Family Engagement

Family Engagement in Transition Planning

Families are a vital part of each step of their student’s education and development. Transition planning celebrates this partnership and creates the framework for teams and students to build from the family foundation that has been established throughout the student’s earlier years. When families are instrumental in the transition planning process, student outcomes are higher in and out of the classroom and in the future. Family engagement makes the work of the student and the transition team more effective and efficient.

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What is Family Engagement in Transition Planning?

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What does it mean to have a family member involved in transition planning? Families have valuable insight into a student’s strengths, needs and interests because they interact with the students in a variety of settings. Having family members on the transition team gives them the opportunity to share this knowledge with the team and collaborate to make more accurate goals and plans. It helps to ensure support for follow through of the plan. Families can also learn more about school and community programming and activities, as well as the individuals who support their children when they are active members of the transition planning team. Utilizing the experience and support of families helps the transition team, and the student, see better results from their efforts.

  • What are ways that family members can be involved in transition planning? How can barriers for family engagement be identified and removed?
  • How can transition teams welcome, encourage, and build family engagement in the transition process? Are teams building family leadership opportunities and voice into the transition framework process?
  • Do family members know about their student’s goals and the classes and programs that they participate in? Is the shared information given in a family friendly format and a variety of ways?
  • How can families prepare for meetings to discuss transition planning? What community connections can be made with the family to help them be prepared and included?
  • What improvements can be made in the communication process with families? What tools are teams using to accurately assess family perspectives and engagement?
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Family Engagement in Transition Planning

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What Does Family Engagement In Transition Planning Include?

A transition team can help families become a part of planning by…

  • Sharing all information in family friendly formats and through a variety of ways so families learn what transition planning is and how to support students
  • Creating authentic opportunities for families to share their thoughts and provide information about their students in all transition meetings
  • Explaining opportunities in and out of school that match the students’ goals and helps the family support what the students choose to participate in
  • Providing family friendly updates regarding student progress and how students are doing, relative to skill building, in order to reach the students’ transition goals
  • Offering convenient times for the family to meet with professionals and community partners, in and outside of school, so the family can be an active part of the process to help their student reach their transition goals
  • Building family engagement, family leadership roles, and reciprocal communication points into the transition process framework
  • Considering cultural differences, welcoming environments, communication methods, and assessing family perspective in a regular and in-depth manner
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What Can Family Engagement In Transition Planning Lead To?

When a transition team supports a family, it will partner with the family to create...

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A Plan

To help the student develop a transition plan that matches their strengths, interests, preferences, disability, needs, and goals. Information, community connections, and content will be conveyed in a family friendly format through a variety of means.

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A Knowledge Base

To learn about opportunities, supports, and services available to the student and be encouraged to share back to the team what they know about the student and the transition process. It will open dialogue about cultural concerns, communication methods, welcoming environments, and family perspectives.

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Opportunities For Independence

To help the student identify and build the skills needed to be independent in their life now and in the future, to learn who and how to ask for support, and to have concrete ways to foster and practice that independence.

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A Support Network

To identify resources, community organizations, and personal connections to assist the student in reaching their transition goals and to build and strengthen the family’s engagement and leadership roles and voice in the transition framework process.

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Want to Learn PA Secondary

Want to learn more?

The PEAL Center is a great place to contact to learn more about engaging families.

Check out this training series they offered for parents about transition planning!