GPAEA Secondary Transition Bulletin

Resources for Secondary Transition 2020-2021

April 2021

GPAEA Transition Coordinators

Kate Cole

Michelle Ryan


Which document will best help students advocate for their needs after graduation?


When a student graduates or ages out, the school district and/or AEA, depending upon the services provided, must provide a summary of the student’s academic achievement and functional performance, including recommendations on how to assist the student in meeting his/her post-secondary goals.

Either a Summary for Postsecondary Living, Learning, and Working form, or a Support for Accommodation Request form (SAR) must be completed to meet this requirement. The Summary for Post-Secondary Living, Learning and Working should be completed using family-friendly language.

Support for Accommodation Request (SAR)

The SAR is used for students who may be enrolling in postsecondary education to determine eligibility for services and to begin the conversation about the accommodations at the college level that will help the student advocate for their learning needs.

Student Written Response: Statement of Goals

The purpose of the student written response is to engage the student in the process of his or her transition and self-determination. This could be worked on throughout the senior year, with revisions made at the time of graduation, if needed.

Summary of the Postsecondary Living, Learning and Working (SOP)

The SOP is a summary of the student’s academic achievement and functional performance, including recommendations on how to support the student in the workplace. It provides students with a brief detailed overview of the supports and services received in high school as well as recommended linkages in preparation for the student’s targeted post-secondary expectations.


How are you preparing students for the workplace?

Students can prepare for the world of work by exploring job related interests and preferences, researching careers related to those areas, and determining the supports that might be needed in that career field. The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues.

The website is helpful for determining accommodations needed in various worksites or professions, based on specific diagnoses or needs.


How do you teach soft skills to prepare students for Work?

Soft skills are non-technical skills related to the workplace that transfer across work settings, such as leadership, teamwork, communicating and listening, critical thinking and problem solving, and making connections across complex ideas. The ability to demonstrate such skills may make or break a student’s chances of success in the workplace!

One instructional resource, "Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success," is a curriculum designed to teach "soft" or workforce readiness skills to students, including students with disabilities. Created as an introduction to workplace interpersonal and professional skills, the curriculum is targeted for students ages 14 to 21 in both in-school and out-of-school environments. The program includes modular, hands-on, engaging activities that focus on six key skill areas: communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism. The videos could be viewed as a class, with great discussion about how and how not to engage in the workplace.


March 2021

Exploring Work Related Interests

Student’s interests and preferences should relate to the student’s postsecondary expectations for living, learning, and working. Helping students identify and leverage their strengths, interests and preferences can lead to more self-awareness and self-advocacy. To help students determine their own strengths, interests and preferences the use of interest inventories is a valuable tool.

Consider these questions:

What career areas interest the student at this time?

Does the student’s interests and preferences align with his/her career cluster?

Does the student’s interests and preferences align with his/her postsecondary expectations for learning and working?

Students can take a Career Assessment to learn about themselves. These interest inventories will give them career suggestions based on their interests. These tools allow students to use the results from the interest inventories to explore career options. You might also utilize the interest inventory and career exploration tools within your schools Career Information System (i.e., Naviance, Kuder Navigator, Virtual Job Shadow, etc.).

My Next Move

Career Coach


How can you help prepare students for the workplace?

In conjunction with Intermediary Network and Vocational Rehabilitation Staff, you can help prepare students for the world of work by engaging in the Five Pre-ETS Services, which include: 1) Job Exploration Counseling 2) Work Based Learning (WBL) 3) Counseling on Opportunities for Enrollment in Comprehensive Transition or Post-Secondary Education Programs at Institutions of Higher Education 4) Workplace Readiness Training to Develop Social Skills and Independent Living 5) Instruction in Self-Advocacy.

The Pre Employment Transition Services (PreETS), created from WINTAC’s CRP Pre-ETS Guidebook: strategies for community rehabilitation providers to collaborate on Pre-ETS, defines basic Pre-ETS services, shares examples of activities in each of the service areas, and provides a variety of tools and resources to assist students in developing their Post Secondary Expectations for Working.

Many students have success stories to share! Listen to Sarah’s experiences in her workplace. What do you hear her say about what working means to her?


ACTE Work Based Learning Conference

To learn more about best practices in work-based learning from across the country, check out the ACTE Work Based Learning Conference with over 40 WBL topics presented live over zoom to virtual participants.

April 29-30

Des Moines Area Community College

See a schedule of other learning opportunities here!


February 2021

How do you gather the “right” information to answer questions about a student’s skills and needs in living, learning, and working?

When working through the assessment process related to transition, it would be helpful to utilize the RIOT process. RIOT stands for Review, Interview, Observation, and Task/Tool/Test. When utilizing RIOT, it is good to evaluate the Setting, Curriculum, Instruction, and Learner performance within each area (as needed). One should also consider collaboration with the student, other teachers, other relevant staff, parents or caregivers, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services, and/or other community providers. Specific tools to help implement RIOT are available on the RIOT/SCIL matrix, linked within R2L RIOT for Secondary Transition.

A few RIOT examples to consider:

Record Review: grades, attendance, office referrals, standardized assessment results, previous IEPs/goal progress

Interview: student, family, teacher, para, administrator, bus driver

Observation: variety of settings (school, work, home), times

Test/Task/Tool: progress monitoring, skills inventories, complete work task, work evaluations


Coming Soon!

Navigating the Transition Process

March 2021

To register:

The goal of this hybrid/blended workshop is to help educators and families broaden their understanding of the special education secondary transition process in Iowa and how to participate effectively.

Participants will receive the Iowa Transition Modules that include:

• Road to Discovery: Transition to Adult Living, Learning and Working

• From Disability to Possibility: The Power of High Expectations in Transition Planning

• Exploring and Preparing for Work as an Adult

• Taking the Next Step: Planning for Success in Postsecondary Education.

Participants will also be provided information and resources through local community service provider panel presentations.

#168618 GP - Navigating the Transition Process for Educators and Families


Intermediary Network (IN)

The Intermediary Network engages Iowa students in learning how content in the classroom connects to industry, while providing some foundational career exploration pieces for students.

Make sure you look into a new series launching this month called Build University to highlight a specific career in the trades through industry professional panel discussions each month. Each trade-related career path will also offer an industry tour later in the week.

As a reminder educators can register to attend the event live or register to automatically receive the recording of the event to share with students learning from home or to show students in their classroom. All prior events are available on the digital resources page and available on-demand for the video to be downloaded.

All of the statewide Intermediary events are free. The Intermediary Network is committed to providing resources to educators and students in a statewide platform to increase equitable access to ensure valuable work-based learning opportunities. For more individualized work-based learning opportunities and connections within your region, make sure you connect with your regional Intermediary. Each Intermediary is working diligently to generate additional opportunities within their region for area schools.

See the full schedule of learning opportunities here!


January 2021

Quality Secondary Transition Tools

How do IEP teams assure that the transition planning process is implemented for students?

How do IEP teams assure that the quality transition services provided to students are documented in the IEP?

The Conversational Rubric can be utilized to help IEP teams engage students in the transition planning process, and the IEP Checklist can be used as a self-reflection or peer review tool as the IEP team plans for the meeting and documents information on the IEP.


DE/LEA/IDB/IVRS Collaboration Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Kirsten Lane (IDoE), Keri Osterhaus (IDB) and Mary Jackson (IVRS) worked together to create a document that responds to the questions they most frequently receive, regarding the collaboration of schools and VR. This document will be linked on all three of their agency websites. This is a good resource document that defines many transition related topics and answers many questions, and can help support our work with transition partners in the schools! Share with your educational partners and use as a reference.


Upcoming Learning Opportunities

Are you looking to broaden your understanding of the special education secondary transition process in Iowa and how to participate effectively?

Are you looking for amazing information while earning a participation or renewal credit?

Then the Navigating the Transition Process course is for you!

See the full schedule (and other learning opportunities) here!


December 2020

Iowa Community of Practice

Webinars will be returning in 2021 and will be kicking off the new year beginning Tuesday, January 19th from 1-2:30pm with Get Agile & Lean in the New Year (and they don't mean your waistline)!

The year is set up with a great lineup of topics and speakers! Webinars are scheduled for the third Tuesday of the month, from 1:00-2:00pm, so be sure to save the dates!

Registration will be required for each webinar in order to receive connection information. Links for each session's registration are available within the schedule, and will also be sent out to the mailing list along with reminders prior to the webinar. If you are not a member of the mailing list and would like to be, email Jessica Kreho at

See the full schedule (and other learning opportunities) here!


How do you help students identify their strengths, interests, and preferences (SIPs)?

SIPs are typically gained through an interview with the student, while parents and educators may have helpful information to add, as well. For students who communicate in ways other than verbal responses, observations may provide valuable information about what they enjoy and prefer. Many students need a more structured approach to identify their SIPs, such as inventories and assessments. SIPs should be used to solidify career interest areas to explore possibilities for work, as well as hobbies or to do during free time. For example, a student may enjoy and have skills in auto mechanics, but not want to pursue that as a job area as she is more interested in working with animals as a career.

The R2L Support for Secondary Transition (created by the Iowa Department of Education and the Area Education Agencies) includes a list of inventories/surveys that are helpful for identifying SIPs when developing a student’s career plan.


Ready for a break and a New Year?

We wish you all a relaxing break and hope that you are rejuvenated and ready to return to school in 2021! Here is a short video with a few ideas to help you prepare for the upcoming break. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your GPAEA Transition Coordinator for transition related resources and conversations - we are here to support you!


November 2020

Determining Post Secondary Expectations

As teams work together to determine Post Secondary Expectations for students, consider the skills that will be needed in the next setting (living, learning, or working). In order to identify essential skills needed in each of the postsecondary environments, explore the documents within the Return 2 Learn Plan (R2L) section: Resources to Support Transition Planning with Iowa Transition Model.

Consider the level of independence and support the student will need, by asking the following questions:

Will the student live independently, semi-independently, or fully supervised?

Will the student need on-the-job training, 1- or 2- year vocational training, or 4-year college?

Will the student work independently or need supports in the workplace?

Use the documents linked to help plan for students’ individualized Post-Secondary Expectations!


Iowa Secondary Transition Learning Community (ISTLC)

The Iowa Secondary Transition Learning Community (ISTLC) is a site designed for educators in Iowa to access Secondary Transition related information, webinars, and resources. The 101 series is a set of 4 webinars created to help IEP teams work through the process of secondary transition planning for students.

These webinars are for new-to-transition staff, or as a refresher for all staff. The first session entitled What Is Secondary Transition?, includes a recorded presentation and aligned materials. Check it out to learn more about implementing the 6 Critical Elements, Iowa College & Career Definition, Flowchart of the Transition Process, and the Living Learning Working Chart while working with students.


Upcoming Trainings and Conferences - see full list here!


October 2020

How do we know what skills to teach in Living, Learning, or Working?

The Iowa Model of Transition leads IEP teams through this process!To meet student’s needs, IEP teams should:

1. Determine what skills will be needed in the next setting (living, learning, or working) for the student’s Post Secondary Expectation.

2. Determine what skills the student currently has, in relation to the Post Secondary Expectation.

3. Complete a Gap Analysis to know what needs to be taught.


The newly released Iowa IDEA Information (I3) site has all of the Secondary Transition Information in one location!

Here you’ll find Guidance, Resources, and Procedures regarding:

    • Secondary Transition Planning

    • IEP Documentation

    • 4+ Services

    • Age of Majority


September 2020

How can you and your IEP team members individualize these supports for students?

Within the R2L Support for Secondary Transition that was created by the Iowa Department of Education and the Area Education Agencies, there are many helpful resources and guiding documents to assist IEP teams in providing transition services through the continuum of on-site to virtual learning. One particular document that may be helpful to educators while planning the Course of Study for students is the Guiding Questions and Considerations for Developing the Course of Study. IEP teams could use this document while considering general education courses, electives, activities, linkages necessary to prepare the student for PSEs relative to living, learning, and working.


Free Transition to Adulthood Webinars

Child Health Specialty Clinics, the Regional Autism Assistance Program, Stead Family Children’s Hospital, the Center for Disabilities and Development, and the DD Council is sponsoring a series of Transition to Adulthood webinars. This webinar series is designed for Iowa parents, legal guardians, and caregivers of transition-aged youth (12-21 yrs). The attached flyer provides additional information on topics, presenters, dates, and times. Also attached is a social media post. Please share with anyone you think might be interested. Registration information is below:

To register or watch recorded sessions, visit

For questions contact:

Diane Brenneman at or 319-356-8637 Rachell Swanson-Holm or 515-955-8326


Great Prairie Family & Educator Partnership (FEP) Coordinators

Kelly Wallace and Annette Clarahan work to develop and sustain effective partnerships between families, educators, and community providers to promote success for all children and youth with disabilities. They work with parents, educators, and local school districts to provide FEP programs, services, and activities, and are a great resource for important information related to special education services.

Annette Clarahan

641-682-8691 x 5517

Kelly Wallace

319-753-6561 x 3034

Check out their website for more great information!

GPAEA Transition Coordinators

Kate Cole

319-753-6561 x 3022

Michelle Ryan

641-682-8591 x 5359

GPAEA Secondary Transition

Big picture


Great Prairie Area Education Agency works as an educational partner with public and accredited, nonpublic schools to help students, school staff, parents and communities. Great Prairie AEA provides professional development and leadership to promote school improvement, a variety of instructional services, special education support services, and technology and media services. It is the policy of the Great Prairie Education Agency not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, creed, age (for employment), marital status (for programs), sexual orientation, gender identity and socioeconomic status (for programs) in its educational programs and its employment practices. There is a grievance procedure for processing complaints of discrimination. If you have questions or a grievance related to this policy please contact Greg Manske, 3601 West Avenue, Burlington, IA 52601, (319) 753-6561 x1217, (employment practices) or Dr. Angelisa Fynaardt, 2814 N. Court Road, Ottumwa, IA 52501, (641) 682-8591 x5311, (educational programs).