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Caribbean Summit


On November 5 - 7, 2014, pepnet 2 hosted the Caribbean Building State Capacity Summit in San Juan, Puerto Rico for representatives from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The overall goal of the Summit was to enhance successful postsecondary outcomes for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. This Summit provided participants from both island entities with an opportunity to review critical issues, exchange information, and consider strategies to support programs and services that increase the number and proportion of students who continue past high school and complete postsecondary programs or become employed. 


Pepnet 2 staff worked closely with colleagues in the region to identify stakeholders who might participate in the Summit. Twenty nine individuals participated from Puerto Rico, and fifteen individuals participated from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Diverse teams are both valued and necessary for change to occur.  For this Summit, team members represented a variety of stakeholder groups, including educational administrators, teachers, parents, transition services staff, independent living center staff, vocational rehabilitation administrators, postsecondary program professionals, and Deaf community members. The group included participants who are deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing.


The Summit provided information to help teams develop a working plan to address issues relevant to each entity. The agenda included content sessions as well as large and small group discussions that addressed the barriers and success factors that comprise a positive transition to postsecondary life. There was an opportunity for participants to engage in discussions with peers in similar roles as well as several opportunities for each team to work together.

Session topics included:

  • Setting the stage – hopes for student outcomes
  • Youth panel to address high school and post-high school experiences
  • Resource mapping
  • SWOT analysis for each island entity
  • Parent perspective on supporting students and youth as they consider options and opportunities after completing high school

Increased Knowledge

Participants reported that the Summit enhanced their knowledge in these areas:

  • The challenges faced by students who are deaf or hard of hearing;
  • The systemic barriers that contribute to challenges faced by students who are deaf or hard of hearing;
  • Availability of tools and strategies for identifying barriers to student success; and
  • Availability of tools and strategies for enacting change that removes barriers to success.

The participants also described the new tools and/or strategies that they took away from the Summit. These include:

  • Online resources available through pepnet 2;
  • Opportunities to collaborate with various groups and organizations in each island entity;
  • Use of assistive technology that will enhance independence;
  • Strategies for making other agencies and organizations aware of the needs and issues facing youth who are deaf or hard of hearing; and
  • Ideas to involve parents more in the transition process.

Next Steps

Teams left the Summit with a better understanding of which organizations and agencies might work together on common goals.  Each team also discussed critical issues, prioritized concerns, and began to draft a plan to address them.  To support ongoing development and implementation of each plan, pepnet 2 will invite a team of up to 5 members from each island entity to participant in the January 2015 Summit in Washington DC. When appropriate, information about the activities of this group may be shared with other projects (TA&D network and other OSEP initiatives) to foster collaboration and reduce duplication of efforts. Pepnet 2 will work with the islands to provide resources and services through the use of technology when possible.

Meeting Agenda - Printable Information

  • Caribbean Summit Agenda – 2014