Special Education

Secondary Transition

For Massachusetts students receiving special education services, Secondary Transition is a time that begins when they turn 14 (or earlier, if the IEP team agrees). From age 14 until they graduate or turn 22, students on IEPs receive transition services from their public school districts. Transition services are defined by federal law (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA) as a "coordinated set of activities…designed to be within a results oriented process,…to facilitate the student's movement from school to post-school activities." Transition services are based on the individual student's needs, taking into account his/her strengths, preferences, and interests. These services help young adults to live, work, participate in the community, and go on to further education or training as independently as possible when they leave high school.

secondary transition visual model
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Explanation of the Visual Model

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Brochure for Families and Students with IEPs: The Secondary Transition Planning Process

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DESE Secondary Transition Resources and Materials
Find Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) forms, advisories, training and technical assistance materials, and links to resources from special and general education.

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Transition Topics
Explore state and national resources on Student Self-Determination, Transition Assessment, Postsecondary Education and Training, Competitive Employment, Independent Living, and Community Participation.

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Indicator 13: Secondary Transition
Learn about this federal indicator which assesses transition planning and services for students with IEPs.

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Indicator 14: Post-School Outcomes
Learn about this federal indicator, which reports outcomes for young people a year after they have left high school.

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Other Massachusetts State Agencies
Learn about other Massachusetts state agencies and the resources they provide to assist young people to achieve successful futures.

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Disability-Specific Transition Information
Explore resources targeted to specific disability profiles.

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Additional Resources
Explore more local and national resources.

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Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative
Funded by the Commonwealth since 2007, the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative offers grants to college-school partnerships to support eligible public high school students with intellectual disabilities, ages 18-22, to increase their academic and career success by being included in a college or university community of learners.

Disclaimer: The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education does not control, endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of the information contained in external websites.

Last Updated: November 22, 2019

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

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