• A mission statement written and supported by all stakeholders and administration;
  • Statements of vision (belief statements about the total program focus on student achievement toward post school goals);
  • Program initiatives, goals and objectives which provide direction and strategies;
  • Collaboration of ideas and services between school, family, adult agencies and the community;
  • An understanding of the IDEA and its implications;
  • An understanding of all stakeholders of why transition is critical for positive student outcomes;
  • A district or unit memorandum of understanding with all partners.


  • Students who begin the process understanding what transition is, understand their disability and why it's important to plan for their future while still in school at an early age;
  • Students who have a realistic dream for their future and choices and advocate for such;
  • Parents who accept the responsibility to support the school, advocate for their children and participate as equal partners in the process;
  • Educators who have skills and competencies to coordinate, manage and provide a comprehensive secondary special education program which includes transition;
  • A community who accepts and welcomes ALL students to use their business to develop interest, skill, and interpersonal relationships;
  • Agencies who provide timely, quality services based on individual need and interest in a way which is simplistic for the family and young adult;


  • Students graduating with their peer class with an appropriate plan in place and supportive agencies and services designed to meet individual needs and interests;
  • A process of on-going assessment/evaluation that focuses on student strengths and is used to determine student interests, needs and abilities;
  • A continuum of career/vocational programs and opportunities from awareness to exploration to specific skill training;
  • A process for comprehensive program evaluation which includes file reviews, a proactive approach to monitoring and/or self evaluation and an accountability system which measures program success according to achieving student outcomes;
  • A system whereby all students are provided a variety of work experiences to understand the role of the worker, their personality and interest traits and their skills in the workplace and opportunities for independence;
  • A strong pre-service program on transition issues.
  • An accountability system in place which evaluate outcomes and programs using information from students, parents, agency providers and educators in the areas of post secondary education, employment, community participation, recreation and leisure, and independent living;
  • An "active" IEP which identifies services and creates opportunity for personal and academic growth;
  • Standards and benchmarks for competencies driven by both academic and functional skills and abilities;


  • Program purpose
  • Program philosophy
  • Program objectives
  • Role of community, school, business, agencies and family
  • Role of teachers/case managers
  • Role of general education
  • Continuum of career/vocational programs (awareness, exploration, training)
  • Transition services and planning
  • Assessment - academic, functional, transition areas
  • Curriculum
  • Public relations
  • Advisory committee
  • Program evaluation
  • Program policies and guidelines
    • Community experiences
    • Electives
    • Grading
    • Graduation
    • Credits

An essential Transition system - During Middle School or early high school years

  • Students with disabilities are given information and opportunity to explore various career options and choices through:
    • Computer software programs;
    • Inventories and community based assessments;
    • Onsite community and employee visits, tours and job shadowing experiences.
  • Students are taking a variety of coursework to apply the academics with the functional application of life and career (home economics, vocational classes, music, and languages).
  • Students are expressing some knowledge and understanding of their disability and its impact on education and social skills, as well as an understanding of the basic concepts of the IEP process and the laws that protect them.
  • Students are working and talking with their parents and their IEP teams about the intent of planning for their future goals and plans.
  • Students are working and talking with their parents about taking care of themselves, participating in household and independent living skills, family and individual decisions, exposure to the community and self-advocacy skills for themselves.

This process continues on during the high school years with the addition of the following concepts:

  • Students are working (volunteer, for credit, pay) within the community (with supports as indicated) in a field of interest to them and continue to do so until graduation or beyond.
  • Age appropriate transition assessments continue to provide information to students and IEP teams about strengths and challenges.
  • Post secondary options are reviewed with no less than 3 onsite visits and interviews.
  • Graduation is preceded by referral to Vocational Rehabilitation, Job Services, Developmental Disabilities or NDUS disability support services.
  • Student demonstrates some level of proficient social skills within classroom and community.
  • The need for supports from adult provider is identified and relationships created with providers who can direct and support IEP team.
  • Student self-advocacy becomes obvious to the extent possible in creating the plan document for adult life.
  • Accountability lies with the IEP team for post school provider relationships and referral.
  • Self-assessment for all students with disabilities is a continual process.