Transition Time Transition Outcomes Project Comes to Virginia

by Dale Pennell, C.A.S.

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) recently identified the Secondary Transition Outcomes Project as one of 13 priority initiatives in special education for the 2003-04 school year. One important purpose of Virginia's adoption of the Transition Outcomes Project (VTOP) is to help public secondary schools meet IDEA transition requirements in a systematic and sustainable manner that increases graduation rates and improves post-school outcomes for students with disabilities. To support initiation of the project, VDOE has committed resources for a statewide team of T/TAC personnel (VTOP TEAM) to assist in training and in implementing the project. Here's how VTOP works.

* For the first cohort, a school division volunteers to participate and chooses one middle school and one
high school that would like to be involved.

* Each of the two schools selects a team to implement the VTOP project. VDOE recommends that each
school team include:

  • The principal (or another administrator who has responsibility for special education)

  • A special educator

  • A general educator

  • The guidance director (or another guidance counselor who has special responsibility for students

    with disabilities)

  • The transition specialist who serves the school

  • A liaison from the school division's central office who has responsibility for transition services

  • Representatives from other agencies that serve the school, such as the Department of Rehabilitative Services, the Community Services Board, the Department of Social Services, the Social Security Administration, and the Disability Services Office of the local community college

* The VTOP TEAM trains the local school teams in the process of conducting IEP file reviews in a prescribed manner.

* Each school then works with a regional VTOP TEAM member to conduct the IEP file review of the other school's IEPs. (NOTE: In small schools where a random selection results in too few files, the team may review all files.)

* The local team and the VTOP TEAM compile and analyze baseline data collected from initial file reviews. The VTOP TEAM shares the results at meetings with all school personnel involved in working with students with disabilities: special educators, general educators, administrators, and others.

* Each school uses its baseline data to develop and implement an action plan that revises IEP development practices in an effort to improve transition outcomes for students with disabilities. The VTOP TEAM serves as a consultant to the schools throughout the development and implementation of the action plan.

* After the school has implemented its action plan, the local team that conducted the initial IEP file review returns and conducts a second review of IEPs. VTOP TEAM and local school personnel compile and analyze data from the second file review, and the VTOP TEAM member assigned to the school provides each school with a final report.

* Everyone celebrates their accomplishments in improving services for transition-age students with disabilities.

Please contact Dale Pennell (757/221-1708) or Lee Anne Sulzberger (757/221-2313), VTOP transition specialists at the T/TAC, College of William and Mary, for additional information or to enroll in the project.


Virginia's Transition Outcomes Project (2003). Virginia Department of Education, Richmond, VA.

Date: Sept/Oct 2003