Who is responsible for transition planning? Mapping transition responsibilities amongst school professionals
Lillis, Jennifer L.
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Students with disabilities experience better postsecondary outcomes when they are engaged in high-quality transition planning and services during high school. Yet, many secondary schools fall short of their transition-related responsibilities. Delivery of effective transition practices depends upon the coordinated efforts of the personnel who implement them. Yet, we know little about the transition-related responsibilities various professionals are currently fulfilling in schools or why professionals might be conceptualizing and enacting their roles in particular ways. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine how transition responsibilities were divided amongst professionals in one secondary school and the factors shaping the division of responsibilities. Using cultural historical activity theory as a conceptual foundation, I qualitatively analyzed interviews with 10 professionals and the cases of three focal students within one secondary school. I found that transition activities primarily focused on college admission. Guidance counselors led future planning, while special educators and the IEP process played only a limited role. Professionals tended to enact their transition-related responsibilities independently and collaborated primarily when students were struggling. Findings suggest multiple opportunities for improving transition practices at the organizational level.