How can school and agency personnel work together to support smooth transitions for these students?

Page 6: Agencies Involved in Collaboration

Interagency collaboration can involve schools and agencies working together, not just at the individual student or school level but also at a systems level. When this level of collaboration occurs, a school and an agency often develop a formal agreement regarding how each participant will be involved during transition planning. This is sometimes called a memorandum of understanding (MOU). Click here for an example of a memorandum of understanding, including the specific roles and responsibilities for each agency.

The following table highlights some agencies that are typically involved with students with disabilities and how they might support goals in the three main post-secondary areas: post-secondary education and training, employment, and independent living.

Agency and Type of Involvement in Areas of Postsecondary Goals
Agency Postsecondary Education and Training Employment Independent Living
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Helps students participate in postsecondary education; counsels students on opportunities for postsecondary education; provides workplace readiness training; conducts interest inventories Helps students with job search and interview skills; develops resumes and completing job applications; conducts interest inventories and work-readiness assessments Implements strategies to help students increase likelihood of greater independent living skills and inclusion in their community
College or University Disability Services Office Helps students determine and request appropriate academic accommodations and supports Helps students going to college gain skills towards achieving their employment or career goals Works with students attending college or living on campus in developing greater independent living skills
Technology Access Center

Assesses the student’s needs for assistive technology for:

  • College, university, or technical school
  • Workplace
  • Independent daily living
Center for Independent Living Assists students in learning how to use public transportation; teach self-advocacy skills Assists students in learning how to use public transportation; offers mentoring programs and support groups; teaches self-advocacy skills Assists students in finding housing; learning how to use public transportation; offers mentoring programs and support groups; teaches self-advocacy skills
Transportation/ Mobility Management Organization Assists students in identifying transportation needs and options in their community and finding accessible transportation services to commute to postsecondary education or training environments, workplace, or other community settings (e.g., grocery store)
Social Security Administration (SSA) Provides financial assistance to help people with disabilities meet basic needs (food, clothing, shelter) through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program—an income-based federal supplement program

Revisit the Challenge

kaylaKayla is a student with strong cognitive skills and motor-skills difficulties that affect her articulation and self-help skills. One of Kayla’s transition goals is to live in an apartment whether she goes to college or gets a job after high school. Kayla and Ms. Fields review the resource directory that Ms. Fields created and, based on Kayla’s responses to the guiding questions in her portfolio, they choose several agencies to meet with. By meeting representatives from the following agencies, Kayla will have more information to help her make a decision about what the best housing options are for her.

  • Center for Independent Living — Can further assess Kayla’s independent living skills and determine what daily living skills support(s) she might need throughout the day
  • Transportation or Mobility Management Organization — Can help determine Kayla’s eligibility for accessible transportation services and help her become knowledgeable and comfortable with using public accessible transportation
  • Campus Disability Services — Can provide information for Kayla about available housing in the area or finding roommates through the college; can also begin to explore what accommodations Kayla might need if she does decide to take college


cooperRecall that Cooper is a student with a learning disability whose secondary transition goal is to obtain a full-time job as a cook or a chef. He works part-time for Mr. Owens preparing food and bussing tables at a small restaurant near his school, a job that his transition coordinator, Mrs. Ibarra, helped him find through a community partnership. Mr. Owens has been mentoring Cooper and creating opportunities to teach him what he knows about cooking and running a restaurant. Through interagency collaboration, Mrs. Ibarra has contacts with a nearby community college that offers a two-year culinary arts program. Based on this information and that in Cooper’s transition portfolio, what agencies or informal supports might the transition coordinator include in Cooper’s transition planning process related to employment?

Community college culinary arts program: Yes. This would be beneficial to explore whether Cooper is interested in attending a program to gain more skills and get a degree or certificate related to cooking.

Campus disability services: Yes. Should Cooper decide to attend a community college or a technical training program, it would be important to meet with personnel from the local college to assist with any accommodations he might need related to his learning disability.

Transportation/mobility management services: Yes. Cooper has not passed his driving test. Although he might try again to get his license, it would make sense to have a back-up transportation plan.

Vocational rehabilitation: Yes. VR can do things such as counsel Cooper on opportunities for postsecondary education, provide workplace readiness training, and help Cooper complete a job resume.

Technology access center: At this point, we don’t know enough about Cooper to warrant these resources/supports. Cooper might benefit from these services in the future.

Center for independent living: At this point, we don’t know enough about Cooper to warrant these resources/supports. He might benefit from these services in the future when he decides to live on his own.

Social Security Administration: At this point, we don’t know enough about Cooper to warrant these resources/supports. Cooper might qualify for financial assistance once he turns 18.

Informal supports: Yes. Cooper appears to have some strong informal supports such as his current boss (work support and training) and his grandmother (housing and transportation).

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