Overview of Transition Planning

  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that mandates that transition planning occur for students in special education.  IDEA defines transition services as a coordinated set of activities for a child that promotes movement from school to post-school activities.  The “coordinated set of activities” are individualized to the students’ needs, strengths, preferences, and interests.

    Transition planning supports the development of a post-secondary vision for students. Transition planning is a collaborative effort that involves students, families, school staff, and other important community members. The transition planning process revolves around the student’s vision for the future and identifies his or her preferences, interests, and strengths to develop a plan for the transition out of high school.

    In Massachusetts, the transition planning process for students in special education begins no later than age 14. By age 14, students must be invited to their annual Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings, the development of a Transition Planning Form (TPF) must occur, and the post-secondary (after high school) vision statement must be based on the student’s preferences and interests, indicating this or her desired outcomes in adult living, post-secondary, and working environments.

     Massachusetts Student Driven Secondary Transition Model

    Students must be involved in the transition planning process so the team can best understand their perspectives and preferences. The more involved students are in the transition planning process, the more successful students are. Self-determination involves students taking an active role in their lives and utilizing goal-setting, problem-solving, decision-making, and finding their own voice. The student’s voice and vision are essential for the transition planning process to be successful.

    Transition planning supports students to create a vision and plan for their future.  Transition planning promotes collaboration between families, the school, & the community in developing and implementing an appropriate, meaningful, and smooth transition to adult life for the student.

    The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) provides extensive information on the secondary transition process online at http://www.doe.mass.edu/sped/secondary-transition/. Technical Assistance Advisories, training materials, copies of state mandated forms, including the Transition Planning Form (TPF), and links to additional resources can be found via the link above.

    DESE supported brochures on the Secondary Transition Planning Process, Self-Determination, Transition Assessment, and Age of Majority can be found at https://fcsn.org/linkcenter/getting-started/transition-brochures/.  


    Click the link below to download a blank copy of the TPF!

    Blank TPF

NPS Transition Planning

  • When and where does transition planning occur in Newton Public Schools?

    Team discussions regarding transition planning will take place at a student's IEP meeting & action steps are documented on the Transition Planning Form (TPF).  All aspects of a student's IEP are considered part of the transition planning process.

    The TPF includes an action plan that is like a "To Do" list of transition activities (i.e. Parent/guardian will introduce student to traveling on the MBTA bus, student will participate in a club/activity, school staff will discuss post-secondary options with student).

    Prior to Age 14

    • Ask students to complete chores at home, assign responsibilities
    • Support the development of decision making
    • Explore interests, discuss future plans
    • Demonstrate problem solving strategies
    • Describe your likes/dislikes in and out of school
    • Identify who helps you at school
    • Engage in extra curricular activities

    Age 14

    • By age 14, the student must be invited to his/her IEP meeting & a TPF must be developed
    • Encourage the student to participate; the student can start by writing a letter to the team, doing a presentation, or staying for part of the meeting
    • Continue the development of skills that were initiated prior to age 14

    Ages 16-18

    • School files a chapter 688 referral to adult agency, as appropriate
    • Adult agency determines student eligibility for services, family must complete eligibility process
    • Explore higher education options, identify needed supports

    Age 17

    • Student and family are notified about age of majority/transfer of rights
    • If applicable, explore/consider guardianship options
    • Complete re-determination process for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

    Age 18

    • Age of majority takes effect-student makes educational decisions unless he or she has selected to share decision-making with parent/guardian or parent/guardian has guardianship
    • If student has decision-making authority, student’s signature is required on all educational documents
    • If student is completing traditional 4 years of high school, student accepts diploma or certificate, Summary of Performance is completed

    Age 21

    • Coordinate meeting between school, family, and receiving agency to discuss transition at age 22

    Age 22

    • Special education services end, transition from school to adult services is complete
    • Summary of Performance is completed

    2 years before Graduation or turning 22

    • If applicable, a Chapter 688 referral or direct referral is made to the appropriate adult agency
      • Chapter 688 is a law that focuses on connecting students with severe disabilities with appropriate adult supports. To receive adult supports, student must be found eligible for services by the adult agency
      • Link to additional 688 information
Transition Planning umbrella