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Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

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

  • Transition planning
  • Instruction geared to post-secondary 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

All staff members involved in the student's 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.

Parents and guardians are important and valued partners with students and school staff in identifying their child’s post-secondary 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.

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.

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.

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.

All High School students can 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. Read more about MCPS Graduation Requirements

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 or...
  • 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.

Click to read the Maryland COMAR Regulations for awarding a Maryland High School Certificate of Program Completion.

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

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.