Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
By Marcia Mittnacht
State Director of Special Education
April 9, 2014
This week, the Massachusetts DESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) released to school districts an important new "Technical Assistance Advisory" on transition assessment. According to MA Director of Special Education Marcia Mittnacht, "the purpose of this advisory is to:
- Clarify the purpose of transition assessment in the secondary transition planning process.
- Provide guidance to school districts concerning the selection and use of transition assessments."
Mittnacht goes on to say:
"Through secondary transition planning, which occurs in Massachusetts for students with IEPs aged 14-22,(2) IEP Teams facilitate an individualized process that moves a student ever-closer to the successful realization of his or her personal vision for the future. That vision, documented on the Transition Planning Form (TPF) and in the IEP, (3) is the beacon which guides the development of the IEP during the transition years. (4) Year by year, a student's IEPs detail a sequential and developmental process whereby the student's disability-related needs are addressed in order to build skills necessary to achieve the student's postsecondary goals/vision."
Note that she characterizes the State's Transition Planning Form (TPF) as "the beacon which guides the development of the IEP during the transition years." In other words, transition planning should be central to, and indeed, the key driver of, the IEP process for students starting at age 14, and not secondary to other academic objectives. Too often it is treated as an afterthought.
If you are the parent of a student on an IEP who is age 14 or older, you should read this entire document, entitled "Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2014-4," and consider printing a copy to bring to your next Team Meeting.