Secondary Transition

Updated 1/9/14

Improving transition from school to adult life for all individuals with disabilities is both a national mandate and a district commitment. Recognizing that education is a life-long pursuit, the district provides students who are transitioning to adult life with an Individualized Education Plan that includes a coordinated set of transitional activities, based on assessment of the student's needs and preferences that will lead to the accomplishment of their postsecondary goals. These services may include instruction, related services, community experiences, employment, and, if appropriate, functional vocational evaluation and daily living skills instruction.
While transition planning typically begins at age 15, so that a transition plan is in place as a part of the IEP before the student turns 16, planning can and should begin much earlier. Special Education professionals work with the student and family to develop an Individual Transition Plan which includes transition goals based on assessment and is designed to assist the student to reach long-term student outcomes through a coordinated set of activities.
Vocational preference inventories, aptitude tests, observations, work samples, classroom course work, STAR testing results, and student interviews could be used as part of the transition assessment. This assists the team to determine postsecondary goal areas and develop a course of study to enable the student to work towards his/her postsecondary outcomes. This information is brought to each annual/transition IEP meeting for transition-age students.
Prior to the transition IEP meeting the appropriate notification should be sent to all required team members. The IEP Meeting Notice includes a box indicating that the purpose of the meeting is transition planning. This box should be checked. The transition meeting can be held in conjunction with the annual and/or triennial IEP review(s). Required team members to be invited include the following:

  • The student must be invited to participate in this meeting; however, if the student is not present, those who know the student well should contribute information on the student's behalf. Active student involvement in all aspects of the transition planning process is imperative.
  • The parent(s)/guardian(s) need to be informed of the purpose of this meeting so that they can fully participate. As with any other IEP, they also must be informed of their right to bring anyone else to the meeting who has specific knowledge of the child. This could include coaches, tutors, family members etc.
  • With the consent of the parents or the consent of the student who has reached age 18, the district must invite a representative of a local agency that is responsible for providing or paying for transition services.

At the transition meeting, the information that has been gathered is considered by the IEP team, along with the strengths of the child, the concerns of the parent, the results of the most recent evaluations, and the needs of the child for academic, developmental and functional skills. The IEP team may also determine that further age appropriate assessment, including a functional vocational evaluation, is required in order to identify appropriate postsecondary goals.

  • At least one postsecondary goal is identified for education/training, and an additional goal is identified addressing the student's future employment. These goals must address the IEP team's expectations for what the student will be doing after exiting with a diploma or aging out of special education upon turning 22 years of age.
  • If needed, another postsecondary goal for independent living skills can be added. The team should consider an independent living skills goal particularly for students who have deficits in functional skills.
    Measurable Postsecondary Goals (MPG) begin with a time frame, use results oriented terms and detailed descriptors. Some MPG examples include:
  • After high school graduation, Jeremy will enroll in a Veterinary Technician training program at Diablo Valley College.
  • Following completion of a cosmetology course, Tina will be employed as a hair stylist at her mother's salon.

Upon completing school at age 22, Jane will live in a group home and participate to the maximum extent possible in her daily routines, making choices using technology.

Once measurable postsecondary goals are identified, the IEP team begins the task of determining what transition services or activities are required for the student to achieve the goals. The transition IEP team must consider three separate elements: (1) course of study, (2) measurable annual goals, and (3) transition services and activities designed to address measurable annual goals.

1. Course of Study: The IEP team will look at the course of study required for the student to achieve the postsecondary goal. If the goal requires a high school diploma, the team will determine what courses are required for granting the diploma. If specific prerequisites are required for the student to prepare for postsecondary training or education, the team will write those prerequisites into the course of study.

2. Measurable Annual Goals: The IEP team will examine the goals proposed for the student's annual IEP and make sure that they contribute to the student's progress toward his postsecondary outcomes. Areas of need identified by the IEP team that are not addressed in the annual academic IEP goals should be addressed with specific transition goals.

3. Transition Services designed to address postsecondary outcomes. The IEP team will determine which related services and activities will be necessary to address the student's MPG's. These services should be listed in the "Services" section of the annual IEP form. Some transition services and activities, including mentoring, college awareness, career exploration, travel training, work experience, apprenticeship program, and vocational counseling are more appropriately listed on the Individual Transition Plan (ITP).

The IDEA states that "Transition is a coordinated set of activities." To ensure effective and quality transition services, service providers at the school level must be actively involved with community resources. Collaboration is essential. Documentation of collaboration is required. The Individual Transition Plan form lists the person or agency responsible for each of the transition activities and services. A progress report on these activities is required whenever an IEP review is conducted. If some aspect of the ITP was not completed due to the failure of a community agency to participate, the IEP team must identify alternative strategies to provide the services.
At the conclusion of the student's school career, the district is required to provide a "Summary of Performance" to the student. It must include a description of the student's academic achievement and functional performance, with recommendations on how to assist the student in meeting the postsecondary goals. At this time, if it hasn't been done before, the school should request a permanent address for the student, as data on the student's achievement of his measurable postsecondary goals will need to be collected one year after the student exits the school with a diploma or at age 22. This data must be reported to the CDE on the CASEMIS forms.

[34 CFR 300.321(b)(1) and (3)] [20 U.S.C. 1414(d)(1)]
[34 CFR 300.321(b)(1) and (3)] [20 U.S.C. 1414(d)(1)]
[34 CFR 300.43 (a)] [20 U.S.C. 1401(34)]
[34 CFR 300.305(e)(3)] [20 U.S.C. 1414(c)(5)(B)(ii)]

Click here to download and print "Procedures Guide-Secondary Transition"