Written by Cindy Perras, M.Ed., OCT, Educational Consultant, LDAO
Note: This practice-informed summary is the third in a series on transition planning, written by Cindy Perras. The first summary, “An introduction to transition planning for students with LDs” is available here, and the second summary, “Post-secondary transition planning for students with LDs” can be accessed by clicking here.
Elementary and secondary students with learning disabilities (LDs) may experience many different types of transitions; according to the Educator Support Guide for Transition Planning (2014), these transitions may include:
• Entry to School
• School to School
• Class to Class
• Grade to Grade
• Changes in School Support
• Elementary to Secondary
• Secondary to Post-Secondary
• School to Community
• School to Work
Effective transition planning is important. Individualized transition plans that reflect a student’s strengths and needs provide the foundation for successful transitional experiences that support the building of student resiliency. Articulating student transition needs can also be a valuable component of developing an individual student profile. PPM No. 156, p.1
The transition from elementary to secondary school is generally considered to be one of the most challenging for adolescents, both with and without LDs. This practice-informed summary focuses on the key considerations and steps to support a successful transition from elementary school to secondary school for students with LDs.
Transition Planning from Elementary to Secondary: Requirements
Educators need to be familiar with the transition planning requirements that are mandated by the Ontario Ministry of Education, through legislation, Policy/Program Memoranda (PPMs) and resource documents, including:
Ontario Regulation 181/98: Identification and Placement of Exceptional Pupils. Click here to access the Ministry of Education webpage.
PPM No. 156, Supporting Transitions for Students with Special Education Needs (February, 2013). Click here to view as a PDF.
PPM No. 8, Identification of and Program Planning for Students with Learning Disabilities (August, 2014). Click here to view as a PDF.
Creating Pathways to Success: An Education and Career/Life Planning Program for Ontario Schools – Policy and Program Requirements, Kindergarten to Grade 12, 2013, transition planning must be considered as part of the IEP development process when developing programs for students with learning disabilities. Click here to view as a PDF.
Key points for educators to be aware of:
The school principal is responsible for ensuring that transition plans are developed, implemented and maintained.
Transition plans must be developed for all students who have an IEP, whether they are exceptional are not.
Transition plans must be developed in consultation with the parent(s), student (as appropriate), post-secondary institutions (where appropriate), and relevant community agencies or partners (as necessary).
Transition plans will identify specific goals, support needs, actions to achieve the goals, roles, responsibilities and timelines.
The Individual Pathway Planning (IPP) supports students in grade 8 with the planning they need to do in order to have a successful transition from elementary to secondary school.
The following checklist may be useful for educators who are supporting grade 8 students with LDs in their transition to grade 9:
Elementary to Secondary Transition Planning Checklist for
Students with LDs
☐ PPM 156 reviewed
☐ PPM 8 reviewed
☐ Update Individual Pathway Planning (IPP)
☐ Update Individual Education Plan (IEP), in consultation with student and parents
☐ Update Transition Plan, in consultation with student and parents
☐ Explore secondary school options, including Regional Programs that might be of interest based on student strengths, interests or talents
☐ Review Ontario Secondary School Diploma requirements
☐ Explore academic courses, extra-curricular and leadership opportunities available at the secondary school that would be of benefit to students with LDs, i.e. Learning Strategies Courses (GLE1O, GLS1O and/or GLE2O); Career Studies Course (GLC2O); Discovering the Workplace Course (GLD2O); specialized programs, extracurricular activities; additional supports and resources
☐ Select secondary courses
☐ Set goals for community involvement (can begin during the summer before grade 9)
☐ Student participation in the secondary school orientation program Note: orientation programs should be individualized to meet the needs of the student
☐ Student could consider developing a self-advocacy pamphlet to share with grade 9 teachers
Educator Resources to Support the Transition from Elementary to Secondary School
Ministry of Education Resources to Support Transitions
The Ontario Ministry of Education has developed numerous documents to assist educators with transition planning for both students with and without special education needs, including students with learning disabilities (LDs):
The Educator Support Guide for Transition Planning, a Ministry of Education – Learning for All K-12 initiative, is a transition brochure developed by the Barrie Region Boards to assist educators in writing and implementing meaningful transition plans for students from Kindergarten to Graduation who have an IEP.
The goals of the transition brochure include: (1) to identify strategies required to support the transition for students with an IEP; (2) to develop a transition plan in collaboration with the student’s transition team; and (3) to implement strategies and determine next steps.
Relevant Resources on the LD@school Website
Cindy Perras is the English Educational Consultant with the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario, working as a member of the LD@school Team and LD@school/TA@l’école Advisory Committee. Cindy is an educator with 35 years of experience in special education, as a teacher, Consultant, Co-ordinator, and parent. Her professional qualifications include a Masters of Education degree from Brock University, a Bachelor of Education degree from the Ontario Teachers’ Education College, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Windsor, and a Specialist in Special Education; additionally, Cindy has completed the Ph.D. coursework at OISE/UT. Cindy enjoys researching and writing articles for LD@school, connecting with Ontario school district administrators and educators, and assisting with planning for the Educators’ Institute.