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National Center on Secondary Education and Transition

Transition Team Development and Facilitation

Tool 2: How to Determine Initial Roles, Responsibilities, and the Team Vision

The purpose of Tool 2 is to support team leaders and members in understanding their roles and responsibilities on interagency transition teams as initial meetings begin. Since roles and responsibilities are often decided as the vision and/or mission of the team becomes clearer, these two early stages of interagency transition planning are offered together in this Tool.

Contents of Tool 2

A. Creating a Vision & Mission Statement
Why/How do we create a vision and mission statement?
Sample activities to create a vision or mission statement

B. Deciding the Roles & Responsibilities of Each Member
What are team leaders’ and team members’ responsibilities?
How do team members learn their roles?

Applying the Nine Principles of Teaming to Tool 2
How to Apply Principle 1: Creating a Vision/Mission

Worksheets included in this tool: Team Member Checklist , Team Member Roles and Responsibilities Worksheet

A. Creating a Vision and Mission Statement

Why/How do we create a vision and mission statement?

Agencies and individuals joining an interagency transition team will enter the process with their own agency mission or personal vision in mind. For agencies, these may not be congruent, as agencies often have different missions. State interagency transition teams often start with a broad mission attuned to the goals of transition in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997. However, each state has the opportunity to refine this vision to meet its own unique needs. One of the first responsibilities of any team is to discuss, formulate, implement, and instill a method for evaluating its vision and mission statement(s).

The best way to create a team vision and mission statement in which the entire team will be invested and will want to succeed is to be sure all stakeholders are involved. This may cause the process to be much longer than the sample activity given below, but it will be worth the effort when the entire team is motivated to pursue a cohesive vision.

The team vision needs to be expressed as clearly as possible so that everyone on the team feels comfortable with it. This cannot be overemphasized because the vision will determine the interagency team’s organizational goals, partnerships, and the strategies it develops to meet objectives. In addition, a strong, concise mission statement will help outsiders understand the purpose of the interagency team and may offer compelling reasons for them to get involved.

Sample activities to create a vision or mission statement
Activity One
  1. In groups of five, take 20 minutes to discuss and identify key words and phrases of a “preferred future” for individuals with disabilities in transition from secondary school to adult living.
  2. In the same groups, take 20 minutes to draw a picture of the group’s “preferred future.” One person can draw, or everyone can contribute, but it needs to reflect the group’s ideas.
  3. Take 10 minutes to write one to three sentences using key words or phrases to describe your group’s “preferred” picture. This is the beginning of a team mission statement. The team can further clarify and refine this statement at follow-up meetings.
  4. Take about two minutes per small group and share the group’s “preferred” picture (collective vision) with the whole team, as well as the group’s statement describing the picture (beginning mission statement). Note any similarities in the drawings. At a later date, pull the words together into one mission statement.
Activity Two
  • Create a logo or coat of arms (a drawing of a shield to show pride in the team and mission);
  • Use cards with words or phrases created by team members to elicit visions and determine commonality; and
  • Orient new members to the vision and mission statement.
Activity Three

Team members may find this exercise useful to focus and sensitize themselves to the importance of a topic at any meeting:

  1. Give each team member an envelope and small sheet of paper.
  2. Have everyone list the major thoughts running through their minds unrelated to the mission (e.g., work, family, etc.).
  3. Put the paper in the envelope. Seal it with the member’s name on the front, and then ask team members to agree to forget about these thoughts until the meeting is over at the scheduled time. Or allow them to write their personal thoughts on sticky pads of paper for others to see and help them solve after the meeting is done.

B. Deciding the Roles and Responsibilities of the Team Leader and Each Member

What are team leaders’ and team members’ responsibilities?

Clearly, most state-level interagency transition teams will have as their leader the state transition coordinator. In some states, it may not be possible for these individuals to delegate some of their power. In this case, initial roles and responsibilities will simply be assigned by the team leader. However, this may change over time, and leaders should remember that the ideal team is more democratic than hierarchical in its functioning. For this reason, recommendations for practices and activities are given below.

As a team, the shared responsibilities of all members are to:

  • Decide on the mission to meet the transition services needs of the state’s students with disabilities;
  • Provide administrative leadership to develop and implement transition services across agencies;
  • Solve problems and eliminate barriers;
  • Establish policies and procedures for service delivery and coordination; and
  • Allocate personnel and funding resources to address needs.

Team responsibilities for efficient organization can include decisions about:

  • How often to meet;
  • Where to meet;
  • What happens between meetings;
  • Who’s responsible for keeping team members informed of team activities;
  • Who’s responsible for record-keeping at meetings;
  • Who’s responsible for keeping meetings on track and on time;
  • Who’s responsible for publicizing meetings;
  • Who’s responsible for ensuring meetings are publicized and run according to state law; and
  • Who’s responsible for informing the team about upcoming meetings and/or distributing information (e.g., agendas, minutes, etc.) to members ahead of time and providing materials in accessible formats.

Team responsibilities for solving issues and guiding the implementation of transition services include:

  1. Identifying community resources;
  2. Clarifying roles of service providers;
  3. Developing and updating interagency service agreements;
  4. Coordinating community awareness;
  5. Seeking new funding and supporting existing programs;
  6. Coordinating job development and placement among service providers;
  7. Developing strategies for overcoming barriers;
  8. Establishing a communication network among service providers;
  9. Coordinating staff development activities;
  10. Making research-based future projections;
  11. Sharing information related to employment of individuals with special needs;
  12. Identifying community needs in employment and adult services; and
  13. Assisting with program evaluation.

How do team members learn their roles?

Organizers of teams sometimes make the mistake of assuming team members automatically understand their roles and responsibilities. This is usually not the case. Two sample worksheets, “Team Member Roles and Responsibilities” and “Team Member Checklist,” are offered at the end of this section and are designed to help team members learn about their roles.

Applying the Principles of Teaming to Tool 2

How to Apply Principle 1: Reflecting a Shared Vision

Before conducting the activities in this Tool, team leaders should review the first Principle as a guide to good teaming practices. While this Principle is inherent in the activities provided above, revisiting why such activities are recommended may help you assure your team of the relevance of what you are doing, and lead ultimately to the team’s achieving better process and performance outcomes.

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.