Domain 4: Secondary Academic Programs

Secondary Academic Programs must align academic standards with transition skills.  Special Education teachers have been required to address transitions at the secondary level as mandated by Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  Morningstar, Bassett, Kochhar-Bryant, Cashman & Wehmeyer (2012) recommend special education teachers to collaborate with general education staff so that secondary school reforms are based on transitions best practices and values.  The article emphasizes the importance of teaching transition skills within the regular education setting, so that all students can better prepare for their futures. Bartholomew, Papay,  McConnell & Cease-Cook (2015) provides two options for embedding transition content in academic-based classes: start with the academic skills and find ways to incorporate related transition skills or determine a transition skill needed to be addressed and identify the related academic skills or standards.  Either option will teach students the skills they need (both academic and transition) to be better prepared for their future.  
In addition to blending academics and transitions, it is important to consider the access available to rigorous general education curriculum.  As more schools move towards college and career readiness, placement of students with disabilities in general education classes is becoming more important to preparing them for life after high school.  Bateman (2014) stresses the importance of inclusion and only using alternative placement on the continuum if, even with supports, students cannot make progress in the regular education curriculum.  Appropriate supports must be in place for inclusion to work.  Schools should provide training on differentiated instruction, the co-teaching model, and how to provide accommodations in the class as well as provide time for general education and special education staff time to collaborate.  According to Schumaker, Deschler, Bulgreen, Davis, Lenz & Grossen (2002), the majority of students with disabilities are not being included in the regular education classroom. The article discusses the lack of opportunities for students to be placed in regular education classes and the lack of effective teaching practices being used for students with disabilities.  The study found that classes in the special education setting were often operated more like study halls and did not use research-based instructional methods to engage students with disabilities.  Bartholomew & Griffin (2018) discuss one of these methods: Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The checklist allows for teachers to develop accessible curriculum and reflect on how to teach transitions skills to ensure post-school success for all students.  Therefore, with the right supports in place, schools can increase inclusion in the general education setting where academic and transition skills should be blended through engaging teacher practices to promote post-school success.



These artifacts are a collection of coursework completed in SPED 857, 861 and 756 as well as resources that I have used within my district.  These artifacts are aligned to the following transitions competencies:


4.1 Adapt or alter the general curriculum for students with disabilities

Lesson Plan with Embedded Transitions & Accommodations

Supports 4.1 & 4.2

This artifact is a sample lesson plan completed for SPED 861 that demonstrates how to embed transitions into the content as well as how to plan for adapting content for students with disabilities.  The lesson plan is based on two case study students and a text about bottled water.  As you can see in the lesson plan there is a section for embedded transition skills as well as modifications/accommodations.  Additionally, the activities are designed to align with best practices for Universal Design Learning in terms of engagement, representation, and action and expression.  Using UDL practices throughout the lesson plan, leads to more opportunities for students to develop the aligned transitions skills associated with these practices.

Mapping Common Core & Transitions Domain

Supports 4.2

Regular education teachers are generally overwhelmed with how they are going to fit something else into their rigorous curriculum.  Transitions domains and competencies are something that teachers naturally incorporate into their classroom without even realizing it.  This is often done with applying content to real-world scenarios or through extended projects. 
This artifact is a group assignment from SPED 861 in which we had to design an activity that was aligned to common core standards and addressed a transitions domain.  My group was assigned Independent Living and I chose to focus on Math since that is predominantly what I provide services in.  One of my examples to address Geometry standard CO.A.3 was for students to reorganize an apartment so all the furniture can still fit in the available space.  This helps students not only learn the concept and the relevance of rotations and reflections, but to experience how to set up living arrangements effectively.  This artifact was a great way to demonstrate how transitions can be embedded into any content class.

Career Development, Activities, Services Prezi

Supports 4.2 & 4.4

This Prezi was created for SPED 857 and includes activities that occur in the district as well as classroom curriculum for the three stages of transitions: career awareness, career exploration, and career preparation.  The presentation demonstrates how transitions content can be embedded into general education curriculum (4.2).  The presentation focuses on the perspective of my school district and how we incorporate transition programs and content into the school. (4.4) as well as my reflection on how we are doing as a district and what needs to be improved.

IEP Goals

Supports 4.3

"Transition should drive the entire IEP process" (Gage, 2015).  In addition to including measurable post-secondary goals on Form C, it is important to make sure that transitions is embedded through the whole IEP.  This artifact is a sample annual IEP goal page for a 9th grader who has a transition plan.  In the comments section, I have linked how the academic IEP goals are related or important for the student's post-secondary goals.    Using this practice has forced me to reflect on selecting annual IEP goals that are truly meaningful for the student and their post-school outcome.  It also has been a powerful way of showing the students how what they are doing now in school will help them achieve their goals.

Transition Policy Implementation Prezi

Supports 4.1 & 4.4

This Prezi was created for SPED 756 and demonstrates how my district implements transition practices and programming.  In addition to career preparation and work based learning, the presentation includes information on the continuum of services used at the district and how services are provided at the secondary level.  It also addresses how the general curriculum is adapted or made more accessible for students with disabilities. This presentation gives good insight into the current special education model, including transitions services, used at my district (4.4).

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College & Career Competency Framework

Last year I participated in Assertiveness training through MO Post-Secondary Success which uses the College & Career Competency Framework developed by Drs. Gaumer Erickson & Noonan in 2013 through KU Research.  I was able to provide information from this training as well as other competencies by sharing resources with the Grade Level Team Leaders.  These lessons are now either used within the regular content classes or used during Advisory time.  This resource is a great way of bringing transitions skills into the content classes. (Supports 4.2).

Summary of Performance (SOP)

The Summary of Performance is required for all students who graduate or age out and provides "the child with a summary of the child’s academic achievement and functional performance, which shall include recommendations on how to assist the child in meeting the child’s postsecondary goals” (20 USC 1414(c)(5)(B)(ii)).  When completing the SOP, I complete an exit interview with the student so they can provide additional information and so they can confidently advocate for their accommodations at the next level (4.7).  This document is what the Office of Disability Services refers to when creating accommodations plan for college (4.5).  

Post-Secondary Education Brochure

This brochure (also used in Domain 3) provides students and families information about their accommodations and supports in post-secondary education and training.  This helps students plan for accommodations in post-secondary setting (4.5).  The information in this document, created for SPED 861, was collected from interviews with Disability Support Services staff at a local community college and at a local 4-year university. For this domain, I have also included my written reflection, which includes more specific information regarding how to better prepare students for accessing accommodations in post-secondary institutions.

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State/District Accommodations

This artifact (also used for Domain 2) includes accommodations for all students for State and District Tests (4.6).  The document is based on information from Form D and Form E in the IEP.  This master roster makes it more accessible for counselors and testing coordinators to make arrangements for students with accommodations.

ACT Special Testing

This artifact was used in Domain 2, but it also demonstrates how I provide and coordinate accommodations for standardized testing (4.6)  Our district offers students the opportunity to take the ACT three times (2 National and 1 District Administration).  I am the designated Special Testing Coordinator and responsible for submitting application and appropriate paperwork for students to be approved for accommodations on the ACT.  I also am responsible for administering the ACT for students who receive Special Testing Accommodations (double time, read aloud (human or audio recording), and multiple day testing).  This artifact is the approval letter students receive and details possible accommodations students can receive.

Student Accommodation Emails

In order to better prepare students to self-advocate for their accommodations and needs post-school (4.7), I recommend my students to send emails to their teachers at the beginning of the semester.  In these emails they introduce themselves, discuss a strength, a personal area of growth, and their post-secondary goal, and they list some of their accommodations and modifications they need in the classroom.  This helps to remind teachers about accommodations and for students to practice making connections with their teachers and self-advocating for their needs. This artifact includes some student email examples



Bartholomew, A., Papay, C., McConnell, A., & Cease-Cook, J. (2015). Embedding Secondary Transition in the Common                       Core State Standards. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 47(6), 329-335.

Bartholomew, A. L., & Griffin, N. (2018). Using a Universal Design for Learning Checklist to Teach Secondary Transition                        Skills. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 41(4), 245–251.

Bateman, D. F., & Bateman, C. F. (2014). A principal's guide to special education (pp. 85-97). Arlington, VA: Council for  .                        Exceptional Children

Gage, M. (2015, October). Transitions-Based IEPs. Transitions-Based IEPs. Talk Presented at University of Central Missouri,                Lee’s Summit, MO.

Gaumer Erickson, A., & Noonan, P. (2013). College & Career Competencies Framework Resources. Retrieved November                     16, 2019, from

Grossi, T. & Cole, C. (2013). Teaching transition skills in inclusive schools. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing Company.

Kotowski, J. (2018). The Individual Education Plan (IEP): Sample Student: Guadalupe Centers Charter School District. 

Kotowski, J.  (2018, October 7). Career Technology Education/Career Pathways. Career Development for Youth SPED 857.               University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.

Kotowski, J. (2019). The Summary of Performance (SOP): Sample Student: Guadalupe Centers Charter School District. 

Kotowski, J.  (2019, March 3). Running Project. Special Education Leadership SPED 756. University of Kansas, Lawrence,                     KS.

Kotowski, J.  (2019, July 26). Developing a Lesson Plan. Blending Academics and Transition SPED 861. University                                    of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.

Kotowski, J.  (2019, July 29). Access to Post-Secondary Education and Training. Blending Academics and Transition                               SPED 861. University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.

Kotowski, J.  (2019, July 29). Mapping Common Core and Transition Domains. Blending Academics and Transition                                 SPED 861. University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.

Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education. (2007). Missouri Summary of Performance Sample Form.                      Adapted from Wisconsin DPI, CESA #11. November 27, 2007.

Morningstar, M. E., Bassett, D. S., Kochhar-Bryant, C., Cashman, J., & Wehmeyer, M. L. (2012). Aligning Transition Services                       With Secondary Education Reform: A Position Statement of the Division on Career Development and Transition.                   Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 35(3), 132–142.

Schumaker, J. B., Deschler, D.D., Bulgreen, J. A, Davis, B., Lenz, B.K, & Grossen, B. (2002). Access of adolescents with                              disabilities to general education curriculum: Myth or Reality?  Focus on exceptional children, 35 (3) , 1-16


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