Drive Change in Your Professional Practice

Work through the steps on the tabs to develop your own transition skills and understanding.  Change yourself, change the world!

Step 1: Do a self-assessment of your mastery of transition competencies

In this step you’ll use our Self-Assessment and Professional Development Planning Tool (PDF, 8 pages, 2018) to rate yourself in the key elements of six core transition competencies.

Print the self-assessment as a PDF or download the self-assessment as a MSWord document. The instructions are on the self-assessment.

Step 2: Explore resources on the Next Steps NH website

You identified your knowledge and skills gaps in Step 1. In this step, explore resources for filling those gaps with the help of Next Steps resources.

We have linked to a few key pages for each competency element. Explore them by clicking on links in the self-assessment PDF, or by using the accordion version below.

Step 3. Identify people who can support and coach you

You’ll learn more deeply when you have people you can talk with about your growing knowledge, and people who can coach you and help you practice new skills. Possibilities:

  • Administration (principal, assistant principal, special education director)
  • Peers in or outside of special education
  • Guidance
  • Employer who has mentored students
  • Students and/or parents who cold give you feedback on your new methods
  • Transition Community of Practice, either state or regional level
  • New Hampshire Extended Learning Opportunity Network (ELON), a collaborative of ELO Coordinators, teachers and other educators

Picking good coaches is important. Take a look at the Coaching Checklist (PDF, 3 pages) we use to improve our own coaching – pick people who are skilled in these areas.

Step 4: Set priorities based on your realities

You can’t do everything. Review the self-assessment and decide which three to five key elements are the most important to tackle for the coming year. You can always add more if you meet your action plan early! Consider:

  • available time
  • other initiatives already underway
  • personal projects

Step 5: Create your personal action plan and get started

Here is where you get to the nitty-gritty. The more specific you are in this planning phase, the more successful you’ll be carrying it out.

This example of an Individual Professional Growth Plan (PDF) is consistent with the NH Department of Education professional development plan requirements. It asks you to state both goals and focus questions. You might, for example, have two goals and five focus questions.

  • Goals(s): Why are you doing this? Example: To increase my skills and knowledge in using transition assessments for career-development planning.
  • Focus Question(s): What do you expect to get out of meeting your goal? Example: What transition assessments can I add to my practice to improve career exploration for my students?

Individual Professional Growth Plan (MSWord)

Step 6: Reflect, review and do it again

Check periodically to see how you’re doing against your plan. This could be a regular activity with one of your coaches. Be willing to revise your plan – things change.

At the end of the school year, assess what you have completed. Be proud! Reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Consider doing the self-assessment again – you may have learned more than you realize. Make notes for next year.

Accordion Guide to Self-Assessment Resource Links

11-25-18 Accordion update to the 2018 transition competencies is in progress. Check back in a week or so. The PDF and Word versions above are already updated.

Click on the toggle to display the key elements for that competency.


Understand a variety of formal and informal transition assessments and procedures used to identify students strengths, preferences, interests, and needs critical to transition outcomes (postsecondary education, employment, independent living).


Conduct informal transition assessments and modify to meet individual student needs.

1.3 Engage students in the transition assessment process so that data gathering is done in collaboration with the student.



Communicate transition assessment information so that the results are understood by students, families, and professionals.




Write measurable postsecondary goals that reflect student interests and preferences.


Write measurable annual goals and objectives related to measurable postsecondary goals.


Design transition services and course of study to achieve postsecondary goals and objectives.


Align instructional activities and related activities with postsecondary goals and objectives.


Knowledge of the importance and elements of a student-centered summary of performance.


Knowledge of state and federal transition requirements and how to incorporate them into an IEP.



Knowledge of a range of post-school options (i.e., employment, postsecondary education, and independent living) to inform student-centered transition and career development planning.


Knowledge of evidence-informed instruction, curricular resources, and practices (including Extended Learning Opportunities, ELOs) regarding transition to post-school settings.


Knowledge of augmentative and alternative communication systems and a variety of assistive technologies that support transition and career development for individuals with disabilities.


Knowledge of curricular resources and instructional activities that educators can use to connect general education course content to an individual’s postsecondary goals.


Teach self-advocacy and self-determination skills to facilitate students’ understanding of their strengths and challenges.


Articulate the importance and impact of a variety of work-based learning experiences including ELOs.



Knowledge of roles and responsibilities of educators, employers, and other service providers in the variety of settings related to postsecondary outcomes.


Articulate strategies that facilitate collaboration among transition stakeholders.


Advocate for integrating transition content within general academic courses for individual students.


Knowledge of how to connect students to internal school resources (e.g., technical education, school counseling) and community resources (e.g., Vocational Rehabilitation, mental health).


Knowledge of how to prepare the student, family, agency representatives, and other IEP team members for the transition planning process.


Knowledge of how to coordinate and facilitate transition planning during and after IEP meetings.



Understand the student/family referral process for postsecondary and community services.


Develop and maintain professional ethics in working with students, families, school personnel, community, and agency personnel.


Articulate the significance of family engagement throughout the postsecondary transition planning process and how it relates to increased student success.


Knowledge of the student and family’s cultural and environmental context and how it affects behavior and learning.


Understand the supports necessary for families to communicate effectively and work collaboratively with educational personnel.


Identify information for families to understand transition related education services, information on IDEA, and potential support networks and services.


Knowledge of career and technical instructional strategies, models, and curricula.


Knowledge of transition practices, programs, and services that produce successful post-school outcomes.


Knowledge of transition laws and policies (e.g., IDEA, Rehabilitation Act, Fair Labor Standards Act).


Knowledge of organizations and publications relevant to the field of secondary special education and transition.

Accordion updated 7-27-17