Transition Services in Eight Rural Counties of Western New York: Views of Directors of Special Education

Bruce A. Shields, Mindy S. Scirri, Michael R. Berta, Kara M. Klump

Abstract


Rural school districts face different challenges than urban and suburban districts. In fact, several Rural Systemic Initiatives (RSIs) have been established around the country to isolate and address rural school district issues (Harmon & Smith, 2012). In order to improve the effectiveness of transition services in rural schools, feedback from stakeholders in the process is vital. Directors of special education, specifically, must work to facilitate a quality and seamless process for transition despite challenges, and those working in rural settings may face additional obstacles. This study examines the perspectives of these front-line providers in order to begin to understand the difficulties that rural school districts, in particular, must overcome. The challenges and suggestions expressed by directors of special education impact the trajectory of improvements that need to be made in rural education transition services.  These improvements will not only streamline processes for rural educators and staff involved in transition, but will ultimately benefit the families they serve.


Keywords


transition services; rural education; special education; educational administrators

References


Gargiulo, R. M. (2011). Special education in contemporary society: An introduction to exceptionality (4th ed). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Harmon, H. L., & Smith, K. C. (2012). Legacy of the rural systemic initiatives: Innovation, leadership, teacher development, and lessons learned. Charleston, WV: Edvantia, Inc.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq. (2004).

Tillmann, J. D., & Ford, L. (2001). Analysis of transition services of individualized education programs for high school students with special needs. Retrieved from ERIC database. (ED 456608)

U.S. Department of Education. (2012). OSERS transition data fact sheet. Retrieved from www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/products/transition/transition-datasheet-2011.doc

Wehman, P. (2013). Life beyond the classroom: Transition strategies for young people with disabilities (5th ed.). Baltimore, MD: Brookes.

Zhang, D., Ivester, J., & Katsiyannis, A. (2005). Teachers’ views of transition services: Results from a statewide survey in South Carolina. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 40(4), 360-367.


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