Tips & Tools

All Tuesday Tips

Graduation Guidance

Many of you have been asking about Indiana Diploma Decisions, the guide for teachers and families from the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center, originally published in 2015. Because of the extent of the changes to the Certificate of Completion, graduation pathways, and diploma options, the guide was in need of an update, so you won’t find it among our resources on the INSTRC website. We’ve taken it down while INSTRC and DOE staff work on a new model.

It may take us some time, so please be patient. In the meantime, we recognize that teachers and special education departments around the state need resources. Here’s a compilation of information from DOE that may help. Print and post!

We promise: You’ll be the first to know when Indiana Diploma Decisions is back online!

Graduation Pathways (includes link to High School Diploma resources):
Graduation Requirements/Flowchart 2019-2022 
Coffee Talk Video/Certification of Completion
FAQs Certificate of Completion 

New! 'Indiana Transition IEP Rubric'

More updates! Last week it was fact sheets from Indiana VR. This week, we want to give you a brand new shiny “Indiana Transition IEP Rubric.”

This new edition of the rubric will be your go-to guide as you create quality, compliant Transition IEPs for your students this year. It features examples of written statements that illustrate quality, compliance, or non-compliance for each part of the IEP. Screenshots show you where to find and enter new information in the Indiana IEP (IIEP). Resources at the end of the rubric include everything from a video on authentic assessments to a resource collection for writing quality IEPs.

You can find the new rubric on the INSTRC website as a resource. Just type “Transition IEP Rubric,” or just “Indiana Rubric” or even just “Rubric” in the INSTRC resource search bar.

Need a quick look at the requirements for a Transition IEP? Review the Indicator 13 Checklist, which provides you with the specific compliance questions used when reviewing Transition IEPs. You’ll find those same questions in the rubric along with supporting information, examples, and resources.

New! 'Working with Indiana VR' Fact Sheets

New programs, processes, and policy changes bring updates (something along the lines of “Change is the only constant”). Today, those updates come from Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services.
With VR’s order of selection and its implementation of Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) in schools around the state, the agency wanted to update teachers and administrators about VR applications, eligibility, and referrals for transitioning students.

As a result, VR worked with staff at both the Center on Community Living and Careers and our own Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center to update the “Working with Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation” fact sheet series:

Download and share! Print copies of the Students and Families fact sheet to use at family information nights or transition fairs, hand them out during case conferences, or send the link to students/families in transition.

All three “Working with VR” fact sheets are now available on the Indiana IEP (IIEP) system under the documents section. We’ve also uploaded them to the INSTRC website as resources. You can find them whenever you need them by typing “Indiana VR,” or “Working with Indiana VR,” or just “VR” in the INSTRC resource search bar. You’ll also find them on INSTRC in Resource Collections, under the “New Administrators” and “Professionals New to Transition” tabs.

Indiana's Cadres of Transition Leaders

It is hard to believe that the Indiana Cadres of Transition Leaders have been going strong for seven years! In 2011, Indiana formed seven regional cadres of leaders in the field of transition to build capacity across the state and address regional secondary transition needs. Cadre members meet regularly (typically once a month or every other month) to discuss, plan, learn, and provide supports. Many cadres work on products to support their regions and the state. Some examples of Cadre-driven work include the Transition Assessment Matrix; Case Conference Cue Card; parent information brochures; and videos to support teachers, students, and families.

Each year brings new ideas and new challenges that Cadre members work on through a team approach. Each Cadre has one or two facilitators, along with a support person from the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center team. Cadres are also supported by the Indiana Department of Education.

Interested in joining a Cadre? We hope you are! Not sure which Cadre your school district is in? You can find a map of Cadre boundaries and a listing of currently participating districts on the following website: 

Once you’ve located your Cadre, please email one of the facilitators below to learn more about meeting dates and activities. 

Registration is still open for September 2018 Regional Transition Trainings. Training kicks off in Carmel and continues in Indianapolis, Bloomington, Huntington, Hammond, and Jasper. Click on the link for more information and to reserve your seat!

The Transition IEP from Every Angle

The Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center (INSTRC) joins forces next month with other member organizations that make up the Indiana Resource Network to offer you a twist on our annual Regional Transition IEP Trainings. This September, during “Collaborative Transition Planning: From Process to Practice” we will collectively present information and updates on:

  • The Aligned Transition Process
  • Transition Portfolio
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Specially Designed Instruction
  • Standards & Content Connectors
  • Aligning Measurable Annual Goals

See the 2018 Regional Trainings registration flyer for dates and locations.

Road trip!: We’ll be in six locations throughout the state next month—Carmel, Indianapolis, Bloomington, Huntington, Hammond, and Jasper. For those of you who can’t join us in person, we’ll also offer an abbreviated version of the training in an online webinar October 11.

Register now; seats are filling fast! Please limit your team’s attendance to no more than three people. See you soon!

Welcome Back and Regional Trainings

The Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center (INSTRC) staff would like to welcome you back to another year of Tuesday’s Transition Tips. We are excited to have another year to work with all of you and support your transition efforts.

A couple of things as we gear up for the 2018-19 school year:

        • If you have a new colleague in your building, make sure that you let them know about Tuesday's Tips. To subscribe, email Lori Pierce at, explain that you’d like to be added to the TT mailing list, and give her your name and email.
        • This year’s Regional Transition IEP Trainings begin September 4 and take place throughout the month and in various locations around the state. Register soon! Seats are filling up.
        • In case you have not met all of our INSTRC staff, here we are:

      * Judith Gross: Director of the Center on Community Living and Careers
    • * Mary Held: Project Coordinator
    • * Mike Nevins: Research Associate
    • * Wendy Ritz: Research Associate
    • * Joni Schmalzried: Project Coordinator

  • We are all here to help you in any way we can. If you have an INSTRC request, please email Joni at 
  • Keep your eyes out for some favorite resource updates. 
  • The Transition IEP Rubric is in the final stages of revision and will be ready for your use soon.
  • Transition Services & Activities Manual is also in the revision stage and should be ready by October.
  • and there will be more!


    Have a wonderful 2018-19 school year!

Happy Summer Vacation

Tuesday’s Transition Tips is floating in a relaxing pool, with a tall lemonade, a page-turning novel, and lots of time to kill. Okay, maybe not. But you definitely should!

While you’re taking your well-deserved summer vacay, we’ll get to work on some new resources and updated materials. Vocational Rehabilitation is helping us with some new information fact sheets, we have several Transition IEP trainings we’re hoping to overhaul, and we want to redo our diploma decision guides.

Meanwhile, we’ve archived presentations from this year’s Cadre Leaders’ Capacity Building Institute, “Digging Deeper” on the training page of the INSTRC website. Find information on mental health, transition in rural and urban areas, Pre-ETS, and more. The INSTRC training page is at  

Tips will begin again in September, but until then and as always, find the help you need on the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center (INSTRC) website, and look through previous tips by clicking the "View all tips" button, below.

Rest, relax, have fun, and we’ll expect a full “What I Did on my Summer Vacation” report in the fall!

Indiana Transition Resources

As we wind down the school year, we know you are already thinking about 2018-19. Don’t forget to access the many available resources offered across the state to support the professionals who, in turn, support our transition-aged students.

  •  This site is the IDOE’s Certificate of Completion Resource site.  Please remember that the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are updated on a regular basis.  Have a question?  Check there first to see if it has already been addressed. It is a wonderful living document.
  •  Project Success continues to provide resources on their website that address Content Connectors and high expectations for students with disabilities. They have several summer trainings that would be well worth your time.
  •  The Indiana IEP Resource Center has resources to support teachers not only with the IIEP System, but with professional learning in the areas of goal writing, LRE, and more.
  • Last but not least…keep your eyes out for some great fall resources from those of us here at Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center:  Look for more information on upcoming supports from INSTRC in next week’s TT.

 Have an Authentic Assessment you would like to share? If so, please submit it with this form to Joni Schmalzried at You will not only receive recognition for your work, but will be providing support for your colleagues around the state. 

Innovative Self-Advocacy Through Deafverse

The National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes has a new online, interactive game to help students develop self-advocacy skills. In “Deafverse,” students who are deaf or hard of hearing can test out their responses to a variety of situations, conflicts, and challenges in “parallel universe” environments. In “Duel of the Bots,” for example, they’ll problem solve and make decisions about situations involving missing interpreters, broken CapTel devices, and bullies. The game is available in both English and ASL.

Find out more information, watch the trailer, and play Deafverse here:  

Capturing Big Picture Transition Services and Activities for Individual Students

A number of events and programs occurring in our schools can be good transition activities for your students. The key to capitalizing on these larger, group activities for a particular student is to understand 1) the individual needs of that student and 2) how the activity can help the student move toward his/her goal. If you’re finding it challenging, documenting and describing these large, group events as individual activities, this tip is for you.  

This short presentation we’ve recorded on YouTube walks you through the best practice process of moving from thinking about the “big picture” event to focusing on what each student needs and will gain from participating in a larger scale opportunity. Take a look and see how it might apply to your students or your school.

DON’T FORGET: When you are writing a transition service and activity, think about whether or not there will be an outcome that you can capture and use as part of next year’s age-appropriate transition assessment. That’s what brings the authentic experience full circle for students and helps them continue to make informed decisions about their future.

Planning for Health Care Transition

In addition to transition planning for employment and postsecondary education, students with disabilities and their families often need to plan for their future health care. The Center for Youth and Adults with Chronic Conditions (CYACC) is a state-funded clinic that helps Indiana youth, ages 11 to 22 with chronic health conditions, as they transition from pediatric to adult health care.

During an initial on-site evaluation, a CYACC team, which includes a social worker, a nurse and a doctor, works with families and students to look at strengths, current services, and future goals and needs. The team then follows up with recommendations to the family and an individualized transition plan to help families connect with appropriate resources and providers in their area. Individuals and families can self-refer, or a doctor can refer them to CYACC. Services are billed through insurance.

Topics discussed during a CYACC evaluation can include:

  • Independent living
  • Healthcare financing
  • Medical home/primary and subspecialty care
  • Health habits
  • Self-management
  • Mental health
  • Decision making
  • Education/employment
  • Family/caregiver support
  • Socialization
  • Transportation

Located on the fourth floor of the Sandra Eskenazi Outpatient Care Center in Indianapolis, CYACC is designed to guide young people with special health care needs toward a successful adult life.

For more information about CYACC and their services: 

Postsecondary Ed Resources

Students with disabilities planning to attend college or a university must weigh a number of factors to find the right program and supports. Beyond finances, there’s housing, transportation, academic and peer tutoring, work experiences, career planning and internships, physical accessibility, and course design.

To help you help your students with their postsecondary exploration we’ve added a page in the Resource Collections section of the INSTRC website. “Postsecondary Education” offers links to articles about apps for college students, Is College for You? in English and Spanish, charts depicting the differences between college and high school, information for college students who are deaf-blind, and more. Take a look at INSTRC’s new collected “Postsecondary Education” resource page.

The page also includes a direct link to the Center on Community Living and Careers’ webpage listing the Indiana transition and postsecondary programs for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, also known as the TPSID programs. You can navigate to the page from the INSTRC Resource Collections page, or visit now at:   

And one last resource. Need authentic assessments for students with a postsecondary education goal? On the INSTRC Transition Matrix you’ll find both the “College Planning Worksheet” and an “On-Campus Visit Reflection” page, where students can document what they discovered after a campus tour.

Pre-ETS Information for Teachers, Continued

Two weeks ago, we sent you Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) information from Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services. The new fact sheet clarifies how VR’s order of selection impacts students who may be receiving Pre-ETS.

With today’s tip, we’re adding a flowchart to the VR fact sheet to help you understand student eligibility for Pre-ETS.

We’ve posted both the “Pre-Employment Transition Services & Order of Selection” fact sheet and the new Pre-ETS flowchart on the INSTRC website. Just search for “Pre-ETS” in the resource search bar.


Pre-ETS and Order of Selection Information for Teachers

Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services has a new information document for teachers. The new fact sheet, "Pre-Employment Transition Services and Order of Selection":

  • lists the activities for Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) mandated through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA 2014);
  • provides you with a link to determine if Pre-ETS is available within your region or school system;
  • defines VR’s order of selection; and
  • clarifies how order of selection impacts some students receiving Pre-ETS.

We’ll post the fact sheet on the INSTRC website. Just search for “Pre-ETS” in the resource search bar.

Coming soon: A flowchart, illustrating the Pre-ETS eligibility process.

Mental Health in Transition

For some students, mental health issues may become more frequent or pronounced during the transition to adulthood years. Lori Desautels, Ph.D. has written extensively on the effects that both the brain and mental health have on learning. Her blog post, "The Adolescent Brain, Leaving Childhood Behind," lists seven guidelines for secondary educators that support emotional and mental health as students transition to adulthood.

  • Model the behaviors we want to see.
  • Tap into the strengths, passions, and expertise of all students.
  • Give students choices and input into developing rules and guidelines.
  • Provide safe and fair boundaries.
  • Teach students about the brain and how it develops during adolescence.
  • Teach them how to calm their stress response system with focused attention and brain breaks involving movement.
  • Show your interest in their lives by learning the traits, norms, and interests of students—music, favorite tech, clothing, goals, etc.

In her post, Desautels expounds on these guidelines and includes links to activities, strategies, and more information. 

More Mental Health Resources

'Oh, the Places You'll Go!'

Accessible transportation provides people with disabilities the ability to experience increased vocational, social, and community opportunities. Understanding various forms of public transportation is crucial to helping students have a full range of choices in different areas of their life.

The National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC) is a great resource for transportation information, with links to trainings, webinars, publications, and even grants and other sources of funding.

Connect2Help 211 provides a list of transportation services for people with disabilities in each county in Indiana.

 And now we can add rideshares, like Uber and Lyft, to the list of transportation options for students and families. The following links provide information and support about rideshare programs for people with disabilities.

Resources for New Transition Teachers

Those of you who visit regularly know that the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center (INSTRC) website contains an ever-growing number of resources compiled just for Indiana transition educators. There are several ways to find what you need on the site. You can use the Resource Search on either the home page or from the drop-down menu under Transition Resources. On the Search page you can hone in on topics or filter by format.

If you’re a new teacher or new to transition, we’ve collected some resources for you. (We’re all about making your life easier!) From the home page, use the drop-down menu beneath the Collected Resources tab.  Select “Professionals New to Transition.”  There you’ll find ten resources, including a checklist for compliant Transition IEPs, examples of Transition IEPs for various students, fact sheets for working with VR, and the presentation “New to Transition: An Introduction to Transition Planning.”  (Note that the INSTRC team is hard at work adding new resources and updating others.  We’ll keep you posted.)

Here’s the direct link to the “Professionals New to Transition” collection:


Project SUCCESS, in partnership with IDOE, is leading the review, revision, and development of alternate academic standards (Content Connectors) and we are seeking a diverse group of stakeholders from across the state to support this work. This process is important to ensure all students, including those with significant disabilities, have access to grade level standards aligned to Indiana Academic Standards.

The first session will be held in Indianapolis on March 12. If you are interested in participating on March 12 or at future sessions, please complete the Indiana Content Connectors application by March 1.

Indiana Deaf and Hard of Hearing Transition Conference

The Indiana Deaf & Hard of Hearing Transition Alliance will hold its annual transition conference next month for students, families, educators, and other supporters.

Prepare for Success—Life After High School
March 19, 2018
Indiana Government Center South

Topics on the agenda include self-advocacy, benefits, Pre-Employment Transition Services, IEP 101, maximizing opportunities, and more. Register now. We’re attaching a flyer and the registration link. Or, go directly to registration: 

To see highlights from last year’s conference, check out the Alliance’s video: 

Department of Education Resources

In the busy-ness of a typical day, it is difficult to find time to look at all of the incredible resources available to us. This week we’re highlighting resources on the Indiana Department of Education’s website. Some have a direct link to Transition, while others link to subjects that affect our daily lives as educators.

Take a minute to locate a new (or not so new) resource to support your work.

We’re often asked about the monitoring rotation for Indicator 13, as well as other performance indicators. The website above takes you to information regarding Continuous Improvement Focused Monitoring and Support. On this site, you will find the monitoring indicators and dates for your district.

The Certificate of Completion (COC) is a much talked about topic in our secondary schools. Make sure you have the most recent information from Dr. Pam Wright, director of the Office of Special Education, IDOE, at   

Presentations available from a September 2017 Charter School training, conducted by the DOE, provide great overviews of some of our most important topics in the field—no matter where you teach. You will find information and presentations from individuals across the state on the following topics:

• Accommodations
• Autism
• Understanding & Addressing Behavior
• Due Process and Discipline
• ESSA & Foster Care
• Key Components in a Compliant Transition IEP
• Helping Students Recovering from Traumatic Events
• Multi-Tiered System of Support
• Section 504
• Title Grants & Support
• And more!

Authentic Assessment Ideas

Are you still trying to figure out how to use transition activities and services and turn them into authentic transition assessments? The Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center (INSTRC) is working on a revised Transition Services and Activities Manual that will be ready this spring. Until then, here are a few ideas (and authentic assessments to go with them). 

You'll find more authentic assessments on the INSTRC Transition Assessment Matrix (

  • You have a student who likes to tinker with cars but is not sure of a career path yet. The student decides to take an automotive class as an elective. There is so much more the student (and you) will learn, beyond the grade they receive. You can use the Elective Class Reflection authentic assessment when a student completes an elective class. Take a few minutes to “de-brief” with your student to see what they learned, what piqued their interest, and/or whether or not this is an area they want to learn more about.
  • You want to use “disability awareness” or “self-advocacy” as a transition service/activity, but you’re not sure how to gauge your student’s level or knowledge or awareness of themselves. Use the IEP/Disability Awareness Checklist as both a pre- and post-assessment. It can help you see where a student currently is, which will help you plan your transition activity or service to increase their self-awareness, and/or you can use it following working on that skill to see what a student has learned.
  • One of your students is planning for college, but the task seems overwhelming for her. There are so many guides, planning workbooks, forms to fill out, tests to take, etc. To help a student gather and sort through college exploration information, have them fill out the College Planning Worksheet. You can use the information the student collects to support an age-appropriate transition assessment at the student’s next case conference.

Congratulations, You're Hired! Now What?

Sometimes, it comes as a bit of a surprise when students discover there’s more to the world of work than just interviews, applications, and getting hired. Thinking through the “what ifs” with students, families, and support staff can help new employees adjust and feel more comfortable on the job.

For instance:

  • What if I need a day off?  Do I text or call and who do I talk to?
  • What happens if I’m late?
  • How do I get to and from my job?
  • How do I find out my schedule?
  • Where do I eat lunch? If I bring my lunch, is there a refrigerator I should keep it in?
  • If they have a party at work, how many pieces of cake can I eat?
  • If I need to wear a uniform, how do I keep it clean?
  • What if I need a break while I’m working?
  • Is there someone at work who can answer my questions?

The website has an easy-read article that could be used as a resource for students and parents at career days or transition fairs.  Read and share “12 Steps for Easing the Transition to Work.”


Project SUCCESS needs your input! Please complete this short survey to help us determine the current needs for information and professional development related to the Certificate of Completion.  The survey will be open until February 9. Thanks!

Accommodations for Mental Health Impairments

Identifying and providing work experiences for students with mental health impairments opens up lots of questions:

  • Are mental health impairments considered disabilities under the ADA?
  • Can and will employers provide workplace accommodations?
  • Should students disclose their conditions to their employers? What’s appropriate?

Mental health can and should be regarded in the same way as physical health by employers and colleagues. One of the ways we can ensure this happens is by educating ourselves on mental health and empowering our students to be self-advocates.

The federal Job Accommodation Network’s (JAN’s) Accommodation and Compliance Series is designed to help employers determine effective accommodations and comply with Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Each publication in the series addresses a specific medical condition and provides information about the condition, ADA information, accommodation ideas, and resources for additional information.  

Planning a Postsecondary Education Path

We have two postsecondary education planning resources that you can use with your students who are looking toward college.
Big Future: This College Board website allows students to set up an account to assist in creating their college path online. There are a variety of student-centered resources available, including student profiles, parent information, career exploration, and a college locator. There are also resources for applying for entrance, entrance testing, and interviewing.

For your college-bound students, this would be an excellent on-going transition service/activity as they progress through the exploration and application process for postsecondary education. Note that the College Board also has a direct link in the footer of their website to services and accommodations for students with disabilities.
College Scorecard: This Department of Education site provides up-to-date, comprehensive, and reliable information on colleges. The site provides a step-by-step guide for students, families, and educators. Students can sort and filter search results to compare schools based on a variety of factors (cost, programs, location, and financial support). Check it out and see if this easy-to-navigate site could benefit some of your students.

A Peak Behind the Curtain

Welcome back and happy 2018, teachers!

By now, most of you are fairly well acquainted with the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center (INSTRC) team. In addition to bringing you “Tuesday’s Transition Tips” each week, we also:

  • develop professional development trainings and materials for transition educators and administrators,
  • consult with you in your schools around the state,
  • monitor Transition IEPs and provide coaching to improve your IEP skills,
  • facilitate the work of the regional Cadres of Transition Leaders,
  • bring Cadre teams together at an annual meeting in the spring,
  • and much more.

But you might not know that INSTRC is part of a bigger team. We’re a project of the Center on Community Living and Careers (CCLC), which is one of six centers focused on disability opportunities and issues at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University. CCLC’s mission is to “promote partnerships between schools and support organizations to bring about positive changes in the lives of individuals and families as they live, work, and participate in their communities.”

Our CCLC compadres work closely with Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services. They:

  • consult with community rehabilitation providers around the state;
  • report on employment and community inclusion trends; and
  • provide trainings on benefits, job development, systems and services, and more for community rehabilitation providers, employment specialists, and VR counselors.

Want more information on what CCLC is doing? Take a look at our CCLC project list, or tour the CCLC website.  
And a quick reminder:
Are you a district/cooperative receiving Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS)? If so, INSTRC is looking for your stories. Please let us know if you have a Pre-ETS activity, service, or plan that is working exceptionally well. We are gathering “things that are working” relating to Pre-ETS planning, collaboration, and/or services. If you would like to share, please email Mary Held at If you could get this information to us by January 15, we would so appreciate it!

Share Your Pre-ETS Successes

Are you a district/cooperative receiving Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS)?  If so, INSTRC is looking for your stories. Please let us know if you have a Pre-ETS activity, service, or plan that is working exceptionally well. We are gathering “things that are working” relating to Pre-ETS planning, collaboration, and/or services. If you would like to share, please email Mary Held at  If you could get this information to us by January 15, we would so appreciate it!


And finally, take a break!! Have dinner with family and friends, go for a hike in the woods, curl up on the couch with a hot chocolate and Rover or Whiskers, read A Visit from St. Nicholas to little ones, sing carols with the choir, and most of all, appreciate and enjoy the season!  From all of us to all of you, peace and joy!

Happy Holidays!

National Technical Assistance Center on Transition

Do you have the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) in your toolbox? NO, you say?! Then Merry Christmas…a gift of a plethora of resources for the field of transition.

NTACT is dedicated to supporting states and LEAs in implementing evidence-based and promising practices to ensure students leave high school prepared for success in the postsecondary world. They provide up-to-date information and resources to support our work with our secondary students.

Just a few of the assets you will find on the NTACT site:
• Resources (including lesson plans) for quality transition planning
• Effective practices in the areas of employment, education/training, and independent living
• Practices to reduce dropouts and increase graduation rates
• Guidance to predict post-school success
• Webinars, both live and archived

Give yourself a gift this year. Check out the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition at: 

Order of Selection Update

Throughout the course of the current school year, there has been a great deal of discussion around Vocational Rehabilitation Services and its implementation of order of selection this year. At our fall trainings, we distributed a list of Frequently Asked Questions. That document was recently revised (10-17), and we wanted you to have the most up-to-date resource as you share information with students and their families. Please access this link for current information:

Still have questions? Find your local VRS office on the Regional Map, here: 

Want even more information? Watch this podcast created by ARC of Indiana: 

The Transition Process: Updates for 2017

As a follow up to the six regional trainings we presented on The Transition IEP: Ensuring a Quality, Compliant, and Student-Focused Process, this week we’re providing you with several resources and a recording of the webinar from October 4, 2017.

We’ve put the video of the webinar on our INSTRC Training page along with:

  • A pdf of the accompanying PowerPoint presentation
  • Examples of transition assessments, transition services and activities, and skill-based annual goals
  • Additional resources, including a link to the DOE’s page on upcoming changes to the Certificate of Completion.

You can find them all on our website at:  
If you have additional questions about any of the topics mentioned in the trainings or during the webinar, please email Joni Schmalzried at

We're Grateful

…for all of you! 

You put in long hours at school, after school, and on the weekends. You make connections. You create new pathways. You encourage, you coach, you cheerlead. And you invest in your students and families. We know what it takes to pave a smoother transition road—and we understand what we ask of you to make it happen. 

It’s been gratifying, as we traveled throughout the state this fall meeting many of our transition colleagues, to hear your stories of challenge, progress, hope, and success. You do good work, and we appreciate it!

To all of our transition teachers and professionals, have a joyous, warm, and family- and friend-filled Thanksgiving!  And an extra slice of pumpkin pie—just because you deserve it!

More Career Videos

We discovered another website for your students who are exploring careers. This one, on a site called Dr. Kit, contains more than 300 video interviews with employees working in a wide variety of fields, from animal care specialists to wine educators.

In each interview, employees discuss a typical day on the job, the types of environments they work in, what they like most and least about their jobs, and the type of education and preparation someone new to the career should have. K9 police officer Bruce explains how he cares for his dog, sleep technician Mia talks about the challenges of working a night shift, and pro football player Terrell explains the need to sacrifice body, family, and time in order to be a professional athlete. Preview the many videos here:  

Our INSTRC website resources now include several different websites that feature career videos. As a result, we’ve added a Career Videos page to our Resource Collections on INSTRC.  Click the link here, or use the Resource Collections tab at the top of the INSTRC site and select Career Videos from the dropdown menu.

Under Construction

It has come to our attention that there are a few Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center (INSTRC) resources floating out there that do not reflect changes or current practices. As things have changed, we continue to work to review, revise, and/or revisit our materials to make sure that information is accurate and current.

SO…if you are using older copies of the following resources, please discontinue using them as primary guiding documents for your work. We are in the process of updating each of the listed resources and will let you know as soon as we have them revised and they're ready to go. THANK YOU!

  • IEP Rubric (goal statements do not meet current state guidance)
  • Transition Services: Definitions and Examples (many parts still relevant; revision coming soon)
  • Indiana Diploma Decisions (being updated to reflect new Certificate of Completion guidance)

An Opportunity for Transition Expansion and Funding

Indiana special education directors and superintendents recently received a Request for Information from the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS) regarding Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS)) for students with disabilities who are between 14 and 22 years old and who are eligible or potentially eligible for vocational rehabilitation services.

Through this request, the state is hoping to learn more about the provision of existing transition activities and services that “could be enhanced or aligned with Pre-ETS,” as well as new transition strategies that could be put in place for students with disabilities. Core Pre-ETS services are:

  • job exploration counseling;
  • work-based learning experiences;
  • counseling on postsecondary education or comprehensive transition opportunities;
  • workplace readiness training to develop social skills and independent living; and
  • instruction in self-advocacy.

The deadline for submitting an application is November 21, 2017. For more information, see RFI-18-28   
DDRS is specifically looking for collaborative services that may already in place or that could be implemented within the 33 counties where Pre-ETS are not currently available. For a list of those counties, use the link above and scroll to Attachment B Priority Counties.
Need more information about Pre-ETS? Watch the new podcast from Michelle Fisher at the Arc of Indiana: 

More Certificate of Completion and Diploma Resources

The Indiana Department of Education recently distributed a memo to clarify some of the questions surrounding diplomas and the Certificate of Completion. The memo contains links to sections of the Indiana Code that pertain to diploma requirements and the certificate.

Here’s the link to the memo: 

Regarding diplomas, the memo specifies, “Currently, students have the option of earning one of four diploma types: General, Core 40, Core 40 with Academic Honors, or Core 40 with Technical Honors.” For quick reference, here’s the link to the IDOE webpage on diploma and certificate requirements:  In addition, the memo cites Indiana Code regarding “opt out” procedures and requirements for students graduating with a General Diploma and alternatives for students who did not pass the graduation examination, but who still may be able to earn a diploma.

Regarding certificates, the memo also clarifies the differences between a certificate of completion and a diploma. New Certificate of Completion guidelines, now in development, “would require students to complete some combination of credits and applied units, equaling a total of 40, with an emphasis on academics and job readiness.”

Engaging Students in Their Mental Health Plans

Researchers at Portland State University recently tested a new intervention, known as Achieve My Plan! for students with serious mental health conditions. The intervention uses “brief self-advocacy coaching” techniques to involve young people in their wraparound planning meetings.
As a part of their work, the Portland State team developed several resources to help young people and their team members collaborate more meaningfully. Publications and tip sheets, which may be helpful to students as they learn to participate in their IEP meetings, include:

• “During Meetings, I Can’t Stand It When…,” a guide for facilitators and team members;
• “Tips for Your Team Meetings,” a guide for youth;
• “Youth Participation in Planning: Why It Matters,” a video of interviews with youth describing what it feels like not to have a say in their own treatment.

Find these resources and more on the Achieve My Plan website.

Certificate of Completion Resources

In a continuing effort to provide updates and answer questions regarding the Certificate of Completion, the Indiana Department of Education has released new information and resources. They include:

  • Changes to the course of study for earning a Certificate of Completion in 2017-18;
  • A presentation to counselors, which outlines the changes, explains the connection to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, and discusses next steps;
  • A sample plan for a student.

Use this link to review and download the DOE’s Certificate of Completion resources: 

Quick Links to Requested Resources

At our Regional IEP Transition Trainings this month, we’ve been asking what you need most. The top three resources transition teachers have said they want at their fingertips are:

The Transition Assessment Matrix –a link to the search tool that helps you find the right assessment for your student, based on domain (employment, independent living, or education/training), grade level, and/or disability.

Is College for You? and ¿Es la universidad para ti? –updated versions of the popular book from the Center on Community Living and Careers at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community. (Available online or in hard copy within Indiana.)

Transition IEP Checklist: Compliant & Quality Components –a complete list of the recent mini-series presentations from the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center.

And in case you misplace this email or forget the links to any of the above, just remember That’s our website, which has easy search tools and if you scroll down to the bottom of the homepage, you'll find a list of quick links to many of our most popular resources.

Want more? Like us on Facebook! Just search for “Center on Community Living and Careers.” (ICYMI: Two weeks ago, we shared a post from Pathways2Success and a middle school teacher who wrote about “10 Ways to Involve Young Adults in their IEP Meetings.”)

Involving Hispanic Families in Transition

A new video points out the importance of reaching out to Hispanic families to involve them in transition planning. The video, based on research done at the Beach Center on Disability at the University of Kansas between 2013 and 2016, offers transition educators and professionals some great suggestions on what to do and not to do when talking with Hispanic families about their transitioning students.

A little side note: The researcher working with the Beach Center was Judith Gross, Ph.D., who is now the new director of the Center on Community Living and Careers and our own Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center!
Watch Dr. Gross’ and the Beach Center’s “Transition to Employment.” (The video is listed here on the INSTRC website as a Resource too, so you can always find it using our Resource Search tools!)

Aligning Standards with Transition Skills

You now have a guide to help you align academic and career standards with transition skills! Examples featured in this 38-page document pair activities and transition goals with a variety of standards, and they’re appropriate for a wide range of students.

Armed with College and Career Readiness Standards and Research-Identified Transition Skills, published by the Council of Chief State School Officers, you’ll have a resource with multiple ideas for teaching academic goals and transition skills at the same time.

Click on the link to get started!

Review Your Components

Getting ready to start transition conferences? Need a quick brush up on the components of the Transition IEP? New to transition? If any of these apply to you (or even if they don’t), please check out the: 2017 Transition IEP Checklist: Compliant and Quality Components Series.

Staff of the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center developed this multi-part series for last spring’s Tuesday’s Transition Tips for Teachers. Each week we featured one question from the Indiana Transition Requirements Checklist and provided an explanation and example of what you need to do to meet compliance for that particular transition component.

1. Student Invite
2. Transition Assessment
3. Authentic Transition Assessment
4. Postsecondary Goals (#2 on checklist)
5. Postsecondary Goals Updated Annually
6. Measurable Annual Goals
7. Transition Services
8. Outside Agency Providing Transition Services
9. Course of Study

The complete series is now on the INSTRC website. Search for it by “Transition IEP Checklist” or click here:


Transition IEP Regional Trainings begin this week. For those of you not able to attend any of the seven trainings offered around the state, you can connect with us via webinar on October 4th, from 9-10:30 a.m., Eastern Time. (And, yes, we will record this one!) The webinar will contain information from the general sessions of the regional trainings, but will not include the breakout session presentations or discussions from the face-to-face trainings. The October 4 webinar is free, and registration is not required. For the link and more information, see the 2017 Transition IEP Regional Trainings flyer, here.

How Order of Selection May Impact Your Students

Change is the only constant in life.

This truly could be the motto of special education itself. We experience shifts in philosophy. We watch as policy makers reshape systems. We see rules and regulations come and go. Meanwhile, as always in special education, we remain flexible and focused on the needs of our students.

This summer Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services began order of selection, a triage-like system of determining which applicants for VR services will receive supports. It is important that we understand order of selection so we can better explain it to both families and students who are looking toward postsecondary supports.

FAQs from the Indiana Bureau of Rehabilitation Services may answer many of the questions and concerns of applicants, families, and educators. Please take a few moments to review it. We are all working together to continue to provide the best services for the individuals we serve.

Stay tuned for more information as the state continues to work through this process. We’ll also talk more about order of selection next month during our 2017 Regional Transition IEP Trainings and during the October 4th webinar (for those of you who can’t be with us at a regional training). Things to know: we will record the October 4th webinar. The Huntington and Indianapolis a.m. sessions are already full. Need more information? 2017 Regional Transition IEP and Webinar information flyer

Indiana's Cadres of Transition Leaders

In 2011, Indiana formed seven regional cadres of leaders in the field of transition to build capacity across the state and address regional secondary transition needs. Cadre members meet regularly (typically once a month or every other month) to discuss, plan, learn, and provide supports. Many cadres work on products to support their regions and the state. Some examples of Cadre-driven work include the Transition Assessment Matrix; Case Conference Cue Card; parent information brochures; and videos to support teachers, students, and families.

Each year brings new ideas and new challenges that Cadre members work on through a team approach. Each Cadre has one or two facilitators, along with a support person from the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center team. The Cadres of Transition Leaders are also supported by the Indiana Department of Education.

Interested in joining a Cadre? We hope you are! Not sure which Cadre your school district is in? You can find a map of Cadre boundaries and a listing of currently participating districts on the following website:

Once you have located your Cadre, please email one of the facilitators below to learn more about meeting dates and activities.

• Northwest Cadre: Kathy Klimek:  
• Northeast Cadre: Ryan Thompson:  and Lindsay Wolf:  
• North Central Cadre: Steve Dollahan:  and Tonya Grimm:  
• East Cadre: Amy Everhart:  
• Central Cadre: Kellie Freeman:  and Chrissy Pogue: 
• Southwest Cadre: Kara Hoffman: 
• Southeast Cadre: Wendy Ritz: 


One more thing! Due to high demand, we’ve added another Indianapolis training to our 2017 Regional IEP Training Schedule. We’ve updated the registration flyer, accordingly. Make sure to register now if you plan to attend a regional training. If you can’t do a face-to-face training this year, there’s also a webinar option on October 4. See the flyer for more information.

Join Us for Regional Transition IEP Trainings

Welcome back, transition educators!

Your Tuesday’s Transition Tips team—the staff of the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center—is ready to supply you with resources and words of wisdom for another academic year. Each Tuesday you’ll find tips on strategies and tools you can use in your classrooms, links to Short Shares from Indiana’s Office of Special Education, and invaluable (but brief!) trainings developed by INSTRC staff on new developments in the transition field.

First up: 2017 Regional Transition IEP Trainings

This September, INSTRC staff will once again travel the state to meet with administrators and teachers and to talk with you about:
• updates on legislation affecting transition,
• changes to the Transition IEP process,
• update on the status of the Certificate of Completion
• new rules and programs affecting how schools, students, and families could interact with Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services, and more.

There will be breakout sessions this year for teachers who are new to the field and for transition veterans.  Here's a tentative agenda

To see dates and locations and to register for “The Transition IEP Ensuring a Quality, Compliant, and Student-Focused Process,” see the registration flyer. Space is limited, so register today!

For those teachers or districts that can’t attend a face-to-face training, INSTRC will also host an online webinar version of the trainings on October 4th. To join us then, just click on the link: (We promise to send you a reminder before the webinar!)

Certificate of Completion

The Indiana Department of Special Education, and a group of statewide stakeholders, has been working on the Indiana Certificate of Completion for the past year. The Office of Special Education has recently shared a DRAFT Certificate of Completion and would like additional stakeholder review and input.

Click here to see a copy of the Draft Certificate of Completion. Please take time to review this document, then go to the survey link below to provide your feedback/input. This is a critical element for our schools and teachers; your feedback is critical as the group moves forward with next steps.

Certificate of Completion Feedback

Starting to Plan for Next Year's Transition Based Instruction?

Our colleagues at the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) have identified several effective predictors and practices to teach students skills associated with post-school success. As you plan for next year, please check out the link below. When you locate a predictor you are interested in, it will direct you to more information describing the predictor, the level of evidence that is available, characteristics of the skill, and resources to support you.

On the NTACT Predictors of Post-School Success page, you will not only find a list of those predictors but a self-assessment form and evidence-based practices that align to each postsecondary predictor. 


This week we bring you a Short Share video from the DOE’s Office of Special Education focusing on assessment. Formative and summative assessment systems are essential to improving student learning and school capacity. Assessment provides essential data to monitor academic, behavioral, and social/emotional learning and inform meaningful action.

Please click here to view Short Share #10 (Assessment):

The Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center is continually updating the Transition Assessment Matrix with new assessments that will assist you in gathering information to improve postsecondary outcomes. 

To gather more information on the transition assessment process, The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) has published a document titled “Age Appropriate Transition Assessment Toolkit.” 

Understanding Pre-Employment Transition Services

During the 2016-17 school year, you have probably heard the term “Pre-ETS” many times. But what are these Pre-Employment Transition Services? You probably know that Pre-ETS involves Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services and stems from amendments to the Rehabilitation Act in the 2014 Workforce Innovations Opportunity Act (WIOA). But…Will your district be involved? What does it mean for you as a teacher and for your students in transition? What are the five core Pre-ETS services?

We have answers for you.

Today's tip includes links to two documents. The first is a two-page basic overview of what Pre-Employment Transition Services are, and how they are supported. The second is a listing of providers, counties, and school districts currently working with Pre-ETS funding to give Indiana students access to meaningful career planning.

Pre-Employment Transition Services: Information Basics

Pre-Employment Transition Services: List of Indiana Providers, Counties, and Schools

Designing, Delivering, and Evaluating Instruction

This week we bring you another Short Share video from the DOE’s Office of Special Education. This short share will continue to clarify the components that lead to improved outcomes by focusing on instruction. It discusses facilitating knowledge in a systemic way by breaking down instruction into three components: designing, delivering, and evaluation.

Click on the link to view Short Share #9:  

To learn more about instruction within a transition-focused approach, visit the Resource Collections page of the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center website at There, you will find information on Writing Quality IEPs. As an Indiana transition teacher or professional, you know that your students deserve a compliant IEP—one that meets federal and state requirements. But a transition IEP must also be individualized to reflect a student’s needs and interests, and it should help them seamlessly and successfully transition to a life where they have opportunities to achieve their goals. INSTRC staff have compiled examples, tutorials, and other resources on the website to help you write quality IEPs for each of your students.

Increasing Collaboration through a Unified System of Education

This week we bring you another Short Share video from the DOE's Office of Special Education. This one focuses on a unified system of education to develop shared ownership and responsibility among special education and general education teachers and administrators. Featuring Sandi Cole, director of the Center on Education and Lifelong Learning at Indiana University's Indiana Institute on Disability and Community (one of our sister centers!), this Short Share provides a list of the characteristics of collaboration and describes the outcomes from a unified system that supports all learners.

Click on the link to view Short Share #8:

To learn more about increasing collaboration within a transition-focused approach visit the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center website at Within the Cadres of Transition Leaders/Cadre Products section, you will find a General Education Teacher Survey. This survey assists in facilitating collaboration between special education teachers and general education teachers by identifying transition assessments and activities that are already occurring in the general education setting.

Health and Transition

The PACER Center’s National Parent Center on Transition and Employment has a wealth of resources about transition. This month their newsletter Inspiring Possibilities focuses on health and transition. A health care Transition Planning tool is included as are ideas for how to write health-related IEP goals and ideas for teaching self-advocacy and self-management for health care. Click on the link to learn more.

Want more health care information pertaining to secondary students with disabilities? Take a look at the resources compiled on the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center’s Health Resource Collections page:

New Recordkeeping Resources

As we travel around the state, we take note of resources you ask for or that could help you best serve your students. One area of discussion is how to gather better information for students who may be working on a Certificate of Completion and are participating in outside community and/or work experiences.

Here are a few (fillable) inventories that we hope will be useful in those situations. We're linking to them below, but they'll also be located on the Transition Assessment Matrix: 

  • Community Summary Log:  Use this as an ongoing record of where students have worked in the community. It is perfect for resume building and is a great resource to pass along to adult service providers. It also allows you to make notes about the student’s likes/dislikes of the placement.
  • Volunteer Summary Log:  Similar to the Community Summary Log, this provides a place to keep a running track record of volunteer experiences.
  • Work Skills:  This checklist addresses some of the basic, but important skills needed for employment. Students can determine, with your support as needed, whether or not they are able to do the skill by themselves, with help, or if it is a skill they would like to learn.
  • How Do I Advocate for Myself? This four-question inventory allows you to gather basic knowledge regarding how a student interacts with others, makes decisions, and informs other of their needs.