placement and Follow-Up Services.  Written plans for these services do exist and WWRC does provide placement services for al program completers and conducts follow-up studies of completers.  However, while significant measures have been put in place, leveraging reallocated resources within the DARS/DRS Agency along with cultural shifts in the WWRC environment to be more workforce-driven across all programs and services, attainment of COE-acceptable graduate placement rates in the field for which trained, as documented in follow-up studies, remains a challenge.  Additionally, with an increasing litigious society combined with ever-tightening privacy and confidentiality laws, obtaining specific feedback from employers of graduates has been an increasing challenge.   The Accreditation Self-Study Steering Committee welcomes guidance from the Visiting Team on these issues, at time of the Accreditation Site Visit.

 

Summary

 The Accreditation Self-Study Committee finds WWRC in compliance with Standard 10, noting challenges above.  Evidence of compliance with COE Standard 10 will be verified through staff interviews, student interactions, team member observations and review of Self-Study materials, and file/document/record audits, as indicated. 

 

Self-Study Exhibits

The following key contacts and supporting documentation for Standard 10 are provided to supplement hyperlinks integrated within this narrative.

 

  • Key Contacts

Name/Title

Campus Location

Email

Phone Number

Dr. Sharon Mullen, Principal, Education & Workforce Supports

R.N. Anderson Training Building

Sharon.Mullen@wwrc.virginia.gov

(540) 332-7313

Jale Ramsey, Education & Workforce Supports Supervisor

R.N. Anderson Training Building

Jale.Ramsey@wwrc.virginia.gov

(540) 332-7220

Kristen Swink, Records Management Services Manager

Birdsall-Hoover Medical/Administration Building, Records Management Department

Kristen.Swink@wwrc.virginia.gov

(540) 332-7154

Dewanna Christian, Rehabilitation Counseling Division Director

Birdsall-Hoover Medical/Administration Building, Rehabilitation Counseling Suite

Dewanna.Christian@wwrc.virginia.gov

(540) 332-7483

Russ Neyman, Facility Operations Division Director & Deputy Director

Birdsall-Hoover Medical/Administration Building, Administration Suite

Russ.Neyman@wwrc.virginia.gov

(540) 332-7494

Chip Stratton, Safety & Risk Management Director

Facility Services Building, Safety and Risk Management Office

Chip.Stratton@wwrc.virginia.gov

(540) 332-7163

Kristen Chesser, Associate Director, Behavioral Health Services/Behavior Coordinator

Birdsall-Hoover Medical/Administration Building, Behavioral Health Services Suite

Kristen.Chesser@wwrc.virginia.gov

(540) 332-7004

Kurt Sprenger, Lead Program Evaluation (PE) Specialist

Mary E. Switzer Building, Room 3

Kurt.Sprenger@wwrc.virginia.gov

(540) 332-7135

 

  • Relevant sections of the WWRC Administrative Governance Manual (AGM)

 

 

  • Relevant sections of the Vocational Training Operations Manual