Transition & Graduation

  • Guiding Principles
    Graduation from high school is an exciting time for students and their families -- filled with possibilities, opportunities and uncertainties. The West Linn-Wilsonville School District is committed to preparing students to transition to a broad range of post-school opportunities. This transition process begins long before graduation day.
    Transition is a fundamental part of the middle school and high school experience for all students - not only those served by Special Education. For most students, transition activities will be guided by the school counselor, through the Naviance system. These age-appropriate transition activities include interest inventories, job/career exploration, college exploration, resume writing, goal setting, and planning a course of study to meet those goals. The guidelines for this are part of the district's Plan and Profile.
    In addition to the transition activities provided for all students, students served by Special Education receive transition services tied directly to their Individualized Education Program (IEP). Starting at age 16 (or earlier for some students), the focus of the IEP shifts from annual goals to the post-secondary transition goals. These transition goals (guided by the student's preferences, interests, needs and strengths) become the driving force for the rest of the IEP (annual goals, services, accommodations and specially designed instruction).
    Most students served by special education in West Linn-Wilsonville graduate with a standard diploma. Many go on to post-secondary education or vocational training. Others move directly into career or military pathways. Students served by special education who graduate with an alternative diploma or certificate, as well as students who have left high school without earning a completing document are eligible for Adult Transition Services (ATS). Adult Transition Services are designed to promote movement from school to post-school life for young adults up to age 21. Curriculum and activities assist students with developing skills necessary to be successful adults in their home, community, and work. These activities, services and instruction are driven by the student's IEP.
    For information about the 18-21 year old Adult Transition Services program, visit the Adult Transition page of this handbook
    Procedural Guidance
    Transition IEP: Starting in the year the student turns 16 (or younger if appropriate), the IEP team completes the Transition Planning portion of the IEP. This page should be updated every year. The transition goals should drive the rest of the IEP process.

    Post-Secondary Goals

    • Should be created with the student's input based on
      • the student's preferences, interests, needs and strengths (PINS) and
      • the results of age-appropriate transition assessments
    • Goals should be in the areas of: 
      • Education
      • Training
      • Employment
      • Independent Living Skills (when appropriate for the student's needs)
    • A student may have a goal in Education or Training rather than in both areas. If so, there should still be something written in the box (ex. "Student does not have a specific training goal because their focus will be on post-secondary education.")
    • Goals should describe specific measurable outcomes that the student will accomplish (ex. "Student will complete welding classes at Clackamas Community College") rather than steps that the student will take (ex. "Student will learn about how to apply for financial aid.")

    Course of Study

    • This coursework should lead the student toward achieving the Post-Secondary Goals
    • Should align with Diploma Options

    Agency Participation

    • If the student is likely to receive support from outside agencies as part of the Transition Plan, it is good to have them at the table for the IEP process.
    • In order to include participants from outside agency on the meeting notice, Parent (or student if over 18) must provide written consent.
    • Many partners may be involved in supporting the transition needs of the student. However, the district is still responsible for providing a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and may need to have an IEP meeting to plan alternative strategies if other agencies are not providing appropriate services

    Diploma Decision

    • Starting with the IEP in the year the student turns 16, the IEP must document the anticipated graduation date and type of diploma. The IEP team can have this discussion with parents earlier. In particular, if a student is completing modified classwork and/or participating in the Extended Assessment in middle school, it is important to begin the diploma conversation with parents.
    • The Diploma decision is a very sensitive conversation with parents. It is closely tied to the parents' (and student's) lifelong aspirations and dreams. We always want to maintain high expectations for our students, believing in the power of a growth mindset. However, we also recognize that some students will not attain a standard Oregon diploma.
      • Taking modified coursework often allows students to participate and engage in general education classrooms alongside their peers.
      • Modified and Extended Diploma pathways may allow students to participate in other activities to help them reach their post-secondary goals (work experience, internships, CREST)
    • See Resources section below for the link to the Diploma Options consent form

    Graduation Date

    • We aspire for all students in West Linn-Wilsonville to graduate in 4 years. A very small number of students end up taking an additional year to complete their graduation requirements. In general, a student's graduation date on the IEP should be the graduation date for the class they entered 9th grade with.
    • If a student served by special education is going to take an additional year to complete graduation requirements, that does not necessarily mean that they should be moved to a modified diploma.

    Transfer of Rights

    • When a student reaches age 18 (or has married or been emancipated), they take over the rights as the educational decision-maker. The IEP team still functions as a team for making IEP decisions. However, the student is now the one who provides (or revokes) consent for evaluation & provision of services. Prior written notices should go to the student as well.
    • At least one year before the student reaches age 18, the case manager will provide notification of transfer of rights
      • Transfer of Rights form is in the ePEP document library
      • Upload the Transfer of Rights form to the IEP tab 
    • On or before the student's 18th birthday, the case manager will provide a second notification of transfer of rights
      • 18th Birthday letter is in the ePEP document library
      • Upload the 18th Birthday letter to the IEP tab
    • In some situations (for students with significant cognitive disabilities), a parent may maintain decision-making authority. However, we should always assume that an 18-year old student is the decision-maker (until we have written confirmation otherwise).
    • The district can continue to invite parents of 18-year old students to attend and participate in IEP meetings, unless the student requests that parents not attend.


    • Diploma Options
      • see notes in Transition section above
      • see Diploma Options consent form in the Resources section below
      • Students who complete high school with a non-standard diploma and a current SPED eligibility can continue to receive services through age 21
    • Termination of SPED Eligibility
      • Completion of a standard diploma terminates SPED eligibility and does not require further evaluation by the district
      • When a student completes the school year in which they turn 21, their SPED eligibility terminates. The district does not perform further evaluation. 
      • Case manager completes a Summary of Performance to summarize the student's current skills and give recommendations for next steps
      • Case manager also completes a Prior Written Notice to confirm that the student will no longer receive Special Education services

    The Transition IEP Follows a cycle:
    1. The cycle begins with data from Age-Appropriate Transition Assessments.
    2. This data informs the statements of Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP)
    3. The PLAAFP leads to the formation of Post-Secondary Transition Goals - in conjunction with the student's Preferences, Interests, Needs and Strengths.
    4. Once a student (and his/her team) has identified Transition Goals, then the team works to create Measurable Annual Goals as well as the Course of Study to lead the student toward the desired Diploma or Completion Document.
    5. The student receives Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) to help the student meet the Measurable Annual Goals - in support of their Post-Secondary Transition Goals. This SDI can also be targeted to specific community-based work experiences (including CREST).
    6. During these work experiences, Transition Specialists and Case Managers continue to collect data from Age-Appropriate Transition Assessments.

      Transition IEP Cycle 
    • Diploma Options and Consent Form (Fillable)
    • Transition Needs Worksheet
    • Transition Assessment Chart
    • Organizing for Post-Secondary Success (flow chart for WLWV Transition Services - ages 16-21)
    • HS Semester Planner toward Non-Standard Diploma (Fillable)
    • Planning My Way to Work (Transition Guide published by Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities along with ODE and DHS)
    • Sample Prior Written Notice for a Student Graduating with a Standard Diploma - This is a Template that should be adapted for the individual needs of each student
    • For information about the 18-21 year old Adult Transition Services program, visit the Adult Transition page of this handbook
    • Information about employment services to support students served by special education
      • Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) - VR is a state agency that helps youth and adults with disabilities to overcome barriers to employment: VR website - Oregon DHS
      • Youth Transition Program (YTP) - YTP is a school-based service designed to help develop job skills and connect students with Vocational Rehabilitation. WLWV has transition specialists that work with Art Tech HS, West Linn HS, Wilsonville HS, Adult Transition Services and CREST. Contact your school-based transition specialist for more information about YTP:
    • C-TEC:
      C-TEC Youth Services works with out-of-school youth in Clackamas County, ages 16-24, who face barriers to completing their education or entering employment. Participants work with an adviser to develop both short-term and long-term goals related to employment and/or education. C-TEC assists participants with returning to school and completing basic education in pursuit of their high school diploma or GED, tutoring/academic assistance, career exploration, resume building, and the college application process, while also offering opportunities for advanced/technical training, financial education, skills trainings, and other support services. Other support services include assistance with housing needs, healthcare, parenting needs, transportation, and financial support services.
    Transition and Graduation FAQs
    How do we document on the IEP form if a student is pursuing a GED?
    The IEP team needs to make a diploma decision. It is also essential that we document in the Present Levels and document it on the Transition Page. This decision needs to be made no more than two years before the anticipated graduation date. Diploma decisions can be changed if the student's circumstances have changed. There is no box for GED on the Diploma Options, so ODE guidance is to check Alternative Certificate. If you can write in "GED" do so here. In addition, the Present Levels need to include:
      • data that led to the decision
      • conversation that led to the decision (should also be in the meeting notes)
      • potential next steps as a result of the IEP team's decision that the student will pursue a GED rather than a diploma


    Board Policy: IGBAF, IGBAJ