High School to Community

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”- Shakespeare. 

Change is scary, and the move from High School to Adulthood is probably one of the most exciting, challenging and frightening experiences we go through in our lives. It is a time of saying goodbye to familiar friends and routines, and beginning a new stage in life that is full of new people and new experiences. However, in order to be successful at whatever comes after high school, there needs to be careful planning involved in this Transition. A transition team, made up of the student, his or her family members, teachers, coaches, and guidance counselors will help the student prepare for the next phase in his or her life.

Family Involvement

Staying involved can be difficult for parents of teenagers! Developmentally, children of this age are identifying more with their friends than with their parents; they may be driving; social circles are expanding; and they are beginning to think about life independent of parents. Yet, family involvement is one of the most important elements to assuring that high school students make a successful transition from school to the community. Research has shown that students whose parents are involved tend to do better in high school and tend to be more successful following high school. So, how can a parent of a child this age stay involved? The following links provide a wealth of information about the advantages of parental involvement for teenagers and strategies for staying connected.

http://www.ncset.org/publications/viewdesc.asp?id=208 This is a link to an article about parent involvement from the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition.

Individual Planning

Planning is crucial if students are to move seamlessly from school to the community. Planning must be “individual” because each student is different and will have different post high school plans. Without a plan for this important transition, students after high school may find themselves working when they would rather be going to college, working in a job they don’t really like, or not be sure of what they’re doing at all.Individual transition planning for this major change is required as part of each students’ Individual Education Program (IEP) by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In Kentucky, this planning must begin at age 14.Students should be actively involved in their own transition planning from high school to community. They should be engaged in their IEP meetings at the beginning of their secondary experience and have frequent and ongoing opportunities to provide input and feedback as important transition decisions are made. Students should identify and address their strengths and weaknesses to ensure their transition needs are met. The “I” in the IEP must be stressed for each student to experience successful transition and exhibit self-determination. In addition, to the IEP, students will also continue to update their Individual Learning Plans (ILP) that were begun in middle school.Mastery of the following skills is paramount for positive post school outcomes for students with disabilities:

  • Self- advocacy
  • Communication Skills
  • Technology Skills
  • Career/Employment Awareness
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Problem Solving/Decision Making/Goal Setting
  • Conflict Resolution


  • National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability http://www.ncwd-youth.info
    NCWD/Youth is your source for information about employment and youth with disabilities. Our partners — experts in disability, education, employment, and workforce development — strive to ensure you will be provided with the highest quality, most relevant information available.
  • Mapping Your Future http://www.mappingyourfuture.org
    Mapping your Future is a one-stop site for students and parents with information on financial strategies, career options, and college planning.
  • National Center on Secondary Education and Transition http://www.ncset.org
    The National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET) coordinates national resources, offers technical assistance, and disseminates information related to secondary education and transition for youth with disabilities in order to create opportunities for youth to achieve successful futures
  • KnowHow2GoKY is a multiyear, multimedia effort designed to encourage more Kentuckians to plan, enroll, and succeed in college. You can also log in to your Individual Learning Plan (ILP) from this site. http://www.knowhow2goky.org/index.php
Health and Development

Growth and Development

READY for adulthood

  • R – Relationships with friends, other students, co-workers, family
  • E – Energy to find things you enjoy and Expertise for meaningful activity
  • A – Awareness of the world around you, your place in the world and your contributions
  • D – Independent decision-maker: knows how to get things done and can control behavior
  • Y – say YES to healthy behavior, eat well, play hard, work hard, be safe (sex, drugs, etc)

Adapted From:
Duncan, P. & Frankowski, B. (2004). Bright Futures and Strength Based Health Care for Youth, Presentation at AAP CATCH and Medical Home Conference, Chicago, July 16, 2004.

Health and Safety Issues

HEADS for Transition for All Youth


  • Home – relationships and connectedness with family members, chores, and responsibilities
  • Health status – medical conditions, health promotion activities
  • Health care routines – how managed, what parts willing/able to do; medications
  • Health care – from whom
  • Health insurance – what does it cover; who pays for it
  • Hope
  • Having a life


  • Education – school, exams, prep for higher education; dreams for higher education
  • Employment – chores, work experience, volunteering, career planning
  • Eating behaviors
  • Earnings/ income
  • Exercise/ physical activity
  • Environment: is it conducive to physical and mental health; problems with heat, cold, molds, dusts, odors, humidity, noise, distractions, violence


  • Activities – peer network, time away from home, productive time after school; what doing for fun; opportunities for leadership
  • Ambitions
  • Affect/emotional health
  • Abilities to problem solve
  • Attend religious services
  • Able to vote – registered
  • Activities of daily living – how able to do
  • Accidents – unintentional or intentional injuries
  • Accommodations needed and gotten
  • Activity restrictions – what parts can be done
  • Assistance needed such as care coordination


  • Drugs – alcohol, tobacco; substance abuse; refusal skills
  • Diet – food intake/nutrition, balance, vitamins, calcium, sodas, caffeine, weight management/obesity
  • Dental care and oral health
  • Driving – learning, transportation use; accommodations


  • Sexuality – concerns, puberty, periods, knowledge, abstinence, experience contraception, masturbation, sexual health
  • Safety from injury – safety belt and helmet use; refusal skills
  • Savagery in life – violence, weapons, sexual, vehicles, bullying, gangs
  • Suicide and depression – someone to talk to, coping skills
  • Sleep – quantities, patterns
  • Socializing and recreation/fun vs. boredom
  • Support – for dreams, for planning, for mental health
  • Specialists needed – physical or mental health, education, work, recreation, independent living
  • Satisfaction with life

Adapted from:
Goldenring, J.M. & Rosen, D. (2004). Getting into adolescent heads: an essential update. Contemporary Pediatrics, 21,64-90, available at http://www.contemporarypediatrics.com/contpeds/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=108002

  • Go Higher Kentucky http://www.gohigherky.org The Go Higher KY website is your complete guide to attending college in Kentucky. By taking a few minutes to create a student account on Go Higher KY, you can automatically insert your information into financial aid and college applications, visit campuses virtually, explore career options, get adult education information, and receive help transferring to another school.
  • http://www.anapsid.org/cnd/disability/documenting.html#adl  Article by young woman with a disability that gives suggestions for how to describe limitations in terms of school and job functions and activities.

Disability Support Programs at Kentucky Universities (see examples of forms required to document disability and request accommodations):

University of Louisville: http://louisville.edu/disability

Eastern Kentucky University : https://accessibility.eku.edu/

University of Kentucky:  http://www.uky.edu/StudentAffairs/DisabilityResourceCenter/


Use of Health Care System

Interagency Collaboration

Interagency Collaboration is a mutually beneficial and well-defined relationship entered into by two or more individuals or organizations to achieve common goals, such as between families and school and between schools and outside services. This relationship includes a commitment to a definition of mutual relationships and goals; a jointly developed structure and shared responsibility; mutual authority and accountability for success; and sharing of resources and rewards. Simply put- it is multiple agencies working together to improve the life of the student. Collaboration is important because services are generally administered by dozens of rigid and distinct separate agencies and programs, which usually have their own individual funding, guidelines, requirements, and rules governing expenditure of funds. Agencies that are not collaborating seldom see each other as allies, which will not benefit the student. Most importantly, there is no legal mandate for students after they graduate to receive services. Sufficient funds are not available to provide necessary prevention, support, & treatment services to make lasting difference for young people who must overcome multiple problems and years of neglect. It is crucial to begin this process early to receive the best possible assistance with transitioning.