Contact Person: Ann Long
In order to prepare youth with disabilities for the challenges and expectations that await them upon graduation from high school, effective transition programming is vital. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA (2004) mandates that transition planning address all areas related to successful entry and participation in adult life and begin once a student turns sixteen years of age. Best practices acknowledge that transition planning should begin early. Thus, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) states that transition planning should begin no later than the first individualized education program (IEP) to be in effect when the student is fourteen and must include measurable goals and objectives related to postsecondary education, training, employment, and as appropriate, independent living skills.
The What Works Transition Research Synthesis Project, funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in 2002, reviewed and synthesized the past 20 years of research and advancements in the area of transition for youth with disabilities. The National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center, also funded through OSEP, identified evidence-based practices in secondary transition. Practices identified by both projects involve student-focused planning; specific skill development; family involvement; program structure including the provision of community-based instruction and extension of services beyond secondary school; and interagency collaboration.
Career and Transition Services (CTS) provides a range of student focused, coordinated activities and supports including career assessment; interdisciplinary and collaborative instruction related to career/technical education; parent/family involvement; as well as interagency and community partnerships. Through these coordinated efforts, CTS helps students with a range of disabilities develop essential skills for further education and training, employment, self-determination, and independent living.
CTS follow evidence-based practices by offering:
- Career and transition assessment
- Centrally based transition support to:
- Identify research-based practices for the development, implementation, and evaluation of career and transition services for students with disabilities
- Enhance curriculum and instruction in Work Awareness and Transition (WAT) classes, Office and Technology Procedures (OTP) classes, Davis and Pulley Career Centers and the Secondary Transition to Employment Programs (STEP) at Chantilly and South Lakes High Schools
- Provide professional development and training opportunities to school staff, students and families related to current transition trends and education policy
- Collect, analyze, and report data to address transition related targets for the Virginia Department of Education's State Performance Plan
- Provide assistive technology support in classroom and community based environments
3. School based transition support to:
- Facilitate effective transition planning for students through Employment and Transition Representatives (ETRs)
- Provide counseling, guidance, and instruction in goal development, self advocacy, disability rights and postsecondary options through ETRs
- Promote performance in the Career Academies though Academy Support Services
- Develop community based training and work experiences through ETRs
- Provide job coaching services to students participating in work experiences in the business community
- Create linkages to secondary and postsecondary services through ETRs
4. Transition related instruction though all program components in:
- Career exploration and work awareness
- Self advocacy and self determination skills
- Social skills and communication
- Employability and life skills
- Functional literacy skills
In addition, formal cooperative agreements with the Department of Rehabilitative Services (DRS) and the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board have been in place for over 20 years, resulting in a seamless transition for graduating students who are eligible for and require adult service supports. This long standing collaborative relationship has served as a model, not only across the state but nationwide as well.
CTS supports the Portrait of a Graduate and the following School Board’s Student Achievement Goals:
- All students will demonstrate the aptitude, attitude, and skills to lead responsible, fulfilling, and respectful lives.
- All students will understand and model the important attributes that people must have to contribute to an effective and productive community and the common good of all.
The budget for Career and Transition Services can be found on page 73 of the FY 2015 Program Budget at: http://www.fcps.edu/fs/budget/documents/approved/FY15/ProgramBudgetFY15.pdf
For further information about Career and Transition Services, please refer to: http://www.fcps.edu/is/careertransition/index.shtml