The University of Massachusetts Boston Transition Leadership program offers an 18-month online training program of study for passionate individuals who want to be part of a movement to improve postschool outcomes for students with disabilities. The past few years have been challenging for us all but for students with disabilities, the impact on their education and transition services has been significant. Schools and community rehabilitation providers need strong educators and transition specialists who can guide education restoration efforts. This includes assessing current transition services and developing team goals to restore and enhance services that were disrupted by COVID. It also includes the addition of inclusive college and career services in students’ transition services that prepare them for their postschool goals. These are just some of the competencies that scholars in the UMass Boston Transition Leadership program develop or improve upon in the program.
If you are interested in being part of transition leadership, read on to learn more about this program.
Who: Graduates of the program come from a range of professions including special education, special education administration, rehabilitation counseling, school guidance, and school social work. Their reason for pursing this certificate range from wanting to know how to effectively plan transition services, speaking confidently to parents and colleagues about this work and leading professional development that builds the capacity of colleagues to provide effective transition services.
What: The program consists of five online graduate courses and a practicum. The courses are instructor led with both synchronous and asynchronous formats and are built to be engaging and responsive to the needs of the scholars. Video interviews with individuals with expertise in specific transition topics are incorporated into all courses. A cohort structure provides built-in support from classmates across the country. Ongoing applied learning assignments are designed to help scholars put best practices right to work.
When: The courses are designed so that students can complete 13-week online modules at their convenience each week. Instructors record overviews each week so that students know exactly what they need to complete and include online discussions and web conferences to dig deeper into the research and practice reviewed that week.
Where: Because the courses are fully online and structured as one-week modules, students have the flexibility to complete modules each week at their convenience. The semester-long practicum can be completed in their own work setting and is encouraged so that students can bring their effective transition services directly to students, families, and colleagues.
Why: Graduates of the program have identified several reasons this advanced training in transition services was and still is important to them. Newer professionals say that they want to feel confident that they not only know how to talk about transition services in IEP meeting but also know how to incorporate individualized plans into student services. Veteran professionals often indicate that the training helps them to fully understand comprehensive transition services and then facilitate professional development for staff that builds their capacity to offer effective transition services.
So what? Scholars who complete the program will be eligible to pursue advanced study certification, such as a Massachusetts state transition specialist endorsement or the Council for Exceptional Children's Division on Career Development and Transition's transition specialist national certification.
Equally important to the credentials, graduates of the UMass Boston Transition Leadership program are providing local and state transition leadership at a time when the stakes are high to prepare students with disabilities for their postschool aspirations.