Part 3: Teaming for Transition



Welcome to Part 3: Teaming for Transition

Before You Start

About Part 3: Teaming for Transition


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Congratulations! You have made it to Part 3: Teaming for Transition!  Let's take a quick recap of what you have learned in Parts 1: Talking about Transition and Part 2: Teaching for Transition...


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In Part 3: Teaming for Transition we will discuss the final three components of the Taxonomy of Transition Programming (Kohler, 1996) which are Family Involvement, Interagency Collaboration and Program Structure.   For each of these components, we will provide you with:


 Let's begin by looking more closely at Family Involvement by clicking "next page".

Family Involvement


family involvement.jpg Most educators and parents will say that family involvement is a key to a student's success. However, family involvement will be defined differently for each family. Respecting parents educational goals, support strategies, and concerns is the first step in developing a positive and collaborative relationship. Although a student is with you for the school day, the main constant and support for a child comes from his family. Families are a key member of any team!

Today's families have a broad configuration. A family might mean parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, guardians, foster parents, siblings, or other nontraditional family. In addition, a family's cultural background impacts families expectations, communication methods, and educational philosophy. Learn more about how to respectfully work with all families by clicking HERE for a tip sheet.

Do not forget your own cultural influence! Self reflection will allow you to understand how your own culture will influence you, your work, and your approach with families.  In the resource section, you will find ways to assess your own beliefs. 


As shown below, the Taxonomy (Kohler, 1996) identifies three components of family involvement that support families to actively involved during the secondary transition process. Family involvement, family empowerment, and family training are interdependent. While they have independent definitions, it is difficult to achieve one without the other two.

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 Family Involvement

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We have established that family involvement is unique for every student. Research has shown that family involvement has a positive impact on student outcomes. For example, the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center has reviewed data to show that "students with one or more parents who participated in IEP meetings during the 11th and 12th grade year were more likely to be engaged in post-school employment."(2011)

college girl.jpg As their child's teacher, parents will frequently turn to you for advice on attaining transition skills and practicing skills within the family. Increase the opportunities for a student to practice his skills through home and school coordination. Examples include:


Giving families specific activities to consider practicing at home with their child, may lead to increased family involvement in their child's education and better postsecondary outcomes. Here are some specific ideas of for families:

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  Adapted from Sitlington, P. & Clark, G. (2006).

Evidence-based Practice: Communication Strategies with Families

One of the challenges that school personnel frequently convey is lack of parent attendance and involvement in school activities. Communicating effectively with parents is an essential link between school and home. Many times parents are asked in broad terms to be involved at school (e.g., "We welcome all volunteers".). Recent research has shown parent involvement increases when there is direct and specific communication between the teacher and the family (Xu, Pruvis & Terpstra, 2010).


Click HERE to learn more about family involvement of secondary students.

Click HERE for a podcast for more information on parents preparing for a transition case conference.

Click HERE for an informative article entitled "Ten Tips That Could Help Your Child's Transition to Adulthood" from the PACER Center.

Division for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Exceptional Learners (DDEL)

DDEL is a special interest group of the  Council for Exceptional Children  (CEC). DDEL advances educational opportunities for culturally and linguistically diverse learners with disabilities and/or gifts and talents, their families, and the professionals who serve them. It is the only professional organization dedicated exclusively to the concerns of culturally and linguistically diverse exceptional learners.


Life After High School Toolkit
Toolkit full of strategies, tools, and resources for families of youth with disabilities to assist in creating successful transition plans.


National Center for Cultural Competence

The mission of the National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) is to increase the capacity of health and mental health programs to design implement, and evaluate culturally and linguistically competent service delivery systems.


NICHCY National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities

NICHCY is a national source of information on disabilities in infants, toddlers, children, and youth. Their vast resources include articles and publications, fact sheets, newsletter, as well as providing personal assistance to parents and families.


  Transition Parent Briefs
Materials from the PACER Center

Transition to Adulthood
Information on transition from the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities.

Family Training

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Family training is an essential component in quality transition programs. Family training may create a stimulus for family involvement and strengthen family empowerment. Throughout this module, we have provided you with resources which may benefit not only educators, but also families. Across Indiana there are multiple avenues for families to receive training from national, state, or local organizations. Here are some highlights of transition-related groups which may offer training or resources.


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IN*SOURCE is parent advocacy organization. They provide assistance, support services and educational resources to the community of individuals and organizations that serve and support persons with disabilities. IN*SOURCE offers online training as well as state, regional, local and individual family trainings. A calendar of activities can be found on their website with current activities. Click here for training descriptions .


Indiana ASK is a non-profit organization where families and professionals in Indiana go to "ASK" questions about children with special needs and to access information and resources about a variety of topics such as health insurance, special education, community resources and medical homes. ASK provides online training and publications. Click here to read training descriptions.


INDATA Project located at Easterseals Crossroads provides services including:


INDATA offers weekly tech tips through their website which demonstrate piece of assistive technology, software or application to increase individuals with disabilities independence.

In addition, there may be local organizations or support groups that provide training in your community.The Arc of Indiana maintains an events calendar of activities across the state. Click HERE to see The Arc's calendar. You may identify training opportunities by contacting a local disability organization such as Area Agency on Aging, United Way, Fifth Freedom, or disability specific support groups.

Family Empowerment

family empowerment bulletin.jpg When teachers share information and resources with families and encourage them to be equal contributors in the transition process,families become empowered. Family empowerment is achieved by:

Empowered families are more likely to have higher expectations for their children. Family expectations influence the child's achievements and engagement in school (NTLS2, National Council on Rehabilitation, Arlington VA 10/28/09).

NTLS2 research goes on to conclude that "If other factors are equal, youth with disabilities whose parents expect them to go on to postsecondary education after high school have more positive engagement and achievements while in high school than youth whose parents do not." This reiterates the necessity of focusing on family involvement, family training, and family empowerment to improve the transition outcomes of our students.



 Beach Center on Disability The Beach Center on Disability focuses on family quality of life. Resources and information are available in the following domains: Emotional Well-Being, Parenting, Family Interaction, Physical/Material Well-Being, and Disability-related Support.


Family Voices

Family Voices aims to achieve family-centered care for all children and youth with special health care needs and/or disabilities. Through their national network, Family Voices provides families tools to make informed decisions, advocates for improved public and private policies, builds partnerships among professionals and families, and serves as a trusted resource on health care.


Fifth Freedom

The Fifth Freedom Network is a grassroots, cross-disability, consumer organization dedicated to removing the physical and social barriers that often hold people with disabilities hostage to poverty, isolation and underachievement. Fifth Freedom members come together to learn about government processes, disability rights, and state and national legislative change initiatives.


Indiana Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health (IFFCMH)

The mission of IFFCMH is to create and grow networks of support, education, intervention, leadership and advocacy, thereby empowering families to facilitate growth and development for their children who have emotional, behavioral or mental challenges while also creating and maintaining a positive environment for all family members.


Indiana's Governor's Planning Council

The Indiana Governor's Council is an independent state agency that facilitates change. Its mission is to promote public policy which leads to the independence, productivity and inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society. Their mission is accomplished through planning, evaluation, collaboration, education, research and advocacy.

PACER Center

The mission of PACER Center (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights) is to expand opportunities and enhance the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families, based on the concept of parents helping parents. The PACER Center website contains resources and online training material.


The Arc

The Arc of Indiana is committed to all people with developmental disabilities realizing their goals of learning, living, working and playing in the


Families are a key partner in the transition process, however there are other transition stakeholders who will offer resources, supports and opportunities for transitioning students. These transition stakeholders will assist students, families, educators, and the community through interagency collaboration. Let's begin to discuss the next area of the Taxonomy (Kohler, 1996) which is interagency collaboration and how it contributes to the transition process...

Interagency Collaboration


Transition to adulthood is complex and confusing. For students and parents, it is a complex maze filled with an enormous amount of information about multiple funding sources, varying eligibility requirements, confusing timelines, and a broad range of service providers.  

This complexity can become more manageable through the development/use of a team of people from secondary schools, funding sources, and adult service providers. Of course, the student and family member are crucial members of this team. This interdependent team is referred to as interagency collaboration.

confused again.jpg Who are potential collaborators?

There are many transition stakeholders who work with transition-age youth, each with their own niche of service provision. Often identifying state, regional and local transition stakeholders is challenging. In some areas, communities have built interagency collaboration by conducting community resource mapping to identify ways in which you might partner to meet the needs of youth. In other communities, the school system has compiled a directory of adult services providers. In other communities, there may be a state resource center that has developed resources with potential collaborators included.


Want to learn more?

Read more about community resource mapping from Essential Tools: Community Resource Mapping.


Click on the graphic to the left to watch this PowerPoint presentation for additional ways to identify community connections.


Transition Stakeholders

Inorder to provide students and families referrals to transition resources and services, it is important for all secondary staff to be familiar with the transition stakeholders in their local community, region and state. This does not mean that you need an in-depth understanding of daily operations and/or eligibility determination, but rather enough knowledge to give a brief overview and contact information for the student/parent to follow-up.   Below you will find a brief introduction to the transition stakeholders in Indiana.

Transition Stakeholders

The Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS), a Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS) has three programs that teachers will provide referrals to and will collaborate with to provide services. Click on the link below to learn more about each of these programs:

 Review the following slides below to learn more about Vocational Rehabilitation Services.


Referring students to Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) is an essential role of secondary schools. Click here to see a map of the Indiana VRS offices.

If you are teacher of record that will be making referrals of students to VRS, here are items you will need to know:


 You may need to be creative in supporting your students' referrals to VRS.   See the graphic below for a few examples:


Want to learn more?


Complete the self-guided tutorial to learn about how VRS can help students transition from high school to postsecondary education or training and employment. Begin by clicking the graphic to the left.


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Watch a video produced about Montana Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Video includes individuals with various disabilities who have benefited from VRS to have successful careers. Click link to go to youtube video



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Watch a light-hearted video for high school students about how Vocational Rehabilitation Services can support students transitioning from high school to adulthood. Click link to go to youtube video



Another key stakeholder in the transition process for students with high supports needs is the Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services (BDDS), Indiana Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services. Review the slides below for an introduction to BDDS.



Individuals are served through their regional BDDS offices. Click here for the map to find the office which serves your community.


Additional Transition Stakeholders

While other agencies are certainly key transition stakeholders, they are not mandated to participate in transition planning. Developing personal contacts with these various agencies will likely increase their participation on your collaborative teams.   Below are the state agencies with regional offices that can play key roles on interagency teams. (Click on the agency's logo below to visit its website.)


paste_image9.jpg The WorkOne (Indiana Department of Workforce Development) provides all job seekers assistance in researching and locating job openings. The WorkOne also provides programs and training for a desired career in the local labor market.   Click HERE to see the map of WorkOne locations in Indiana.


IU.jpg Colleges and Universities

Knowing the local college and universities disability services coordinator is essential. The disability services coordinator will be able to contribute to their understanding of the differences between academic rigors of college and high school, the differences in support services, and the college's curriculum on both during interagency collaboration and in individual IEP team meetings. Click HERE to download College and Post-Secondary Services for Persons with Disabilities in Indiana 2011-2012 Edition which contains the name and contact of disability services coordinators in each Indiana college. You will also want to ask your building administration or guidance counselors about opportunities for dual enrollment of students in secondary school and college courses.


Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) deliver services to older adults and people with disabilities of any age and their caregivers. The AAAs provide information about resources and service providers, assess needs for service, make referrals to case managers, link to services, monitor consumer satisfaction and adjust services to meet changing needs. The AAA's administer the Aged and Disabled (A&D) Waiver. Click her to find the AAA office which serves your community.


Local Transition Stakeholders

Each local community will have a unique collection of community social service agencies and resources to meet specific local needs. For a list of local services and their location click HERE for a Community Map.





While your local area might not seem to have a lot of resources, you should at a minimum, identify the following local transition stakeholders which may offer beneficial services to your students and families.


paste_image16.png Each Indiana County is served by United Way Agencies which offer services and supports to all individuals and families to achieve their potential through education, income stability and healthy lives. Click the United Way graphic to learn more about the United Way services and volunteer opportunities in your community.



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Community Mental Health Centers offer individualized services to individuals of all ages with mental health needs. The continuum of services will vary from community to community.


Examples of services may include:

 Click HERE to locate your local community mental health center to learn more about what is available in your area.


Indiana Centers for Independent Living offer services to support individuals with disabilities free of charge.



Services include:

 To locate the Indiana Center for Independent Living which provides services in your community, click HERE to view the map.


doc.jpg Indiana Department of Corrections (Indiana DOC)

The Indiana Department of Corrections implemented evidence-based practices to support educational and preventive programs for at-risk youth. One example is "The Incredible Years" which targets high-risk youth and those whom have displayed behavioral problems. The goal of this program is to teach parents and educators how to effectively deal with inappropriate behavior of the child and to model appropriate, positive problem-solving and discipline strategies. The target outcome is developed social competence and reduced aggressing behavior by the child at home and at school. To learn more about the Indiana DOC collaborative efforts with schools visit their website by clicking HERE.


Adult Service Agencies

State funding provides many services which are contracted through adult services agencies. Each funding agency maintains a list of their contractors which you may request to identify local adult services agencies. These agencies are key local transition stakeholders because they will offer services and supports which your students may want to access as adults.  In the activity below you will see examples of services, click the "text arrow" to see a description of each service.


 Want to learn more?

paste_image17.jpg Students will be able to select the employment provider of their choice. Assisting your students prepare and interview potential employment providers will help them to make an informed choice. Click HERE to download a workbook "How to Select an Employment Provider". This publication will support students to identify their key questions to ask when selecting an employment service provider.






Click HERE to download A Guide to Selecting and Monitoring Brain Injury Rehabilitation Services. This guidebook provides information to individuals with traumatic brain injury and their families to select a provider which meets their needs and to actively participate in the decision-making and the monitoring of service delivery.


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Now that we have identified many of the transition stakeholders in your community, you may be wondering how these transition stakeholders are brought together.   Let's look more closely at implementation...



How is interagency collaboration implemented?

The two collaborative teams we will focus on are community transition councils and individual student teams. Let's start by looking at community transition councils.





Community Transition Council

Many school corporations participate in and/or facilitate community transition councils. Membership represents all area stakeholders including students/graduates with disabilities, family members, advocates, educators, VRS counselors, adult agency representatives, disability services coordinators from local colleges or universities, and case managers.  

While each council will have its own mission, common focus topics include:

The video below is from the Bartholomew County Transition Council which hosts a transition event each fall. Structured as a mini-conference, students attend concurrent sessions on topics related to transition, visit vendor booths, and attend a motivational keynote. A parent session is also offered on topics of interest (e.g. post-secondary disability services, guardianship or Vocational Rehabilitation Services).


Another example of a community transition council is the Monroe County Transition Council that develops and distributes a newsletter each quarter focused on one area of transition - employment, housing, education or recreation. These newsletters are distributed to parents, students and educators.

Want to learn more?

Ask your special education department chair, supervisor, or transition coordinator if there is a community transition council in your area.   Attending a meeting would be a great way to meet many adult providers and learn more about the local council's activities.

View this informative Powerpoint presentation entitled: Keeping Transition on Track Using Local Transition Councils.



Read this attachment, Team Facilitation Tips, for some basic guidelines for establishing a team and conducting a team meeting.

Read this document to learn about the stages of team development and complete the activity to identify the present stage of your collaborative team.  


Summary of Performance

Schools are required to complete a summary of performance with students and families during the student's final year of high school (IDEA, 2004). This summary is contained in or attached to the student's final IEP. This summary includes recommendations for referrals, services and activities which will assist the student achieve his/her post-secondary goals. The summary will include the present level of performance for academic and functional skills, accommodations, and supports (Grossi & Cole, 2013). It should also include contact names, phone numbers to assist the student and family complete these recommendations. Through interagency collaboration activities, students should be familiar with these recommendations and hopefully, have already started implementing some of these steps prior to graduating/exiting high school.


Want to learn more?

Click HERE to download a Summary of Performance which was developed by a group of Indiana educators, personnel from Vocational Rehabilitation and Offices of Disability Services in various higher education institutions.

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Click HERE to watch powerpoint presentation on the Indiana IEP and Summary of Performance by Karen Goehl and Marc Johnson.







The National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC) developed this Transition Team Leader Sustainability Toolkit to assist state and local transition planning team leaders in effectively building teams and implementing their yearly transition team plans. Many transition teams are faced with high rates of turnover, and often new team leaders must start over as documents and team history are lost. The Transition Team Leader Sustainability Toolkit is a collaborative effort to assist in sustaining team effort.


Program Structure

The final component of Kohler's Taxonomy of Transition Programming (1996) is Program Structure. Throughout Parts 1 and 2, we have focused on what you need to know to be an effective teacher for transition-age students.   This component is a bit different, due to the fact that it focuses on many administrative issues. Program structure includes the following areas:


In this section we will look more closely at program philosophy and program evaluation, in order to give you a foundation to participate on school-improvement teams and/or evaluate your classroom curricula. Each section will contain an definition and additional resources. This is a challenging section of the module, yet it is crucial to our overall improvement of transition services and long-term success of our students.


Program Philosophy

As an educator, you will be ensuring that your instruction, transition activities, and relationships with students reflect the program philosophy of your school district.   The program philosophy drives the curricula, inclusive practices, and the recognition of cultural diversity.

The five accomplishments in shown below lead to fulfillment and respect for all people (O'Brien and O'Brien, 1998). They may act as a guide for professionals supporting and creating curricula, programming and services for individuals with disabilities. If we hold a person-centered philosophy are we ensuring that our programs and services align with this philosophy?   Hopefully so; if not, should we really be doing it?



Program Evaluation

Through program evaluation, administrators and other improvement teams can determine if the district's program philosophy is guiding curriculum development, curriculum implementation, and service delivery. The key to quality program evaluation is the critical analysis of district/school data to assess the district's/school's strengths and specific needs.


What data exists?


Reviewing national transition data provides a "big picture" of transition and the national trends in student outcomes.The National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) surveyed a national sample of students who were 13 to 16 years of age in 2000 as they moved from secondary school into adult roles. They were 21 to 25 years old at the final data collection in 2009. Fact sheets and newsletters can be downloaded from the NLTS2 website of survey outcomes.




indiana.jpg The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) collect data on how States progress monitor their implementation of IDEA. OSEP has 20 indicators that measure various parts of IDEA. The Indiana Department of Education collects and generates reports for each individual school and district in Indiana on items such as graduation rate, dropout rate, attendance, ECA scores and ISTEP+ scores.   This data can be retrieved on their website on DOE Compass or by clicking HERE. 

Local transition data is also collected by The Indiana Department of Education, Division of Special Education when it conducts a yearly survey of former students at one year after graduating/exiting high school. (This is a survey is for Indicator 14 which we mentioned in Part 1: Talking about Transition.) Review the Results of the 2011-2012 Post-High School Follow-Up Survey for your district by clicking HERE.


The importance of conducting post-secondary services or program needs assessment was also highlighted in Kohler's Taxonomy (1996). When reviewing the results of your district with administrators, improvement team, or department, it is important for you to think about the data and how you have prepared students for adulthood. You may consider questions such as:


Reviewing the answers to these questions, as well as other data, will assist you in making decisions regarding curricular needs and transition activities that will benefit your students. In Part 2: Teaching for Transition, we provided you with a number of evidence-based practices and resources that will help you meet the needs identified through your surveys/needs assessments. For example, if you identified a need to improve your instruction to meet the needs of all learners, you will find helpful resources on Differentiated Instruction (DI), Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and Universal Design for Differentiated Instruction (UDDI) to assist you.


What data is still needed?

Conducting an additional needs survey or assessment of transition programs and services may be required to get a complete picture of your classroom, department, building and/or district.   In order to make data-based decisions, there are multiple tools currently available which could be used or modified to collect quality data. Below are two examples:

Summary of Part 3: Teaming for Transition


In Part 3 we have provided you with a review of the final two components of the Taxonomy of Transition Programming: Interagency Collaboration and Program Structure. For each component we provided you with a:

Part 3 has reiterated the necessity of developing interagency collaboration and individual IEP teams to support your students' successful transition to life after high school.  We have also introduced you to two areas of program structure which will guide all curriculum and transition services offered students and will impact students' success.


Summary of T is for Transition Module


This concludes the T is for Transition Module, we hope the information within this module has inspired you and provided you a solid foundation about transition! Throughout this module, our goal has been to provide you with definitions, examples, and resources to help you:


Thank you for completing this module and we wish you well in applying this module in your daily work to improve the transition outcomes of your students!



accessAbility Independent Living Services (2013). Retrieved from

Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services. Retrieved from

Crane, K. & Mooney, M (2005). Essential Tools Improving Secondary Education and Transition for Youth with Disabilities:Community Resource Mapping. Minneapolis, Minnesota: ICI Publications.

Independent Living Centers. Retrieved from

Indiana Department of Corrections (2013). Specific Education Programs for Juveniles. Retrieved from

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Improvement Act of 2004. Pub. L. 108-446, 614 et seq.

Kohler, P. (1996). Taxonomy for Transition Programming. Champaign: University of Illinois.

O'Brien, J. & O'Brien, C. (1998). Implementing Person-Centered Planning. Toronto, Canada:Inclusion Press.

Siltlington, P. & Clark, G. (2006). Transition education and services for adolescents with disabilities (4th ed.) Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Xu, Y., Purvis, B., & Terpstra, J. (2010). Involving families in the process and multicultural consideration. In Thoma, C & Wehman, P. (Eds.). Student-led IEP's: A guide for special educators and families . Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing Co.



This module was created by the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center (INSTRC). INSTRC is located within the Center on Community Living and Careers at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University, Bloomington. INSTRC is part of the Indiana Resource Network funded by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). Any information or opinions presented in this module are those of INSTRC and do not necessarily represent those of the IDOE. Questions regarding this module may be sent to