Secondary Transition can be thought of as a bridge between school programs and the opportunities of adult life, including higher education/training, employment, and independent living. The process is facilitated through the development of a transition plan, which is required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and because it is a measurement of its effectiveness, the transition planning process is oftentimes referred to as Indicator 13. The transition plan is the section of the IEP with the purpose to develop postsecondary goals and provide opportunities that will reasonably enable the student in making progress toward accomplishing those goals.In discussing transition and the development of a transition plan, the student must be at the heart of all decision-making.
Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP team, certain secondary transition components must be included in the IEP. In other words, if a student will be turning 16 years of age during the annual IEP cycle, he/she must have a transition plan that is in place for that annual IEP.
Transition plans include measurable postsecondary goals (MPGs) related to employment and the education/training necessary to obtain those employment goals. If deemed appropriate by the IEP team, the transition plan also includes MPGs related to independent living. The transition plan is updated annually and based upon age-appropriate transition assessments. The IEP team identifies transition activities, courses of study, and transition-related annual IEP goals that are aligned to each MPG and are all expected to reasonably enable the student to make progress in meeting those postsecondary goals. It is required that the student be invited, and it is recommended that the student attend the IEP team meeting(s) where transition is to be discussed. There are multiple ways for a student to participate in the transition planning process (e.g., person-centered planning or student-led IEP).
The transition process is based on the student’s strengths, preferences, interests, and career-related needs. It continues throughout high school with academic instruction, transition activities, and community experiences that clarify and support students’ postsecondary goals. All aspects of this process are intended to enable the student to leave high school with the knowledge and skills to pursue higher education/training and employment as independently as possible.
Many students will change their postsecondary goals or career path based upon these experiences. That is ok! The team will meet again at the next annual IEP and develop a new postsecondary goal. Exploration and exposure are essential to success!
The transition plan is developed in collaboration with the entire IEP team. However, the student’s voice is the focus of the plan. The team walks the student through a series of steps to identify the student’s MPGs, services, and supports. This image is a visual representation of these steps:
As part of the secondary transition experience, students who had an IEP in place upon exit will be contacted by someone from their high school one year after they have exited the Arizona school system.
Every school that serves transition-aged students with disabilities is required to participate in the PSO Survey every year. The requirement is set per IDEA and is oftentimes referred to as Indicator 14.
When students are contacted for the PSO Survey, school staff host a conversation that addresses the survey questions designed to capture student engagement in postsecondary education/training or employment. Data obtained from the PSO Survey facilitates results-driven analysis and improvement to secondary transition programs at the state and local levels. Please visit the PSO page for more detailed information regarding PSO Surveys.
Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP team, certain secondary transition components must be included in the IEP. Required components include:
A summary of academic achievement and functional performance, including recommendations to assist an exiting student in meeting his or her measurable postsecondary goals for students whose eligibility terminates due to graduation from high school with a regular diploma or exceeding the age eligibility for free appropriate public education (FAPE), must be developed.
All Arizona students who had an IEP in effect at the time of exiting high school as a graduate, drop-out, or by aging out will be contacted to take the Post School Outcomes (PSO) Survey one year after leaving school. Conducting the PSO Survey is the responsibility of the school or district from which the student exited and takes place from June through September each year.
The Arizona Community of Practice on Transition (AzCoPT) team meets regularly to collaborate, develop, and coordinate transition services, professional development, and resources related to improving the transition experience for youth who have disabilities. The Arizona Community of Practice on Transition is dedicated to the practice of shared leadership and using Leading by Convening as a framework to guide our work.
The Best Practice Implementation Project is a quantitative method of reviewing transition plans from PEAs to provide feedback on the implementation of best practices. Plans are reviewed using a 20-point rubric that was designed by ADE/ESS Secondary Transition Specialists with support from the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT). Please click on the title to access more information.
Project EASEL (Empowering Arizona with Social-Emotional Learning), formally known as AZ CCCTT, is a collaborative initiative led by the Arizona Department of Education and the University of Kansas Research Collaboration that works to develop career-equipped, lifelong learners who are socially and emotionally engaged. The goal is to impact social and emotional learning of all students by providing participating middle and high school educators with increased understanding, instructional skills and ongoing coaching to better embed intrapersonal and interpersonal skill development into students’ core content areas, over time (i.e., addressing content standards and intrapersonal/interpersonal competencies simultaneously).
Arizona students with disabilities receiving special education services are reported into AzEDS to generate state funding as appropriate. Dependent on the disability, students with disabilities receive varying weighted totals under state aid. There is a fundable scenario that is not able to be reported into AzEDS at this time, which is comprised of students who require ancillary services but do not require special education instruction as outlined in A.R.S. § 15-769(D).
As part of our ongoing recruitment efforts on behalf of Arizona’s public schools, ADE/ESS compiles and updates a list of education career fairs happening at educator preparation programs across the country.
If your school is planning to recruit for special education teachers from out of state, we hope this list will make that task a bit easier for you. This list is available on the Arizona Education Employment Board website under the “Find a University Job Fair” icon.