Career and Transition Services Presentation

Presented by FCPS Career and Transition Services (CTS) for the Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities

The Office of Counseling and College and Career Readiness

The focus for the Office of Counseling and College and Career Readiness (CCCR) is to ensure ALL students are Career and College Ready.

CCCR includes:

  • Career & Technical Education 
  • Career & Transition Services 
  • School Counseling & College Success Programs
  • Service Learning
  • Academic and Career Plan

Career and Transition Services

The mission of Career and Transition Services is to empower a diverse population of students with the opportunities and resources necessary for transition to a variety of postsecondary options.

This aligns with the definition of career and college ready which is: Students graduate with the knowledge and skills to develop and execute an informed postsecondary plan of their choosing which includes future education and training and leads to a sustainable career. 

IDEA 2004

The purposes of IDEA include ensuring that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living. 

IDEA requires that transition is part of the IEP process and includes:

  • A coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability that:
    • Is designed to be within a results-oriented process…to facilitate the student’s movement from school to post-school activities
    • Is based upon the student’s needs, taking into account strengths, preferences and interests
    • Includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other adult living objectives, and, if appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.
    • Is a DYNAMIC process from middle through secondary

Virginia Transition Requirements

Beginning no later than age 14 or grade 8, the IEP must include:

  • Measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments
  • Transition services, including courses of study, needed to assist the student to reach the postsecondary goals
  • Consideration of the student’s strengths, preferences and interests

The Taxonomy for Transition Programming 

The Taxonomy for Transition Programming is a widely accepted framework for planning, implementing and evaluating comprehensive secondary transition programs.  It was initially developed in 1996  through a review of literature, an analysis of exemplary programs, a meta evaluation of outcomes and activities and a concept mapping process. Kohler reviewed and confirmed the taxonomy again in 2003 and then it was revised again in 2016.

The five areas include:  

  1. Student focused Planning
  2. Student Development
  3. Interagency Collaboration
  4. Program Structures
  5. Family Involvement

CTS strives to develop, implement and evaluate our CTS programs around this taxonomy as well as evidence based practices.

Evidence Based Practices

The National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center, also funded through OSEP, identified evidence-based predictors of postsecondary through expensive, longitudinal outcomes-based studies/research and categorized them using Kohler’s Taxonomy for Transition Programming in 2010.  

This slide lists some of these including:

  • Career Awareness
  • Community Experiences
  • Inclusion in General Education 
  • Occupational Courses

Evidence Based Practices (continued)

Table continued from previous page.

This slide lists the following Evidence Based Practices:

  • Parent Expectations
  • Parental Involvement
  • Self-Advocacy/Self-Determination
  • Social Skills


Transition should be the focus of every IEP after the age of 14 and every IEP member has responsibilities toward helping a student successfully transition and meet their postsecondary goals. As we turn our attention to Career and Transition Services, we would like you to keep this in mind. 

Career and Transition Services

Services within CTS have been designed using Kohler’s taxonomy and considering the EBP just mentioned.  The areas of focus include: Transition Support/Student Focused Planning, Student Development and Instruction, Work-based Learning (WBL), Postsecondary Support (PS), Interagency Collaboration, and Family Involvement.

Transition Support

Transition Services are mandated by the IDEA.  In FCPS, there are over 10,000 students who are transition aged. CTS provides training to families and all special education case managers on the transition process.

IEP Transition Plan

IEP page 303 includes: 

  • Student participation
  • Transition Assessment
  • Career and Postsecondary goals
  • Yearly Transition Objectives

Student Focused Planning

As we start transition planning, we start with the end in mind and work backwards through all the steps a student will need to reach his goal. This student focused planning is the premise of transition IEP. 

Focus on the Future - What do I want to be doing when I’m 25?

  1. What do I have to do after graduation to reach this goal?
  2. What do I need to do while I’m in high school to prepare me for plans for after graduation?
  3. What should I be doing this year to stay on track?
  4. Are there any barriers that might get in the way of me reaching my goals?

Student Involvement in the IEP

As we look at student focused planning and  developing skills around Self Determination, we stress the importance of student involvement in the IEP.  Konrad and Test suggest ways that students can be involved in their IEP process.

  • Planning the IEP  involves identifying strengths and needs, establishing goals, considering options, and preparing materials for the IEP meeting.  It is important for students to be involved in the planning stage.
  • Drafting the IEP includes having students write a draft of their IEP that reflects these strengths and needs, as well as their interests and preferences.
  • Meeting to revise the draft and finalize it is completed at the IEP meeting.  At this meeting students have the opportunity to share their interests, preferences, and needs already identified on their IEP draft and participate in dialogue with other members of the IEP team to develop a plan.
  • Implementing the IEP involves students evaluating how well they are achieving the goals identified in their IEP

We encourage IEP teams to involve students to the greatest extent possible.

Age Appropriate Transition Assessment

As we begin the transition planning process, it is important to start with transition assessment.  

The Council for Exceptional Children – Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT) definition:

  • On-going process
  • Provides data on needs, preferences, interests
  • Relates to demands of current and future environments
  • Working, education, living, personal, and social
  • Serves as common thread for defining IEP goals and services

Career Assessment in FCPS

There are actually four options for secondary students with IEPs in FCPS in terms of formal career assessment: 

  1. Career Snapshot 
  2. Career Scope 
  3. Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation and
  4. Targeted Vocational Assessment

All of the above options generate a formal report and are referral based assessments – the ETR will initiate the referral for students you feel would benefit from any one or more of these assessment options.

Self Determination vs. Self Advocacy

Self Determination is “Acting as the primary causal agent in one’s life and making choices and decisions regarding one’s quality of life free from undue external influence or interference” (Wehmeyer, 2005, p. 117)

Self-advocacy is referred to as the ability to articulate one’s needs and make informed decisions about the supports necessary to meet those needs (Strodden, as cited in Test et al, 2005)

Components of Self-Determination

  • Choice making
  • Decision making
  • Problem solving
  • Goal setting and attainment
  • Self-regulation
  • Self-instruction
  • Self-advocacy
  • Internal locus of control
  • Self-efficacy
  • Efficacy expectation
  • Self awareness and self-knowledge

Impact of Self Determination Skills

According to the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2012, Students with greater self-determination skills:

  • Are more independent one year after graduation
  • Are more likely to live somewhere other than with parents
  • Perform better academically
  • Have higher rates of enrollment and completion in postsecondary education
  • Have higher rates of employment and at higher wages
  • Are significantly more likely to be employed with health care, and benefits

How is Self Determination Learned?

Through systematic instruction, opportunity to practice, experience and feedback.

As teachers, it is imperative that we look for each and every opportunity to allow students to practice their self determination skills. 

Self Determination Curriculum 

FCPS uses the following curriculum

  • Taking Charge of My Future: Tools for Self-advocacy
  • Student Directed Transition Planning
  • Whose Future Is It Anyway?
  • I’m Determined

I’m Determined Project

I’m Determined is a Virginia Department of Education Project that provides guidance to schools, student and parent trainings, tools for teaching self determination, and leadership opportunities for youth, educators and parents. 

CTE and Academy Electives

Students have access to courses through CTS and the Career Academies.

Academy Support Resource Teachers

Academy Support Resource Teachers are provided to support students with IEPs in the career academies.

  • Tier 3 - Intensive Supports
  • Tier 2 - Curriculum Support, Intermittent Support
  • Tier 1 – Mentor/Consult

CTS Course Electives

CTS provides electives designed to provide students with disabilities with the skills to be career and college ready.  These courses include Career Preparation, Work Awareness and Transition, Education for Employment and Education for Employment for the Office. 

All of our course electives incorporate the work competencies that have been identified by our state Department of Education. These include such areas as taking direction, finishing tasks, following workplace policies, work behavior, reliability, self-presentation, social skills, conflict resolution, etc.

A common thread for all of our course electives is the community work based learning that is a large part of the curriculum. Having had work experience prior to leaving high school is one of the highest predictors of post-school success, which is why we have put such an emphasis on this within our CTS course electives. 

Students Aged 18-22

Davis and Pulley Career Centers and the Secondary Transition to Employment Programs focus on further development of work competencies as well as independent living skills. The emphasis of these programs is on work based learning, allowing students to learn soft skills as well as job skills, and to increase their potential to work independently in a competitive paid job by age 22.  

CTS Course Curricula

All CTS curricula are part of the CTE curricular resources available on the state website:
The site includes course descriptions, course competencies and lessons.  

Workplace Readiness Skills

For all CTS courses, the first 21 competencies of all of the course curriculum are based on the workplace readiness skills that were developed in collaboration with VDOE and Virginia employers. 

Workplace Readiness Skills include:

Personal Qualities and People Skills

  • Demonstrate positive work ethic.
  • Demonstrate integrity.
  • Demonstrate teamwork skills.
  • Demonstrate self-representation skills.
  • Demonstrate diversity awareness.
  • Demonstrate conflict-resolution skills.
  • Demonstrate creativity and resourcefulness.

Professional Knowledge and Skills

  • Demonstrate effective speaking and listening skills.
  • Demonstrate effective reading and writing skills.
  • Demonstrate critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Demonstrate healthy behaviors and safety skills.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of workplace organizations, systems, and climates.
  • Demonstrate lifelong-learning skills.
  • Demonstrate job-acquisition and advancement skills.
  • Demonstrate time-, task-, and resource-management skills.
  • Demonstrate job-specific mathematics skills.
  • Demonstrate customer-service skills.

Technology Knowledge and Skills

  • Demonstrate proficiency with technologies common to a specific occupation.
  • Demonstrate information technology skills.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of Internet use and security issues.
  • Demonstrate telecommunications skills.

FCPS Work-Based Learning 

Work-based Learning is a focus of all CTS programs and services and is included in the courses that are offered. Work-Based Learning includes activities under the categories of career awareness, career exploration and career preparation.

Employment and Transition Representatives (ETRs) 

Employment and Transition Representatives (ETRs) provide school based transition support as well as provide direct services to students and parents.  They also provide some resource and support to middle schools as well. 

  • Direct services to students
  • Transition support to seniors and exiting students
  • Transition Instruction
  • Developing and monitoring work-based learning
  • Referrals to CTS programs and adult agencies
  • Training and resource sharing
  • Family Support
  • Collaboration

ETR Tiered Support Model

We currently have 1 to 2 ETRs at each school.  These staff are required to provide some level of transition support to all students with IEPs at the high school level.  Some of our larger high schools have between 400-450 students with IEPs.  ETRs focus on exiting students as well as those requiring more intensive transition support using a tiered support model.

Tier 1: Transition Assessment for IEP development and academic and career planning, resource information, Summary of Performance
Tier 2: Career Assessment, Career-related instruction, CTS/ETR consult, and intermittent ETR services
Tier 3: Intensive Transition Supports: 18-22 programs, ongoing ETR services

Academic and Career Plan

The Academic and Career Plan (ACP) is a process for students to plan for the future by exploring college and career options. Students have opportunities to discover their personal strengths and interests, create goals to help them achieve success, plan for courses that meet high school graduation requirements, and prepare them for life after high school. 

Postsecondary Support

As students are getting ready to exit, ETRs work with them to identify their post-secondary goals and potential resources to meet those goals.  The postsecondary pathways include:  
Military, 2-4 year college, trade and certificate programs, employment, supported employment, day support, and gap year activities. 

Interagency Collaboration

For the past 30 years, FCPS has had an interagency cooperative agreement with the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitation and the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board. Each year, approximately 25% of the graduates/school leavers are referred the DARS and approximately 150-200 students are referred to the CSB. These services are not mandated and are based on eligibility and funding. 

Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitation Services (DARS)

DARS provides guidance and counseling, career exploration, vocational testing, job seeking skills, supported employment, vocational training, and rehabilitaton engineering and assistive technology to individuals with disabilities. 

DARS also provides funding to the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center and the Postsecondary Education Rehabilitation Transition Program that FCPS students participate in. 

Fairfax/Falls Church Community Services Board

This year, the CSB has broadened their services to include long term supports for adults with Developmental Disabilities.  Services include: Case management services, Residential services, Employment services, Training and Community Support services. The CSB contracts various “vendors” or service providers that provide a range of employment services including group or independent supported employment.

Individuals must meet criterion for either a developmental and/or intellectual disability. An assessment will need to be performed by a CSB clinician to meet the definition of a developmental disability as defined in the Code of Virginia.

Current Interagency Collaboration 

CTS is currently working in collaboration with other agencies

  • New Partnership with CSB MH/Supported Employment at CSS sites/Cedar/Quander
  • School representative on Customized Employment Team sponsored by DARS
  • Presented at Leadership Fairfax
  • Member of the Welcoming Inclusion Network workgroups with Fairfax CSB
  • Collaboration with DARS on Pre-ETS
  • Other collaborative efforts: Future Quest, LTCCC, NVA Coalition, WIN, Disability Services Board, The ARC of NOVA 

Family Involvement

CTS provides training to parents and the community including:

  • Postsecondary Education Options
  • Moving on to Life in the Community
  • Flash Forward
  • Super Transition Saturday
  • SPED Conference
  • Future Quest

During the 2017-2018 SY, approximately 1400 parents received training.


CTS provides the following publications to parents:

CTS also assisted in editing Transition Points with The Arc of Northern Virginia with whom we work very closely. 

State Performance Indicators

CTS is responsible to track Indicator 13 which measures the percent of youth aged 16 and above whose IEP meets the federal transition requirements of:

  • Measurable postsecondary goals
  • Based on age appropriate transition assessment
  • Includes transition services
  • Includes courses of study related to goals
  • IEP goals that relate to transition needs
  • Evidence student invited to IEP meeting
  • Adult services included in IEP if appropriate

2017-2018 INDICATOR 13

In 2014, 324 IEPs were reviewed with 28 needing addendums.
In 2015, 329 IEPs were reviewed with 25 needing addendums.
In 2016, 348 IEPs were reviewed with 11 needing addendums. 
In 2017, 353 IEPs were reviewed with 15 needing addendums.
In 2018, 364 IEPs were reviewed with 14 needing addendums. 

State Performance Indicator 14

CTS is responsible for tracking Indicator 14 which measures the percent of youth who are no longer in secondary school and who were engaged in either postsecondary education, employment or both. 

Indicator 14 measures percent of youth who are no longer in secondary school, had IEPs in effect at the time they left school, and were:

  • Enrolled in higher education within one year of leaving
  • Enrolled in higher education or competitively employed within one year of leaving
  • Enrolled in higher education or in some other postsecondary education or training program; or competitively employed or in some other employment within on year of leaving

Indicator 14 Data Percentages and State Targets

Out of 808 completed surveys for Fairfax County Public Schools, 48% were enrolled in higher education, 64.9% were engaged in higher education and competitive employment and 72.6% were engaged in higher education, competitive employment, continuing education or other employment.

Students Use of Accommodations

While in high school, 78% of students who responded to the question reported using accommodations in high school while only 39% of those students reported using accommodations in their postsecondary education environment. 

Reasons for not using Accommodations in Postsecondary Education and Training

65% of the students who were attending postsecondary education and not using accommodations reported that they didn’t need or want them. 17% didn’t pursue them. 

Unengaged Students by Disability

Of the students that reported that they were unengaged, 33% were students with learning disabilities, 12% were students with autism, 10% were students with other health impairments, and 9% were students with emotional disabilities.

What would have helped with engagement?

The unengaged students were also asked what they thought would have helped them in high school. Of those that responded to the question, 26% of students thought more career related courses would have helped; 24% thought work experience during high school, transportation assistance, and personal support counseling would have helped; 21% though adult services and job coach support might have helped; 18% thought career assessment and financial assistance would have helped; 15% though job shadowing or volunteering may have helped; and 3% didn’t know what would have helped. 

Follow CTS on Social Media

  • Follow us on twitter @fcps_cts
  • News You Choose:
    You can now select to receive information from Career and Transition Services (CTS) -- subscribe today!  We are excited to keep you up to date on everything transition as it is happening. To sign up for CTS updates, or to manage your subscription, please enter your contact information at this website:  News You Choose New Subscriber
    • Select: Instructional Services
    • Select Career and Transition Services (CTS)