Secondary Transition

The department encourages districts to prepare all students for Career and College Readiness. The programs, resources, and services included in these guidelines demonstrate best practices in serving Students with Disabilities as they transition from secondary to post-secondary activities such as postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment); continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation.

Secondary Transition Guidelines for Youth with Disabilities

Professional Development

Secondary Transition Consultants provide information, training and technical assistance to stakeholders and others interested in the secondarytransition process.  Additionally, TDOE provides professional development and technical assistance by way of contractual arrangements with the following entities:

  • Arc of Tennessee - The Arc Tennessee is a statewide non-profit organization that advocates for the rights and full participation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in their communities. The Secondary Transition Project funded by the Tennessee Department of Education is one of many education and outreach projects of The Arc. Its primary purposes are to assist students, families and educators in understanding the Secondary Transition process; to teach self-advocacy and self-determination skills to students; and to educate students, families and school systems on how students can more actively participate in and/or lead their own IEP meetings. In addition to these areas of expertise, the staff of the Secondary Transition project offer free workshops in other areas including but not limited to the History of Disability, Person First Language, and Getting a Head Start with Vocational Rehabilitation upon request.
  • STEP, Inc. - STEP staff will provide training and professional development to families    who have children with disabilities, transition age students with disabilities, teachers  and related service providers who work with transition age youth. Direct in-person training opportunities that can be requested by families, schools, and community sponsors include: Transition Institutes with Information Fairs, Dream Building Activity: Planning for Your Future at Institutes and workshops on “Taking the Mystery out of Transition Planning”, and transition focused  person centered planning seminars which include both group instruction and individual work with students, and providing transition information to families whose first language is not English.
  • University of Tennessee, Center for Literacy, Education, and Employment – The Center for Literacy, Education and Employment conducts training and technical assistance in delivering a self-determination and career planning curriculum to school personnel who are interested in empowering students at the point of transition from school to adult life as well as assisting LEAs with developing a student’s plan for a Seamless Transition.

Developed for use with a wide range of student academic and vocational abilities and based on the principles of self-determination, the Self Advocacy curriculum helps students discern their interests and abilities, learn more about post-secondary options, make choices and decisions, and chart a career and life course into their future. Teachers, guidance counselors and others who take the curriculum training will be expected to deliver a program of classroom instruction using the Self Advocacy curriculum, conduct the class within a 9-week period, use the pre-tests and post-tests to generate data and report the data to the Center for Literacy, Education and Employment.

Services include: 

  • Basic training that qualifies teachers and other school personnel to use the Self Advocacy curriculum.  A $125 fee covers materials and follow-up support.
  • Intensive coaching for selected school systems
  • Direct assistance to student in developing self-advocacy upon request

Getting into college, beginning career training, or starting a new job can be challenging.  But even the most difficult barriers can be overcome with the right information.  Supported by the Tennessee Department of Education and the Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities, Center staff can assist students, teachers and school systems with these challenges by providing assistance with:

  • Writing Standards-based Transition IEPs
  • On-site Technical assistance with review and recommendations regarding IEPs
  • Other Transition assistance targeted to the needs of individual schools Center for Literacy, Education & Employment

Annual Performance Report

In accordance with Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) each State must have in place a long range State Performance Plan (SPP) that evaluates the State’s efforts to implement the requirements and purposes of the IDEA and describes how the State will improve such implementation over a 6 year period.   Additionally, each State must report annually on the State’s performance through a  report called the Part B Annual Performance Report (APR) which includes information/measures on each State’s grad rate, dropout rate, state assessment, discipline, LRE, preschool, parent input, eligibility timelines, high school transition and dispute resolution.

The four indicators that relate to Secondary Transition are:

  • Indicator 1 – Percent of youth with IEPs graduation from high school with a regular diploma.
  • Indicator 2 – Percent of youth with IEPs dropping out of high school.
  • Indicator 13 – Percent of youth with IEPs who have all seven transition components included in their transition planning document.
  • Indicator 14 – Percent of youth who are no longer in secondary school, had IEPs in effect at the time they left school, and were:
    • Enrolled in higher education within one year of leaving high school.
    • Enrolled in higher education or competitively employed within one year of leaving high school.
    • Enrolled in higher education or in some other postsecondary education or training program; or competitively employed or in some other employment within one year of leaving high school.

Topics of Interest

IEP Development:

Closing the Achievement Gap:

Age Appropriate Transition Assessment:


Career Development:

Parent Resources:

Postsecondary Education and Training


Financial Aid


Secondary Transition Links of Interest

Last Update: April 22, 2015