Westside Community Schools special educators and administrators recognize the importance of ensuring a successful transition between levels for students with disabilities. Whether your family is preparing to advance grade-levels within the same building or transitioning into a new elementary, middle or high school, we know the process can be both daunting and exciting. In efforts to prepare and engage students and families in the transition process, we want to share with you a little about what happens behind the scenes, as well as to provide you with steps you/your learner can take to make the transition process successful.
Each spring, in preparation for the following school year, district administrators and special educators collaborate to determine the names, numbers, and needs of students projected to attend each building in the fall. Flexibility and forethought are key as special education leaders allocate the resources, materials, equipment, and personnel required at each site to meet the educational needs of all learners. As these systems-level decisions are being made, special education teachers, speech-language pathologists, school psychologists, behavioral facilitators and others are conducting observations of incoming students, participating in IEP meetings, facilitating building tours, and/or reviewing student data and IEP-related documentation. These and other steps are taken at each level to help the receiving case manager and overall building best prepare for the first day of school in August. But transition planning doesn’t stop in May! Once special educators have a more comprehensive picture of their fall caseload, the summer professional learning opportunities begin. During the months of June and July, special education professionals participate in training, book studies, collaborative planning sessions, transition activities, and other adventures to refine their approach or gain new strategies to meet the needs of our learners.
The level-to-level transition process for each learner is as individualized as the IEP itself. While one child may need a highly structured approach to transition, other children may only require indirect support. Open dialogue and active participation in the transition process is beneficial for students, parents, and the entire educational team. Whether you attend informational sessions offered by the school, participate in IEP meetings, take your child to visit the new school, ask questions of school staff, or simply provide words of encouragement at home, each of these actions help set the home-school team up for success. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s current case manager if you have questions about this topic. Westside Community Schools Special Services Department thanks you for your continued collaboration and partnership.