What Are Transition IEP Components for 9th Grade – Post-High?
What is the Transition IEP?
Transition Services and Planning began as one of many ideas for increasing the quality of life for young adults with disabilities. The purpose of the Transition IEP is to consider the postsecondary goals and Transition Services needed for the student. Post-secondary goals are measurable outcomes that occur after the student leaves the school system. Where do you see yourself/your student in 5 years? 10 years? The Transition IEP is a roadmap to help the students get where they want to be and what they want their life to look like when they leave public education. In their Transition IEP plan, they can:
- Set measurable goals for after high school
- Study areas in high school/post-high that help you meet those goals and needs
What About Goals?
Goals should be focused on improving the academic and functional abilities of the student with a disability. Post-school activities might include: post-secondary education (including vocational education), integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing an adult education, adult services, independent living, and community participation.
Measurable postsecondary goals are outcomes that occur after the person has left the public school system (after high school or “post-high”). The goals tell what the student will do (what they will be enrolled in, attending, working, etc.)
- Goals can be broader to begin with and then refined and updated with each annual IEP as the student progresses.
- Sometimes goals in education and employment can be combined.
Because employment is a distinct activity from the areas related to training and education, each student’s IEP must include a separate postsecondary goal in the area of employment
- Sometimes multiple goals are needed in one area. The important thing is that it is individualized and meets the student’s needs.
What are Transition Services?
Transition Services in education refers to a coordinated set of activities that the IEP team, along with outside agencies, the school, and you–the self-advocate–all use to work towards a common set of goals.
The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) states that Transition Services must be contained within the Transition IEP, and are aligned with each postsecondary goal. The Transition Services occur during the current IEP year and are designed to support a student in developing their postsecondary goals upon exiting high school.
If appropriate, a postsecondary goal should be included for employment, education/training, and independent living skills, along with the transition services to support those goals.
- Employment: Competitive integrated employment, including: supported employment, customized employment, military service, self-employment, or a family business.
- Education/Training: Four-year college/university, technical college, two-year college, military, church mission, vocational training program, apprenticeship, internship (paid or unpaid), and on-the-job training.
- Independent Living Skills: Daily living skills, financial, transportation, recreation/leisure, maintaining the home, community participation, self-advocacy, self-determination, social skills, interpersonal skills, and assistive technology training.
How Are SMART Goals Used in the IEP?
Using the SMART goal framework in IEPs helps ensure that students receive appropriate and effective support tailored to their individual needs. It also provides a basis for tracking progress and adjusting the educational plan as necessary to help the student succeed academically and developmentally. SMART goals help make sure that the student’s educational objectives are clear, achievable, and measurable. Here’s how SMART goals are applied in an IEP:
Specific- In the IEP, goals should be super clear about what the student needs to do. For example, instead of a vague goal like “improve reading skills,” a specific goal might be “read aloud a paragraph from a grade-level book without stumbling on more than two words.”
Measurable-The goal should have action steps that you can mark off when done. IEP goals should be things we can count or measure to see how well the student is doing. This means setting up specific benchmarks to know if the goal is achieved. For instance, a measurable goal could be “correctly solve math problems involving addition and subtraction of two-digit numbers with 80% accuracy.”
Achievable- The goal should be a goal that the student can achieve. It should be something that pushes the student’s expectations, but is also something that the student is capable of doing. For example, setting a goal that a student with severe dyslexia will read at a college level within a year might not be achievable.
Realistic/Relevant- Goals in the IEP should match what the student really needs and align with progress in the Common Core standards. The goals should make sense for the student’s particular challenges and learning style. For instance, a goal targeting improvement in speech articulation might be relevant for a student with speech difficulties.
Time Bound- Every goal in the IEP should have a time limit for when it should be done. This helps ensure things keep moving and that progress can be seen. For instance, a goal could be “write a coherent paragraph with proper grammar and punctuation within six months.”
Student-Led IEP Meetings
IEP meetings are great practice for the future, and provide opportunities for practicing leadership. We all learn through practice. Every chance an individual gets to be involved in discussions about their life and future gives them practice, so they are able to direct more and more of the conversations regarding their future. The school can assess a student’s self-advocacy levels and give them chances to practice, teaching them how to advocate for themselves. The team’s job is to support students and their vision of life after school. Here are some ideas to support a student in preparing and leading their own IEPs:
- Make a poster,
- Create a slideshow, or
- Open the meeting by discussing themselves
Studies have shown that student-directed IEPs are associated with:
- Higher academic achievement
- Better communication skills
- Stronger motivation for students with disabilities to achieve
- Students who actively participate during their IEP meetings are more likely to be employed and/or enrolled in higher education after graduation
The goal is for students, teachers, and parents to come up with clever ways for students to learn about themselves and what they need. Allow students to make their own goals and help them figure out how to reach them. Encourage youth to participate, and empower these students to use their voice, whatever that voice looks like. Allow them to make decisions and mistakes, and continue to have high expectations for them.
For more information on Transition IEPs, Post-High, Graduation Options, tracking credits and the rigor of classes, the ending of F.A.P.E., and so much more, refer to the UPC’s Transition University Youth Workbook, the YELLOW section. Or, call the UPC and ask to speak with our Transition Specialist or the Parent Consultant in your district.