Special Education Transition Plans from Middle School to High School

Instructor: Lori Sturdivant

Lori has a specialist's degree in Instructional Leadership/Mild Moderate and currently serves as the Lead Teacher for The University of Southern Mississippi's Autism Project.

This lesson will help you plan the transition from middle school to high school for your students with special needs. You'll explore the components that are required in the transition plan, then you can test your knowledge of transition with a short quiz.

What is a Transition Plan?

A transition plan is a required component of the Individual Education Program (IEP) that should begin around age 14-16; the exact age varies in some states. However, middle schoolers can begin transitioning to high school as early as 13, so you should begin your own transition plan during their last year of middle school no matter what age the student is. The transition plan team at a minimum should consist of input from the following people:

  • Current Middle School Teacher(s)
  • Future High School Teacher(s)
  • Student
  • Parent(s) or Guardian(s)
  • Administrator(s)
  • Guidance Counselor(s)
  • Other Specialist(s)

The transition plan should provide a detailed plan to help the student transition from middle school to high school and then to postsecondary activities.

Transition Domain Components

The following areas are important components of the transition plan. Let's discuss each of these criteria to help you design an appropriate and realistic plan for your student.

Postsecondary Goals

Postsecondary goals are goals that the student has expressed interest in upon exiting high school. The goals should focus on training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills. These goals must be addressed in the middle school to high school transition as they will affect the academic classes, electives, and leisure activities the transition team selects.

Transition Services

Transition services are activities and services that prepare students for meeting their postsecondary goals you selected. The IEP team must consider services that are based on student needs, student preferences, and student strengths.

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