Secondary Transition Planning Resources

Project SEARCH Site Criteria Announced
Project SEARCH is a high school transition program for youth with developmental disabilities. The Project SEARCH High School Transition Program is a unique, business-led, one-year, school-to-work program. Vermont is planning to launch the first site in the fall of 2014. If you are interested in becoming a site please view the outreach packet and the criteria webinar. For more information contact John Spinney, AOE Post-Secondary Transition Specialist, at

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), transition planning from school to adult life begins, at the latest, during high school. Transition planning is required, by law, to start once a student reaches 16 years of age, or younger, if appropriate. This transition planning becomes formalized as part of the student's Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Transition services are intended to prepare students to make the transition from the world of school to the world of adulthood. In planning what type of transition services a student needs to prepare for adulthood, the IEP team must first consider areas such as vocational training, community employment and post secondary education for the student. If the IEP team thinks that independent living and community participation are appropriate for a student then these areas should also be considered.

The transition services themselves are a coordinated set of activities that are based on an individual transition assessment that identifies the student's needs, preferences and interests. The resources provided on this page will help you learn more about transition - what the law requires, what information a typical transition plan contains and how transition plans are developed. Use the following links for:


NOTE: Special Education Field Memo #10-01: Changes for Students Receiving Special Education Services in the High School Completion Program (HSCP) (Act 44 of 2009)
Act 44 of 2009 changed enrollment requirements for students who participate in the HSCP. Prior to this legislation, only students who were no longer enrolled in high school were eligible to participate. As a result of Act 44, students can be dually enrolled in their local high school and the HSCP. This change has raised questions about how this will affect students receiving special education. This document contains guidance on the process to follow when students eligible for special education are considering participation in the HSCP.


The 1990 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) carried the first requirements regarding the provision for transition services for youth with disabilities. These requirements were enhanced in the 1997 reauthorization of the law. The recent reauthorization of IDEA, which occurred in December 2004, requires that schools begin providing students with transition services no later than age 16.

Transition planning must begin with an individual age appropriate vocational assessment.

Why a vocational assessment?
How do you choose the right assessment? The first place for the case manager to begin is with the local high school guidance office. Check to see what vocational assessments are offered for all students. These may be very appropriate for some of your students.

What vocational assessments should I use for my other students?
The best place to begin to look at the options is the "Career Planning Begins with Assessment", a guide from the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability (NCWD). This guide will walk you through a variety of vocational/occupational assessments. You will be able to review them prior to making a choice. You will quickly find out which assessments are appropriate according to: age/grade level/disability and cost. You will be able to order a copy to "demo" before you buy. Best of all you'll discover which assessments are a good match for your students and are FREE!

  Blank Vermont Transition Plan Template:
  • Transition Plan Guidance Document
  • IEP Transition Plan Changes (FM: 09-12)
    Recently there have been changes in the data that the department is required to submit to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) for the state Annual Performance Plan. Among these are changes to the data collected for Indicator 13, Secondary Transition. This has necessitated a change to the Vermont Individualized Education Plan (VT IEP) transition plan forms. Field memo 09-12 explains this change, along with other supporting documents including: the transition plan guidance document, indicator 13 checklist and the quick guide to online transition resources in Vermont. Use the link above to view, download and/or print all the documents.

Blank Vermont Summary of Performance Exit Template:


Sample Transition Plans - Meet the Students:
Five transition plan samples of five different fictional students are presented below, each with a different disability category. A short PowerPoint document, which appears first, presents each of the students' interests and needs.


Sample Summary of Performance Exit Report:

  The following resources are available to help guide IEP teams through the transition planning process. NOTE: All of the links below take you off the department's Web site. View our disclaimer.
  • Independent Living
    • Vermont Housing Authority
      Provides subsidized housing information for qualified persons with disabilities through Vermont (section 8)
  NOTE: All of the links below take you off the department's Web site. View our disclaimer.


John Spinney at or (802) 479-1495

Page Last Updated on July 27, 2015