Developing the School Transition Plan and IEP Requirements

[ Pause ]>>We’re here today to talk about the IEP
process and how we us parents can participate in that process to how far students with
disabilities have a smoother transition. First of all, I’d like to talk about 2
or 3 of the laws that impact transition. We talked in another module
about some of the laws that affect our student in their adult lives. But there are three laws that specifically
impact students file in their school. And the first and the most
important one is Individual with Disabilities Education Improvement Act,
or idea of 2004 was most recent reauthorization of this law the time we’re making this video. And this law give us parents the right to be
equal members of the IEP team and to participate in making decisions about
their children’s education. You as parents who want to
learn all you can about this law and at the Utah Parent Center,
we do have a booklet. Parents as partners as in the IEP process
which can be downloaded from our website. And as we go through the IEP process and
transition today, I won’t be going overall of the basic parts of the law that we’re
covered in our modules on IEP process. So, I will be speaking today more
specifically just to those things that are particular to transition. So make sure that you have a good foundation and
everything you can learn about the IEP process. A couple of other resources you have are– well at least one other resource you have
is the Utah State Special Education Rules. And these are the rules based on the Federal
Law which governed special education in Utah. And this resource is available on the
Utah State Office of Education website. And any parent can downloaded or look at it,
we often refer parents when we’re talking to them at our center to that resource. Okay, the next law is a Family
Education Rights and Privacy Act. And this law guarantees parents the right
to inspect and review their child’s file. This is a law that governs how
educational records are handled. And so, under this law only the people who
need to see the file have access to it. And anyone who does look at the
file will assign a record showing that they have accessed the file. It also allows parents to challenge
information that’s in the file. And if you have more questions or concerns
about this, you’re welcome to call and talk to one of our consultants about it. Section 504, of the Rehabilitation
Act protects people from discrimination based upon
their disabilities statute– status. Okay, I’m gonna say that again. Section 504, protects persons from the discrimination based
upon their disabilities status. Any organization or entity that resists
federal funding is required to not discriminate against people with disabilities. And so of course, that includes
all the public schools. And many students do received
accommodations and other helps under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The Parent Center does have a workshop
on section 504 and if you would like more information about that. You can go to the Utah States Office of
Education website and download this parent guide to section 504, and you can also download
a very wonderful educator guide this on the State Office of Education website. And it has all kinds of ideas and examples
and that tells it has all of the guidance that is given to the schools
about how to implement this law. So, were not going to talk anymore about
section 504 in this module but just know that those resources are
there for you if you need it. Now, we’re going to talk about some of
the things that we need to be concerned with particularly in that transition IEP. First of all, we wanna know
about the transition timelines and beginning not later then the first
IEP to in effect from student these 16. So that is at least by last
IEP before the student turn 16. But it may start early year as
appropriate and must be updated annually. This is when a transition
plan must be in placed. Let’s talk about who needs to be at
the transition planning IEP meeting. The people that need to be at the transition
IEP meeting are all of the same people that need to be at any IEP meeting which as a
student, a parent, a special ed teacher, regular eduction teacher, and the
local education agency representative or the representative of the school district. The related services providers, if appropriate. But also for students who are going
through transition, other adults, or risk providers as appropriate. This could include people like
vocational rehabilitation counselor or support coordinators, case
managers for the division of services for people with disabilities. And these people if they are attending the IEP
meeting, the parents do need to give permission for those other people to be there. So it is really important for the school to get
the permission of the parent that, often times, if the parent will take the
initiative to say “I would like to have the vocational
rehabilitation counselor,” be there then, then the school is more likely to feel like
it’s easier to do to get things in order so that that person can be there. Students with disabilities
are always a good idea to have them participate in
IEPs as soon as appropriate. And I like to start training the students when
they’re little children in the elementary school if they’re interested at all or to be there
for what part of it they would like to and to be advocating for themselves and
making decisions about their own education. But it gets more and more important as the
student gets into junior high and high school, because as we know, by the time the
student is in 9th grade, the credits, the classes that he takes and the credits that
he gets are going to count for graduation. And so even as you’re planning 9th grade, the students should be helping making those
decisions about what courses are going to be taken and what the
student would like to do. And another important thing that we
need to keep in mind is that the age of majority is coming up for our students. I’m sure our students are all looking forward
to when they are going to be 18 years old and they can make decisions for themselves. When students turn 18 years old,
their right is transferred to them and the parent no longer has the right
to sign the IEP or to give permission for the things that happen in the IEP. So after the student turns 18 years old,
any notice that is required by the idea, things like notice of meetings and permissions
and all of those kinds of things will be signed by the student instead of by the parent. And the statement to that effect
must be included in the IEP not later than one year before the student reaches age 18. So by the time the student turns 17, the school
needs to inform the parents and the student that this change is going to happen. I think it’s really important
that parents know this even for their head parent should
be thinking ahead about this. There are some additional IEP contents
that need to be in the transition IEP. One of them that is very
important is appropriate measure of all post secondary academic and functional
goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments and related to three areas. One is post secondary training or education,
the second is post secondary employment, and the third is where appropriate
independent living skills, not all students will need the independent
living skills but some of them will. Also the IEP must include transition
services including courses of study designed to help the student reach
the post secondary goals. And notice that those post
secondary goals must be measurable. They must be something that we
can tell after the student gets out of school if the student has achieved it. So a good measurable post secondary goal
would not be Johnny will be independent. We don’t know exactly what that would be. Maybe a good goal in the area of
living would be Johnny will live in an apartment with some support.>>And that is something that we can
know if he is doing or not count ways. So that is a measurable post secondary goal. Keep this thought about measurable post
secondary goals in mind because we’re gonna talk about it a little bit more later. The purposes of the transition IEP
meeting should be to do several things. First of all, to determine the needs of the
student, that’s the case in any IEP meeting that is very important with
the transition IEP meeting. It should target the services
that are available. It should develop a formal transition plan
and sometimes this is information that’s above and beyond what you’ve seen in IEPs before. It should monitor the progress of the
student and it should provide information and training for the parents as needed. We don’t have a lot of time to talk about that
but we do have a booklet at the parent center about what is parent training
in the IEP process for parents. So if any of you have questions about that,
we can make that resource available to you. Let us talk about long range
vision for a minute. As we talked about measurable post
secondary goals that help us keep in mind that the IEP team needs to take a longitudinal
view of where the student would like to end up and then build an IEP that will
help the student to get there. This is a quote from Adel
Larry [phonetic] who’s one of the transition experts in the United States. And he has a process where he encourages us, the law doesn’t require this
but it just makes so much sense. He encourages us to always write the
measurable post secondary goals first, and then after we’ve done that, then
start thinking about the annual goals and then what are the present levels of
academic achievement and functional performance, what are the transition services that are
needed, and what will be the annual goal. So that we’re thinking all– in everything that
we’re writing about during the transition IEP. We’re thinking about what is
the long range goal, what is– what do we envision the student
doing after he’s out of school. And that way we’ll be much more likely to
have activities and authentic experiences in the student’s program that will help
the student to actually achieve the goals. We’re going to– yes Linda?>>Will you give us an example Jennie, some type
of– you don’t have to state the measurable goal but when you’re talking a long range goal, are
you’re talking about something in employment, or like a goal and then how
would you set something for that?>>Well, we mentioned the
three areas where a student has to have measurable post secondary goals. And one of them was post secondary education. The other one [laughs] was employment. And the third one was possibly
independent living. And so for post secondary
education, your goal might be, John will attend the Salt Lake Community
College and take a course in welding. And that’s pretty specific and it could
be measured whether he did it or not. The post secondary education
might be something, you know, that’s more of a trade program
or it could be university. They have some of our students that
go on to complete university work. So that’s a measurable post secondary goal. For employment, we might have a goal
that the student will be able to work in the service industry with a job coach
to start with and that he will become– be able to become independent after
having help from the job coach. We actually have in our parent
handbook a section at the back of it, or from nowhere to nowhere parent handbook, a
section at the back of it that has some examples of measurable post secondary
goals that is families can go over to give you some more
ideas about how to write those. Okay, well, we’re going to go over seven steps
that will help us to achieve a smooth transition and then after we go over that, we
will talk about a few other specifics about the IEP process that we might not
have picked up during these seven steps. But these seven steps, if you
consider whether you’re going through them will help you
to have a good transition. We always begin with the end in mind. The first step is to identify the
environments and planning areas important to help the young adult achieve the vision. And so, those environments and
planning areas can be things like the post secondary education
options, or the work options, and even the living arrangements
that the student might have. It’s a very broad area. After we identify those environments,
then the second thing we want to do is identify the skills
that are need for the student to succeed in each targeted planning area. And a lot of those skills that the student needs
will be turned into annual goals and activities that we will have for the student and the IEP. So if the student is needing specific skills
for jobs, those could be identified as goals and the student might be able to work in
the community or have authentic experiences, other authentic experiences that will
help the student move toward those goals. Number three is to prioritize
the student’s needs, interest, and preferences to be considered in the IEP. And so even before we’re writing our
goals and so on, we want to be looking that students needs preference and interest. And there are different ways that we can help
the student list those as we’ve talk about. We have some tools in our transition book. The school probably has tools
to help them do it. After the student identifies his interest
and preferences and needs, and by the way, if the student doesn’t attend the IEP for some
reason, the team has to get this information from the student and still
included it in IEP meeting. After the student’s interest
are considered, then the parent and family list are priorities based on
the family’s values, plans, and concerns and what they see as a student’s need. Then also we have the teachers and other
professionals list their priorities based on the school requirements, based on
their assessments that they have done, on their observations and on their
experiences with the student. And at that time, we want to identify any
potential resources, programs, and services and support options for the
student, that’s a lot. It can really be helpful. We found that for the different team members
to share some of this information ahead of time before we go into IEP meeting. So you as parent, if you’ve identified
a list of some things that you would like to have considered, you could share that
list with the team members, IEP team members and you could ask them to
share their list with you, and even sometimes can be almost a pre-meeting
or just all thinking about it ahead of time. We have a module with our IEP series that
talks about interest-based negotiation. And actually, this kind of a process is sort
of an interest-based negotiation process where everybody gets their needs and
opinions and interest out on the table. Number four, is to prepare for the IEP meetings. See a lot of these activities happen
before we even get to the meeting. And what can you as a parent do
to prepare for the IEP meeting. Well, I hope again, if you haven’t
watched our IEP videos or been to one of our classes that you will do that. But just in preparing for the transition IEP
meeting, some specific things that we want to do are identify the team meeting
participants and invite them, and remember some of those might be people
from other agencies or organizations. The parents and the students must be
invited to the IEP transition meeting at a mutually agreeable time and place,
the same as with all IEP meetings. And the parents and the students must
be informed of the purpose, time, and location of the meeting
and be told who will attend. And you as parents, if it’s– if they’re
suggesting something that doesn’t work for you, be assertive enough to let the school
personnel know what will work for you because it’s very important for you to be there. If the student does not attend the IEP
as we mentioned, steps must be taken to consider the students preferences
and interest and if the parent for some reason do not attend, steps must
be taken to ensure their participation.>>And there are some alternate
ways that parents could participate such as electronically or over the phone. Students also need to be able to
understand the proceedings of the meeting. And so there is preparation to
do to have all of that in-place. And we’ve mention in another module
that sometimes students prepare to conduct their own IEP meetings using
different kinds of ways of doing it. The students might prepare, and role-play, and
plan, and go through all of planning processes to be ready and prepare an agenda. Or the student might prepare
a PowerPoint presentation. We’ve heard of nonverbal students that
have done that and just had to click when they were ready to move to the next area. So that, some of the most successful
experiences for students who’ve done that is where it was actually part of the student’s
IEP to do that and the school personnel made that part of their curriculum
to learn how to do that. So, if the student is going to conduct his own
IEP meeting, he needs to do enough work to be, to show [phonetic] really
comfortable and be prepared to do that. Okay, we have a whole section
in our nowhere to nowhere book about helping students participate
in IEP process. And we’re not going to go over
all of that information today. We’re going to bring up a few points about it. In helping students to prepare,
first of all we need to explain to the students what the IEP meeting
is and what they’re going to be doing. And they need to have very good understanding,
as good as understanding as possible, for that student to– of the importance
and the purpose of the IEP meeting and what they will be doing there. And we need to describe that for the student
and then we need to inventory the student. That’s just a fancy way to say that we find
out everything we can about the student. The student evaluates himself, his
own interest and needs, and so on. And in an inventory the student might
talk about the learning strengths that he has the weaknesses or needs, maybe
it’d be a better word, the goals and interest that he has and how he likes to learn,
and the goals that he wants to work on. So if the student does a lot of
work to think about this ahead of time, he’ll be able to share that. Important part of this process will be teaching
the student how to share the information that he has and probably if they’re working
on it at school, they could do role-play or you as a parent to do some role-playing
with your student at home and ask them some of the questions and have them practice stating, how they feel about things and
what they would like to do. And there are some good things in our book and also the schools have some good
processes that they use to teach this. There are some really good points about how to
help the student participate in the IEP process. First of all, we need to establish the
purposes and the goals that we’re going to try to accomplish in this IEP meeting. And we need to talk about to make
sure we’re upfront with the students so that the student is clear about and
Phil [phonetic] is really like a partner. Phil has a dignity of being
an equal partner in this. We need to help the student along by
asking the student the relevant questions. And then I love the third one–
point here, listen and take notes. How important does that make you feel if
somebody is listening to you and taking notes. You know that they’re taking you seriously
and that is the way to help our student. I mean we do. We should want to know what the student
is saying and it should be real. But if the team members are listening and
taking notes about what the student says and taking it seriously, that gives
a lot of dignity that student– give the student time to think and respond. How often do we ask a question? I know I’m actually myself a
little bit of a slow processor. I was always a good student that
a little bit of a slow processor and I like to have time to think about things. How many of our students
like to have time to think about their question before
they say their answers. So don’t rush on in two seconds
if the student hasn’t answered. Look, there will be a little bit of quiet
time where the student has time to think about what he is gonna say and to say it. Then an awful idea actually uses
information that the student provides. [Laughter] You know, and encourage questions
and discussions and the team can, you know, it’s fair to talk about all of these
things, team members can give their support of what the student says and validate
the student and encourage them. Good team members all summarize
at the student’s goals and plans and help them be articulated
better if that needs to happen. And when the student is presenting, his ideas,
keep eye contact with the student and, you know, have– let him know that
he is being listened to. Okay, number five, step number
five, develop the plan. And this is where we all want to jump
into as the first step sometimes. Is in the– we wanna go and have
that plan automatically happen. But after we’ve gotten all of this
input and then assessments and so forth, then it’s time to develop the plan. In developing the plan, we again,
want to keep the long range vision of the student’s life clearly
in front and select the– or the outcomes that we want to
achieve during that period of time that is going to be covered by the IEP. Now, each IEP [clears throat] besides
having measurable post secondary goals, we’ll have an annual goal that the team will be
responsible for working on for the next year. So we want to write down the
list of the transition services that we’re going to need for that student. And what are some examples of transition
services that students might have in their IEP.>>I know, in my son’s IEP, we have that he
will go like once a week starting in 10th grade because he’s, you know, well, actually preparing
for the 9th grade by looking at the community and figuring out where he might want to go and
then starting in 10th grade or the end of 9th– to go like maybe for a fire station once a
week because that’s an interest that he has. And so, and that will cover a lot of things. It will cover transportation, teaching him how
to use the UTA, they’ll teach him social skills, it will teach him some core job based skills,
you know, working with the firefighters. So those are some of the goals
that we incorporated in his IEP.>>Thank you, and that’s an excellent
example of an authentic experience where they’re having actual experience learning
about the thing that they’re interested in. Sometimes when they do that, they find
out that what they were interested, isn’t what they thought it would be
and they’re not as interested in it. In other times, they become more interested. They become more realistic about
whether they’re able to do it or not. Okay, we need to make sure we have the statement of measurable annual goals including
academic and functional goals. Academic goals I think, we understand
what those are but those relate to the different subjects
that the student is studying. And some of our students will be studying all
the same academic subjects as other students. Others of our students will be spending a
lot more time working on functional goals which are goals that help them to
learn functional skills for their lives and that they could be all kinds
of things we’ve mentioned before. If our students are taking
an alternate assessment, the students who don’t take the state UBSCT
and other state test and they’re eligible to take an alternate assessment
instead, then the team needs to also write short term objectives that will
help them reach the measurable annual goals. So these will be shorter term objectives
that would be achieved throughout the course of the year and smaller steps
to getting to that annual goal. Another really important part of
developing the IEP is to confirm with the team members what
their responsibilities are. Unless we all know if we developed a plan
but we don’t assign responsibility to anyone, then it becomes nobody’s
responsibility and it doesn’t happen. So it’s really important to have
listed on the IEP who is responsible for each activity goal or service that’s on IEP. Really a best practice suggestion
would be to write down the date by which each objective needs to be completed, and by whom the responsibilities will
be completed and identify who all of us supports are, and you
as parents can encourage that.>>And you can do it in a nice way if the
team hasn’t thought to write these things down or they’ve been in a little
bit of a hurry or something. You can ask, leaving questions and
ask these things be written down. Okay, another thing that needs to happen in
the IEP process is to have agency linkages. Agency linkages are a description
of how the different agencies need to work together to provide a seamless service. That sounds nice although sometimes not as
easy to make happen as we would like it to be. So the first step and that would be to obtain
the parent or if a student has reached the age of majority, the student consent if
the agency representatives are going to be invited to the IEP meeting. And if for some reason it’s either too early
or any agency representatives aren’t needed, then we can check not needed on the IEP. There’s a place for that. In our book here, we have a
transition planning timeline. And many of the school districts have
their own versions of something like that. The transition planning timeline just
gives suggestions of the different times in the process when different things should
happen so that we can remind ourselves by what age or what time in the process we
need to do different things and I won’t go into too much detail on that because it would
be really different for different students. But it’s worth thinking about that. Step number six is to implement
and monitor the IEP. The IEPs all have been written so
it should automatically happen, right, and everything should go great. Well a lot of time it does
and things do go great. But you as parents would be well served
to monitor what’s going on at school. And as you know, you have progress
reports that will come home. You can communicate with other team members. You can ask your students how it’s going and
always remember that you can ask the team to meet again if things aren’t going as
expected, if a goal is not working out or if the student is having
concerns about the services. Step number seven is to watch
and record the outcomes and this should be done by the IEP team. Did the student make the progress that was
expected, did the student reached the goal. And remember that the IEP should be
reviewed at least once a year by law, and the plan can be revised if necessary. And as we always tell parents
though, any time it is needed. Parents can request to meet
and to revise things. And always remember to celebrate our successes
or going along and thank the team members for the things that are going well
and the things that have worked. And the team members do put a lot of effort
and heart into what they’re doing so we want to be sure we’re appreciative
of all of their efforts. Throughout this entire process remember
that when you have concerns about services or placements being offered or
provided to your son or daughter, it’s best to express all these concerns in terms
of the young adults needs and work together with the team to negotiate the
best way to meet those needs. Always seek to resolve the concerns
at the lowest level possible. And if negotiation breaks down, you have a
rewrite to all of your due process rights which have then outlined in more
detail in our IEP work shops. There is also some really good research
about students with disabilities, that when they’re the ones that go tot
the team and talk about their concerns and ask for what they need, often times
educators are more responsive to them than they are to the parents if the
student goes in with a good attitude and is earnest about what he needs and wants. Often times, with students will get very
good results by advocating for himself.>>Now that we’ve talked about these seven
steps for successful transition planning, let’s talk a little more in depth about
a few specific transition requirements that we have for the IEP. Transition services needs to coordinated set
of activities for a student that is designed within an outcome oriented process which draws
movement from school to cause school activities. That’s the official definition
of transition in the law. And that’s the big order is. And that just that it includes post secondary
education, employment, independent living, and it includes all of the things that make
a person’s life livable such as recreation and leisure activities and all the things
that they want to have in their life.>>Idea to pass them for also
requires that a statement that needed transition services
focusing on interagency responsibilities from linkages be included in the student’s IEP. This linkages, is that a really tricky thing
because the agencies do need to work together and for different students, they
might start at different times. We also have a little note in here about failure
of agencies to meet the transition objectives. Then this is kind of important to
know if a participating agency other than the school district or LAA fails to provide
the transition services described in the IEP, the LAA must reconvene the IEP team
to identify alternative strategies to meet the transition objectives for
the students that are out in the IEP. In other words, if the other
agencies aren’t showing up and doing what they said they would do, then
the team does need to reconvene and cut them up with plan B. And that’s important to know. Sometimes I don’t think parents know
that as for that and the things go along and they sounded good that they don’t happen. And sometimes it’s just the
agency people get busy or sudden and they don’t quite know how to do it. So we can do things to encourage that happening. Some of these services that we’re talking about
could be things like vocational rehabilitation or could also be services like
assisted technology devices and services that could be provided or other related
services, supplementary agent services. And that could include things like
being out in the community and working with employers or other agencies. Another important point about this is that if
another agency doesn’t come up with the funding to pay for what they were suppose to
pay for, then the LAA is authorized to claim the reimbursement for the services
from the non-educational public agency that fail to provide or pay for these services. And that agency must pay the LAA or the
school district in the court’s terms, the interagency agreement that they
have and the agencies are required to have interagency agreement by law. Okay, we’re going to talk a
little bit about graduation and that is really important
to all of our students. I think they all want to graduate.>>Since some of you maybe wondering,
you know, how does this transition IEP that you’ve been developing interface with
all of the regular things that the student has in his IEP or has had in IEP before and
is doing in his regular school program. And that really, really varies
depending on the student does. Remember you have to have the measurable post
secondary goals by the time the student is 16 but it can be earlier if appropriate. And so if it’s appropriate for your student
to be working on more functional goals, more things in the community, you
might start doing that this early or for the largest majority of
students in special ed now who are kids that have normal cognitive abilities that
just have either learning disabilities or attention disorders or emotional disturbance or behavior problems, all
of those kinds of things. For many of those students, their transition
IEP will still include the normal courses of study that a student would have. And for those students, for all of our
students who are really going to be thinking about graduation, and we want
to start planning for that. Now when do our students first start
getting credits toward graduation?>>9th grade.>>9th grade, so does it make sense to wait
until they’re 16 to start planning their courses of study and know if they’re gonna
have everything they need to graduate or if we need to modify anything. That doesn’t– doesn’t. So where the law says earlier if appropriate,
there are some things that I would think that most people would want to start planning
earlier because you actually make the plans for what the student is going to take
in 9th grade, when they’re in 8th grade. So you’re talking about a
pretty young age there.>>The IEP is a place to document what
courses the student is going to take, it is a place to document any
modifications to any graduation requirements so that they meet the unique
educational needs of the student. And the IEP in this case must
completely document the modifications so that they’re clearly understood
by all the team members. And I can’t tell you how many times at the
parent centers we get calls from parents on April or May when their students
are 18 and all of a sudden it’s head on that either the student will
be graduating or not graduating. And it hasn’t been planned and it’s not clear, and maybe the team is telling them
something different than they did, than they thought they heard
when the student was 14. So it is very important to
clearly document all of these and each district has its
own graduation requirements, and on procedures and policies about graduation. So we have to work in accordance with what
that district’s requirements are and we need to be able to make informed decisions. And so if we want to know what our
district’s graduation requirements are, we can find that out by either approaching our
school district to office or probably our people at the school would be able to might
give us that information as well. It really– also we want to start
planning these things ahead of time in case we have any disagreements
about graduation that we have time for our appeal process and to exercise
our different rights if we need to. We’re gonna now do this, the quick overview
of diplomas and certificates of completion, and I do want to emphasize that this
is as of 2009 when we’re filming this. And even during this last year we’ve heard the
legislature in the state’s school board talk about changing some of these
things and some experiences that there have been changes every few years. And some of these things, so as parents,
you can always find updated information on the State Office of Education
website about these kinds of issues. But as of right now, there are two ways for
a student to graduate from high school either with a high school diploma, an official
diploma, or with a certificate of completion. And so let’s talk about diplomas
and certificates of completion. A high school diploma is awarded to a student
who has successfully completed all of the state and district course requirements for graduation
and pass all of the subtest of the UBSCT, that’s the Utah Basic Skills Competency Test,
or if they haven’t passed all of subtests of the UBSCT that when they did not
pass all of the subtest of the UBSCT, they can document at least three
attempts to take and pass each subtest. Or the student’s IEP team has determined the
participation and the state wide assessment is through the Utah Alternate Assessment. So there are several alternatives for
our students with– in special education. The graduating class of 2007, students
who did not pass all of the sections of the UBSCT must participate
in UBSCT remediation consistent with school policies and opportunities. And so our students have to be in there and
be involved with trying to pass the UBSCT. Now some students may instead
receive a certificate of completion. And according to the school district or school
criteria, this maybe awarded to students who have either completed their senior
year or are exiting the school system or have not met all the state or
district requirements for a diploma. So if they don’t complete all of their course
work, and that’s one reason if we want them to have a diploma and that’s one
reason why we really need to work on their course work ahead of time. Under IDEA 2004, if a student graduates
with a regular high school diploma, this ends a student’s eligibility
for special education or appropriate public education
as it’s called in the law. So as soon as your student graduates, the student is no longer eligible
for special education services. And this is– if your students really
should be going to school until age 22, has a needs for more services through that time, another reason to be planning the
graduation requirements is so that you spread out the course work and plan how you’re
going to do that appropriately along with all of the other functional stuff that you’re doing so that the students does
graduate at the right time for him. Graduation is a change of placement
that requires prior written notice. So like all of your other prior written
notice requirements, the school district needs to notify the parents or the
student if the student is over 18 and the parent does not have guardianship,
then they would notify the student that the student is about to graduate
and then the parent rights do kick in. The parent does have all of the
due process rights at that time. Graduating is not an alternative
degree that is not fully aligned with the state’s academic standards. So if your student has received his certificate
of completion like we just talked about, or an alternative diploma such as the diploma
that was gained through an online school or something like that, or a GED, then
your student will not be disqualified or will not have necessarily finished the
special education, the student could continue on until 22 or until the time when the student
has completed the requirements for graduation. In the IEP process, you can make
amendments to the graduation requirements. A student’s IEP team may amend the
graduation requirements and must document in the IEP the nature and extent of
any modifications or substitutions or exemptions made to accommodate the
needs of that student with disabilities. And the IEP team must refer to
the state office of education, special education graduation
guidelines for additional information. And this rule was put into our state rules
because this is sort of ever changing and this guideline is up on the state office
of education web sites so that parents as well as teachers can have access
to the latest version of it. So it’s important to check into that. I’ll remind you again. Let’s talk about leaving school
because of maximum age or aging out. Students who have not graduated or
eligible to have special education until their 22nd birthday, and
there are two times in the year when the student might exit school. If this student has his or her 22nd birthday
between the beginning of the school year and December 31st, then that
student would leave school at the beginning of the school’s winter holiday. If the student’s 22nd birthday occurs between
January 21st and the end of that school year, then that student would finish
his special education and leave school at the end of the school year. And before this law was put
into place, we had kids exiting at all different times during the year. So this is really an improvement to the law here
and we know what to expect for our students. So when the student reaches maximum age,
then the student is no longer eligible for special education and this is not a change
in placement and there aren’t any legal rights or prior written notice attached
to this, it just happens. And that’s when we’re all ready. We hope to do all of the other things
that we’ve talked about in these modules. Another thing that we haven’t talked about
yet that I think is a very wonderful thing about the transition IEP is that as the student
leaves school or when the student graduates or when the eligibility terminates
due to aging out, the school district must provide
the student with a summary if the student’s academic
achievement and functional performance which shall include recommendations on how to assist the student meeting
student’s post secondary goal. So in other words, if the student is
planning to go to college or university, then the school would want
to have in this report, recommendations about how the
student will function in college, what accommodations a student might need
and what would happen for that student. But if that student is not going to college, a similar kind of information could be compiled
regarding to wherever the student is going. So this can be very important in the
student’s life, and you as parents might want to be talking to the school district
about what’s going to be in that report. Some school districts have been more proactive about writing really good reports
than others have in the past. And I think people are getting
more up to speed with it because it’s a newer provision of the law. Just to in summary for this program,
I’d like to remind you that the goal of transition planning is to
offer educational experience so that our students will achieve progress in the general curriculum
which is what all IEPs are for. They want all of our students to progress
in the general curriculum for them to achieve improved results and for them to
be prepared for post secondary education, employment and independent living. And so for each student, it’s
going to be very different. Transition IEPs can look very different and it
will vary from school to school and from child to child, that I hope that the things that we
have gone over today will be of some help to you in planning your student’s transition IEP. Thank you.

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