What are some emerging findings regarding successful transition?

Page 6: Emerging Findings

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) funded three model demonstration projects to research strategies for reducing recidivism and promoting the successful reentry of students with disabilities from juvenile correctional facilities into education, employment, and community programs. Each model demonstration project is unique, yet they all include the research-based practices presented earlier:

  • Create a transition team
  • Establish quick records transfer
  • Create a transition plan
  • Utilize evidence-based practices
  • Monitor the transition process

Although data collection and analysis remain underway, researchers have already noted some interesting findings regarding successful transition components. Listen as Heather Griller Clark and Jean Echternacht discuss the importance that the student have a strong connection and contact with a caring adult. Next, listen as Leslie LaCroix, a transition specialist, discusses how she builds rapport and strong relationships with youth.


Heather Griller-Clark
Heather Griller Clark, PhD
Co-Principal Investigator, Project RISE,
Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
Arizona State University

(time: 1:54)

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Jean Echternacht
Jean K. Echternacht, EdD
Co-Principal Investigator,
MAP and Institute on Community Integration
University of Minnesota

(time: 0:35)

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Leslie Lecroux
Leslie LaCroix, MAT
Transition Specialist, Project RISE
Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
Arizona State University

(time: 1:22)

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Robert White, a young adult who was incarcerated in a juvenile corrections facility for a number of years, reiterates the points made above. He describes how several caring adults contributed to his successful reentry into the community (time: 1:52).

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Robert White
Former incarcerated youth

Robert White

The three model demonstration projects are summarized below. For each, the key components are briefly described and a principal investigator for the project provides more details. For more information about each, click on the project name to visit its Website.

MAP (Making a Map: Finding My Way Back)

The University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration

MAP is a comprehensive, evidence-based project that supports youth with disabilities transitioning from the local juvenile corrections facility into school, employment, and community programs. It strives to create a sustainable model for youth transition by evaluating the outcomes of its intervention efforts and by establishing long-term interagency collaborations. The project integrates three existing evidence-based interventions:

  • Reintegration Framework Toolkit—a research-based framework designed to support interagency collaboration
  • Check & Connect—a research-based mentoring and student engagement intervention model focused on increasing student engagement at school and with learning as a means to improve student outcomes. Click here to learn more about Check & Connect.
  • Expanding the Circle: Respecting the Past, Preparing for the Future—a transition curriculum that provides strategies to support youth’s development of specific goals in preparation for the transition from high school to college and careers

Click here to learn more about MAP.

Jean Echternacht
Jean K. Echternacht, EdD
Co-Principal Investigator,
MAP and Institute on Community Integration
University of Minnesota

Jean K. Echternacht describes the three main components of the MAP project (time: 2:44).

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Project STAY OUT (Strategies Teaching Adolescent Young Offenders with Disabilities to Use Transition Skills)

University of Oregon

Project STAY OUT is aimed at supporting special educators at local schools in a youth’s re-entry into education, employment, and community programs in their home communities. The project focuses on developing the community’s capacity to provide collaborative services targeting the youth and ensures school personnel are trained in the requisite skills needed to provide the additional educational supports youth with disabilities may have to maintain school engagement upon exit from long-term care. These transition practices may include:

  • The use of a transition specialist, employed by a local school district, trained in STAY OUT practices for youth with disabilities.
  • Key features of services are: (a) youth-driven, strength-based services, (b) flexible educational placement options, (c) competitive employment opportunities, (d) targeted social skills training, and (e) immediate access to community-based services based on youth needs.
  • Building strong relationships between the school, juvenile services, and available community service agencies which include: (a) process for records sharing and transfer, (b) education of partners about each agency, and (c) regular planning meetings.

Click here to learn more about Project STAY OUT.

Deanne Unruh
Deanne Unruh, PhD
Principal Investigator, STAY OUT
Co-Director, National Technical Assistance Center on Transition
Associate Research Professor
University of Oregon

Deanne Unruh provides more information about the goals and key features of Project STAY OUT (time: 3:42).

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Project RISE (Re-Entry Intervention and Support for Engagement)

Arizona State University

The primary purpose of Project RISE is to create a replicable model for successfully transitioning youth with disabilities from JC facilities to the community. It takes a two-pronged approach to this goal by addressing the needs of individual youth (e.g., helping youth develop a transition portfolio) and through addressing systemic issues (e.g., increasing inter-agency communication). The reentry practices included:

  • Intensive educational and vocational programming that followed individualized education plan (IEP) and individualized transition plan (ITP) goals
  • Development of a transition portfolio for all youth with disabilities
  • Individualized aftercare and community supports after release

Click here to learn more about Project RISE.

Heather Griller-Clark
Heather Griller Clark, PhD
Co-Principal Investigator, Project RISE,
Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
Arizona State University

Heather Griller Clark provides more information on Project RISE by describing two key personnel, the transition specialist and the project director, who contributed to the successful transition of youth (time: 2:38).

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