What can school personnel do to help students in the transition planning process?
Page 4: Program Structure
It is the responsibility of school personnel, especially teachers, to help prepare students for life after high school. Program structure, a critical component of the taxonomy, refers to the foundational elements necessary for school personnel to efficiently and effectively implement transition services. This component must be in place if the other components of the taxonomy are to work well. Program structure consists of six features:
- Program philosophy: Schools or school districts embrace educational planning, curricula, and programs that are community-referenced, outcome-based, provided in integrated settings, flexible enough to meet a student’s needs, respectful of cultural and linguistic needs, and offer access to all post-school options for all students.
- Strategic planning: Schools and school districts collaborate with community organizations to identify and address barriers related to transition of students to post-school settings.
- Program policies: Schools’ or school districts’ policies support the implementation of effective practices, and these policies are shared with community organizations.
- Program evaluation: Schools or school districts conduct ongoing evaluation that includes the analysis of post-school outcomes and use the data for needs assessments and program improvement.
- Human resource development: Schools or school districts ensure that educators and transition-related personnel are qualified to meet the transition needs of all students. This involves providing initial training and ongoing professional development.
- Resource allocation: Schools and school districts ensure that adequate resources, including funding for community-based placements, are available to meet the education and transition needs of all students.
One common theme among these features is the importance of schools or school districts collaborating with community agencies and organizations and linking students to the services or opportunities they provide. Once schools or school districts have made these connections, teachers and other school personnel can more readily create community-based learning opportunities for their students. The most common evidence-based practice used to provide these types of learning opportunities, community-based instruction involves teaching students skills in the settings in which they will be used. For example, a teacher can offer instruction on skills related to grocery shopping (e.g., using a list, locating items, purchasing groceries) by taking the student to a local market.