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National Center on Secondary Education and Transition

Transition Team Development and Facilitation


Purpose of This Essential Tool

The purpose of this Essential Tool is to assist state-level transition coordinators and others responsible for forming, conducting, and evaluating the performance of interagency transition teams that are focused upon the school and postschool needs of youth with disabilities. This Essential Tool is designed to guide the coordination efforts of people working at the grassroots level up through the state government. This Essential Tool will assist state interagency transition teams to operate in an efficient and successful manner. In turn, this Essential Tool will help guide your work toward the primary purpose of an interagency transition team: to improve postschool outcomes for youth with disabilities who are transitioning from secondary school to adult living.

This interagency transition team Essential Tool will help state transition coordinators and other current or potential interagency team facilitators learn:

  1. Why it is valuable to form and use an interagency transition team;
  2. The purpose of an interagency transition team;
  3. What an interagency transition team does;
  4. The roles and responsibilities interagency transition team leaders/facilitators and members need to follow to fulfill their duties;
  5. Who should serve on an interagency transition team and how to select members;
  6. The most opportune times for interagency transition teams to do their work;
  7. Where various interagency transition teams fit into state, district and local systems;
  8. How to solve problems regarding typical transition issues encountered within the team; and
  9. How to evaluate the activities, actions, and value of an interagency transition team.

The authors hope that this Essential Tool will help teams better form, organize, plan, prepare, conduct, and follow-up interagency transition team efforts. We include multiple tools that are designed to assist leaders in meeting these objectives on each point of this path.

Who Should Use This Essential Tool?

This Essential Tool is intended to assist current and future interagency team leaders and members to establish, conduct, and evaluate their teams. While state-level transition coordinators and their teams are the Tool’s target audience, information presented is also useful to those working at the regional and/or local levels to support individuals with disabilities in transition from secondary school to adult roles.

People interested in the formation, implementation, and evaluation of interagency transition teams might include:

  • State education agency transition coordinators;
  • Adult service providers working with transition-aged youth;
  • Departments of vocational rehabilitation, health, and human services;
  • Local education agencies;
  • Parents of youth with disabilities;
  • Persons involved in the transition planning portion of the Individualized Education Program (IEP);
  • Workforce development agencies;
  • Advocacy organizations;
  • General education personnel;
  • Special education personnel;
  • Specialized schools (e.g., schools for the blind or deaf);
  • Social Security Administration; and
  • Postsecondary education institutions.

Because states have different structures and needs, team leaders will want to examine options that best represent the interest or focus for their own interagency transition team. One commonality among states is that there are usually three groups who are served by interagency transition teams: state-level agencies, district-level support personnel, and school-level personnel who work with family members and students. While working at these levels, teams have found the following activities to be beneficial, depending upon the focus of their settings, roles, and responsibilities:

  • Developing cross-agency policies or addressing policy barriers to facilitate transition from secondary school to postschool roles (state level);
  • Developing procedures and guidelines to utilize interagency transition policies in local schools (district level); and
  • Working with individual students during IEP meetings and other interagency transition meetings to identify appropriate postschool options (such as college, employment, or community living situations) (school/student planning level).

How to Use This Essential Tool

This Essential Tool is designed for practical use by people responsible for forming, conducting, and evaluating interagency transition teams. It is intended to generate ideas and offer suggestions and potential solutions to assist an interagency transition team in meeting its objectives.

The remainder of Section I offers background information about why interagency transition teams exist. The following section introduces the nine Principles of Teaming – a set of guiding concepts that we believe are fundamental to interagency transition team success. Subsequent to this, readers will find four “tools” intended as “how-to” guides for starting, conducting, and evaluating interagency transition teams. Each of these tools includes sequenced steps, “pull-out” worksheets, and suggested practices. Each tool also seeks to apply the nine Principles of Teaming as presented in the preface to Section III. Section IV offers effective practice summaries using activities from model interagency transition teams in four states. Finally, additional resources (i.e., references and Web sites) are included as these may be helpful for team leaders in building and maintaining an interagency transition team.

The authors hope that this Essential Tool will underscore the value of interagency teams, demonstrate how these teams can work to bring together family members and agency representatives, and emphasize how interagency teams may prepare for, improve, and coordinate services for youth with disabilities in transition.

Table of Contents

Cover Page


Background on Interagency Transition Teams

Four Tools for Interagency Transition Teams
Overview/Introductory Tool: Using Teaming Principles to Guide Your Work
Tool 1: How to Build an Effective Interagency Transition Team
Tool 2: How to Determine Initial Roles, Responsibilities, and the Team Vision
Tool 3: How to Conduct Interagency Transition Team Meetings
Tool 4: Knowing if Your Interagency Transition Team is On-Track and Meeting its Goals

Examples of Evidence-Based Models of Interagency Transition Teams


Additional Resources

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Citation: Stodden, R. A., Brown, S. E., Galloway, L. M., Mrazek, S., & Noy, L. (2004). Essential tools: Interagency transition team development and facilitation. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration, National Center on Secondary Education and Transition.

Permission is granted to duplicate this publication in its entirety or portions thereof. Upon request, this publication will be made available in alternative formats. For additional copies of this publication, or to request an alternate format, please contact: Institute on Community Integration Publications Office, 109 Pattee Hall, 150 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, (612) 624-4512, icipub@umn.edu.

This document was published by the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET). NCSET is supported through a cooperative agreement #H326J000005 with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the U.S. Department of Education Programs, and no official endorsement should be inferred. The University of Minnesota, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition are equal opportunity employers and educators.