All students make multiple transitions throughout their educational career. However, for students with disabilities, transitioning from one building to another can be more challenging. District 25 strives to provide parents with information to support some of the major changes that students will make as they transition from Early Childhood to kindergarten, from 5th grade to 6th grade, and from 8th grade to high school. The District will host meetings each year for parents to learn more about the transition processes.
Early Childhood to Kindergarten
Staff from the Early Childhood program work closely with staff in all seven elementary buildings to support a child’s transition to kindergarten. Beginning in January, the year prior to kindergarten, Early Childhood teachers and kindergarten-level special education teachers meet to discuss all students who will transition the following year. Staff from the elementary buildings are able to observe students in the EC classrooms as needed, and EC staff are able to observe different programs across the District. In the late spring, parents are invited to attend transition IEP meetings to discuss and plan for their child’s transition to kindergarten. Parents of students transitioning to instructional programs or programs outside of the District also have the opportunity to observe programs prior to the transition meeting.
Each year, the Early Childhood program coordinator hosts a meeting for parents to provide information about the transition process and the different levels of support available across the District. This year the meeting will be held on January 9, with times available throughout the day and evening. Information from this meeting is available here.
Please note, children coming from the District’s Early Childhood program who have established IEPs typically do not need to participate in the elementary schools’ Kindergarten screening sessions, unless the child may qualify for English Learner (EL) support. The elementary school administrators will provide information about which children need to be screened for Kindergarten.
5th to 6th Grade
Staff from the elementary buildings work closely with staff from the middle schools to transition students from 5th to 6th grade. Beginning in February/March, elementary and middle school staff will begin to meet to discuss specific students and placement options. Parents are invited to attend transition IEP meetings in the early to mid-spring to plan for 6th grade. Parents of students with IEPs are encouraged to attend all transition events hosted by the middle schools. Students will visit the middle schools in late spring to tour. Families can also set up an additional, more personalized tour during late summer to help with the transition.
Each year, the Department of Student Services hosts an informational meeting for parents about transitioning to middle school. Held in January each year, this presentation is meant to be interactive, with representatives from all middle school special education programs, as well as middle school administrators, available to answer questions. To view the January 2016 presentation watch the video below:
Secondary Transition (including 8th to high school)
District 25 works closely with staff from Township High School District 214 to ensure a smooth transition from 8th grade to high school. District 25 staff begin communication with the feeder high schools in the winter of 8th grade. Parents are invited to attend transition meetings in the spring with staff from both schools. The high school staff review each student’s current levels of performance and educational needs. The high school is responsible for making decisions about placement in their programs and will work directly with families around class selection and registration.
A small number of students will turn 14.5 years of age during middle school. The Illinois State Board of Education requires districts to begin transition planning with these students. Students will participate in an interest inventory designed to assist in planning for post-secondary education and/or training, independent living skills development, and future employment. Students are required to attend these transition meetings and participate in the development of the transition plan.
Transition to a Placement Outside of District 25
If a child’s IEP team determines that the services available within the District are not appropriate or adequate for the child, the team may change placement to a setting outside of District 25. Most commonly, these placements include public or private therapeutic schools, but may also include residential or hospital placements. As a part of the IEP team, parents are always an integral part of these decisions and will be invited to tour a variety of potential programs with District 25 staff during the transition process. Should a child’s team determine an outside placement will best meet the child’s needs, the District’s Student Services Coordinators and Assistant Superintendent will provide support during the transition process. District 25 representatives will continue to attend all IEP meetings held at the new placement to ensure that the child’s needs are being met. Despite attending an outside program, the child will continue to be considered a District 25 student and parents will continue to have access to information and support from the District.