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Office of Special Education Services

Services for students with disabilities
from birth through age 21

Transition Services Unit

Transition Services Unit
11721 Kemp Mill Road
Silver Spring, MD 20902

P: 301-649-8008
F: 301-649-8018

Ms. Simone Geness, Supervisor
Mrs. Margaret A. Parrott, Instructional Specialist

Staff Directory

Transition Services

The transition services unit provides stakeholders with the necessary resources, tools, supports and professional development needed to ensure students a successful transition into further education, employment, and full participation in their community.

Transition Planning Process

Transition services are a student centered planning process that is designed to meet the students educational, employment and independent living outcomes. These outcomes may include:

  • Postsecondary education
  • Job training
  • Employment (supported)
  • Continuing and Adult education
  • Adult services
  • Independent living
  • Community participation

A student's transition plan becomes a part of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process beginning at age 14 or younger, if appropriate. Transition planning is a process that should include the following:

  • Identifying the student's post-high school goals
  • Assessing the student's interests and abilities in relation to identified goals
  • Determining courses, experiences, and programs that will prepare the student to reach his/her goals
  • Supporting the student in transition-related activities
  • Determining the student's anticipated adult service needs
  • Linking the student and parent with potential adult services

Students receive an array of services to help them attain their identified post-secondary outcomes and to prepare them to be college, career and community ready. These services may include, but are not limited to; career education, career exploration, social skills and self-advocacy instruction,  career technology education, in-school and community work-based learning experiences, independent living skills instruction, and linkage to community agencies.

Transition Planning Parent Workshops

MCPS Transition Information for Parents and Students, Families of students with an IEP for Ages 14 to 21 - Interpreters available upon request. 

Sponsored by Montgomery County Public Schools Transition Services Unit. 

Questions? Please call MCPS Transition Services at (301) 649-8008

Parent Workshops: Date: Location:
Financial Planning and Guardianship: February 13, 2018   6:30-9:00 PM Walter Johnson HS
Employment Options for Students: April 26, 2018   6:30-8:30 PM Walter Johnson HS


Listed below are commonly used publications related to transition planning. These publications are organized according to their source - MCPS, Montgomery County, the State of Maryland, and National.

 MCPS Publications:

  • The Maryland State Department of Education Transition Planning Guide for Individuals with Disabilities provides information to students, parents/guardians, educators, and community agencies about the transition process. Although every student will have individualized transition goals and outcomes, this guide provides “preliminary” information about the requirements of the transition process under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) as well as recommended strategies and resources to acquire a positive outcome.
  • A booklet that describes MCPS Transition Services, certificate and diploma requirements, and suggestions on how to guide students, parents and educators on making the diploma/certificate decision.
  • A brochure that describes the goal of transition services and how these services are implemented in MCPS.
  • A brochure that describes how MCPS partners with the business community to provide training and employment opportunities for High School students with disabilities.
  • A directory that describes public and private agencies that support students with disabilities and their families.
  • A Web Site where students can download the Getting Set, Getting Started, an Getting Ready guides.
  • A transition checklist for students with disabilities and their families.

 County Publications:

 National Publications:

  • The HEATH Resource Center of The George Washington University, Graduate School of Education and HumanDevelopment, is the National Clearinghouse on Postsecondary Education for Individuals with Disabilities.
  •  Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR): Central resource of information and products for families of children with disabilities.

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Frequently Asked Questions

 1. What is transition planning?

Transition planning is the process of implementing a coordinated set of activities that is designed to help a student with disabilities reach his/her identified outcomes.


 2. What are Outcomes?

Outcomes are the post-school activities toward which the student is working. The IEP team may identify more than one outcome for a student. There are four identified outcomes in the transition section of the Individualized Education Program:

  • Employment
  • Training
  • Education
  • Independent Living 

 3. When does transition planning occur?

Transition planning first becomes a formal part of the IEP during the school year in which the student turns 14, or younger, if appropriate.

 4. What services may students receive?

Students may receive an array of services including, but not limited to the following:

  • Transition planning
  • Instruction geared to postsecondary school outcomes
  • Career education and career exploration
  • Social skills and self-advocacy instruction
  • Career Technology Education courses
  • In-school and community work-based learning experiences
  • Independent living skills instruction (activities of daily living and transportation training)
  • Linkages to community agencies

 5. Who provides these services?

All staff involved in the students educational program are responsible for preparing students to achieve their post-secondary and employment goals. Special responsibility is assigned to the Transition Support Teacher (TST) who coordinates the transition planning process.

 6.What are anticipated postsecondary services?

Each year, as part of the transition plan, the IEP team identifies the services the student may need during the first year following their exit from school. Students must meet eligibility criteria in order to receive services.

 7. How are students linked to post-school services?

Starting at age 14, or earlier if appropriate, the IEP team should discuss and plan linkages to post-school services as part of the transition planning process.

 8. What is the difference between entitlement and eligibility systems?

A free and appropriate public education (FAPE) for individuals with disabilities is an entitlement from birth until the end of the school year in which the student earns their diploma or turns 21 years old. In order to receive post-secondary services and support, a student must apply and be found eligible based on the providing agency's referral protocol.

 9. Which students earn a Maryland High School diploma?

All High School students receive a Maryland High School diploma based upon successful fulfillment of four categories of requirements:  enrollment, course credit, student service learning (SSL) and Maryland assessments.

 10. Which students earn a Maryland High School Certificate of Program Completion?

The Maryland High School Certificate is awarded to students with disabilities who cannot meet the requirements for a diploma, but who meet one of the following standards:

  • The student is enrolled in an education program for at least 4 years beyond grade 8, or its age equivalent, and is determined by an IEP team, with the agreement of the parents of the student with disabilities, to have developed appropriate skills for the individual to enter the world of work, act responsibly as a citizen, and enjoy a fulfilling life; including but not limited to: gainful employment, post-secondary education and training, supported employment, and other services integrated in the community 
  • The student has been enrolled in an education program for 4 years beyond grade 8, or its age equivalent, and will have reached age 21 by the end of the student's current school year.

The final decision to award a student with disabilities a Maryland High School Certificate of Program Completion will not be made until after the beginning of the student's last year in high school.

 11. Can students who receive a Maryland Certificate of Program Completion prior to age 21 re-enroll?

Yes. IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) allows for continuation of educational services to student with disabilities up to age 21.


12. Can students who graduate with a high school certificate apply to college?  


Yes. Students who graduate with a certificate may apply for admissions to any Maryland community college, such as Montgomery College. Students should contact the admissions office of the college for specific school requirements.


13. How are parents involved in the transition planning process? 


Parents and guardians are important and valued partners with students and school staff in identifying their child’s postsecondary outcomes, planning the school program, and determining the adult service needs. Parents obtain information on available services through parent meetings and participating in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) planning process.

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County Resource Contacts

Listed below is the contact information for resources in the county that are commonly used for transition planning.

  •  Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS): The DHHS website describes services available to residents of Montgomery County. The Aging and Disability link describes programs and services available to older adults and people with disabilities in Montgomery County. 240-777-1246
  •  Montgomery College and Disability Support Services: Montgomery college websites that describes degree, certificate, and Continuing Education programs. Disability Support Services link describes support services and eligibility requirements. 301-279-5058
  •  Montgomery County Department of Recreation: Department of Recreations website that lists programs, registration information, and more. 240-777-6800
  •  Montgomery Works: Montgomery Works provides a One-Stop Online delivery system that simplifies access to workforce-related services. 301-929-6880

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State and Federal Resource Contacts

Listed below is the contact information for resources in the state of Maryland that are commonly used for transition planning.

  • The Department of Rehabilitation Services provides short term funding to programs for individuals with disabilities found eligible to meet employment and independence goals. Provision of services is based on funding availability. Call 301-949-3750.
  • The Developmental Disabilities Administration provides long term funding for individuals eligible for adult day, residential, or support services for individuals with developmental disabilities to work and live as independently as possible in the community. Eligibility is based on priority, availability of needed services and funding, and acceptance by the agency of the client’s application. Call 301-362-5100.
  • The Mental Hygiene Administration provides services through the Public Mental Health System. Individuals and families must meet eligibility criteria. Call 1-800-888-1965
  • The Social Security website provides comprehensive information on federally funded disability benefits programs. Call 1-800-772-1213.
  • The Maryland State Department of Education website provides information and resources for parents, students, and educators.
  • The Parents' Place of Maryland is a non-profit family-centered organization that provides information about workshops and services, publications, and resources to enhance the lives of persons with disabilities.
  • coordinates national resources, offers technical assistance, and disseminates information related to secondary education and transition for youth to achieve sucessful futures.
  • is a national technical assistance and dissemination center funded through December 31, 2010.
  • is a source for information about employment and youth with disabilities.
  • This web site is designed to provide resources and tools for students, families and professionals about college option for people with intellectual disabilities.
  • Provides a collection of resources and information related to transition planning, postsecondary education, employment services an much more for youth with disabilities, parents, and professionals.
  • A guide to help families find college courses, infromation on scholarships, and other forms of financial aide.
  • Information on Metro reduced fair card and Metro Access.

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