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Office of Special Education Services

Services for students with disabilities
from birth through age 21

Contact Information

11721 Kemp Mill Road
Silver Spring, MD 20902

Phone: 301-649-8008

Fax: 301-649-8018

Ms. Simone Geness, Supervisor

Staff Directory

TST 2015-2016 Roster 

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.


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Transition Planning Parent Workshops

Next Steps Adult Services: Representatives from state agencies will present information about the Transitioning Youth process for eligible students.  Local adult agencies will present information regarding the services they provide to eligible graduates. 

Next Steps Montgomery College:  Representatives from Montgomery College will provide general information about MC.  Overviews will be presented on Disability Support Services, credit and non-credit programs.

Guardianship:  Legal representatives will present information on guardianship: what is guardianship; how to obtain guardianship, and some alternatives to guardianship.

Financial Planning:  Financial representatives will present information on how to plan financially for the future with a child with a disability; other topics discussed will be special needs trusts and the ABLE Act.

Post-Secondary and Employment:  Representatives from Post-Secondary institutions and local businesses will share information, tools and resources to assist students transitioning to school to post-secondary education or employment.

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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:

County Publications:

National Publications:

  • HEATH 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.

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