Effective program structure practices relate to efficient and effective delivery of transition-focused education and services including philosophy, planning, policy, evaluation, human resource development, and the structures and attributes of schools.
The National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center has identified three evidence-based practices in program structures. They are
Resources related to this evidence-based practice are provided below for the topics of
Assistive Technology (AT)
Assistive technology is any item, piece of equipment or system commonly used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Resources include the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST) and the Florida Diagnostic Learning Resource System.
Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST)
FAAST’s mission is to improve the quality of life for all Floridians with disabilities through advocacy and awareness activities that increase access to and acquisition of assistive services and technology. FAAST was created in 1992 to provide consumer responsive, technology-related assistance and services for Floridians with disabilities of all ages. In 1994, we became a not for profit corporation governed by a Board of Directors. 51% of the Board membership must be composed of persons with a disability or caregivers to a person with a disability. FAAST values each individual’s right to achieve his or her highest potential and the possibilities that can be realized through collaborative efforts. FAAST has worked with thousands of people with and without disabilities throughout the state to provide
Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System (FDLRS)
FDLRS provides diagnostic and instructional support services to district exceptional student education programs and families of students with exceptionalities statewide. Regional and statewide support includes 19 Associate Centers that collaborate with districts, agencies, communities and other personnel and educational entities, providing education and support for teachers, parents, therapists, school administrators, and students with exceptionalities. Each Center includes specialists in the areas of Child Find, Parent Services, Human Resource Development (HRD), and Technology. Other services include
Technology Coordinating Unit (FDLRS/Tech)
Assists Florida schools and educators to prepare students with disabilities to use technology tools to achieve successful educational outcomes. Students are assisted through the investigation of appropriate assistive technology, instructional technology, and Universal Design for Learning tools that are current, available, and accessible.;
Technology State Loan Library (FDLRS-TSLL)
FDLRS has five Regional Preview Centers throughout the state where assistive technology devices may be previewed. Visitors are also welcome to see the Demonstration Lab housed at the TSLL Facility in Sanford - please contact us at (800)558-6580 to set an appointment.
Community participation involves students in community activities and community members in school activities as a way to mobilize resources, expand student opportunities, and improve student outcomes. Effective practices include
National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTACC)
NSTTAC was established in order to ensure full implementation of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and help youth with disabilities and their families achieve the student’s desired post school outcomes. Its web site provides a variety of resources for students, families, caregivers and professionals, including effective practices. The practices and links listed below are related to curriculum and the design of specific educational programs for students with disabilities.
Community-Based instruction (General Practices)
Florida Department of Education/Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services (BEESS)
BEESS administers programs for students with disabilities and for gifted students. It also coordinates student services throughout the state and participates in multiple inter-agency efforts designed to strengthen the quality and variety of services available to students with special needs. The links listed below are related to curriculum/programs that provide work based learning activities.
Career and Technical Education
Program Options for Students with Disabilities
Program Options for Students with Disabilities: What Students and Families Need to Know
Simply Careers! Helping Students with Disabilities Effectively Plan Their Futures through Comprehensive Career Development
Technical Assistance Paper 12698: Non Paid Community Based Vocational Education (CBVE)
Diploma Options/Exit Requirements
Florida diploma options include Standard Diploma, Special Diploma Option 1, and Special Diploma Option 2. Exit requirements vary based on diploma selection and frequently from district to district based on their Student Progression Plans. Information on diploma options and exit requirements follow.
Florida Department of Education Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services (BEESS)
BEESS administers programs for students with disabilities and gifted students. The bureau also coordinates student services throughout the state and participates in multiple inter-agency efforts designed to strengthen the quality and variety of services available to students with special needs. The internet link listed below is related to curriculum/programs that provide work based learning activities.
High School Diploma Options for Students with Disabilities – Getting the Right Fit
Instructional strategies are approaches for planning, selecting, and sequencing learning activities in order to develop student knowledge and skills. Strategic Instruction, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Co-Teaching, Team Teaching, and Peer Tutoring are instructional categories described below.,
1. Strategic Instruction – a system of learning strategies for students and instructional strategies for teachers developed at the University of Kansas for students with learning disabilities. The strategies, some of which apply specifically to reading, are now being used with other learners through the inclusion of authentic, multicultural materials.
Strategic Instruction Model® (SIM®)
University of Kansas University – Center for Research on Learning
CRL has conducted research for 25 years that is designed to develop ways to help students meet the demands of life, not just in school but after school as well. The overriding goal has been to develop an integrated model to address many of the needs of diverse learners. SIM® has evolved from this effort. SIM is about promoting effective teaching and learning of critical content in schools. It strives to help teachers make decisions about what is of greatest importance, what we can teach students to help them to learn, and how to teach them well. SIM advocates trying to teach a little less content, but teaching it better.
Content Enhancement Brochure
Learning Strategies Brochure
2. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) – a blueprint for meeting the needs of diverse learners through (a) multiple ways of acquiring information and knowledge, (b) multiple alternatives for demonstrating what is learned, and (c) multiple means of tapping into learning interests, offering appropriate challenges, and increasing motivation. Developed by the Center for Applied Special Technology. Information on UDL can be found at
Universal Design for Learning Task Force
Teaching Every Student
3. Co-Teaching – an instructional service delivery option where two (or more) certified professionals, one a general educator and one a special educator or specialist, share the instructional process. The general educator has primary responsibility for content instruction for all students. The special educator has primary responsibility for facilitating the learning process for all students. Additional information regarding co-teaching is available at the following websites:
What is Co-Teaching?
Co-Teaching Principles, Practices, and Pragmatics
Is Co-Teaching Effective?
4. Team Teaching – an instructional service delivery option where two or more teachers deliver the same instruction at the same time to all students in the class. Also called tag team teaching, it is the most complex form of co-teaching. For further information, go to the following websites:
Team Teaching – Advantages, Disadvantages
Team Teaching (with Checklist)
5. Peer Tutoring – a learning strategy where students are paired, and one student teaches the other by explaining material, asking questions, and following up on the answers. The Florida Inclusion Network provides information regarding the establishment of peer tutoring and support. These resources may be accessed at the following websites:
The Power of Peers: A Guide to Developing a Peer Support Program for Students with Disabilities
Program evaluation is a systematic assessment of a program to determine if it is effective in producing a desired change, is properly implemented, needs improvement or refinement, and/or provides adequate information for accountability purposes.
Florida Department of Education
Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Service
In carrying out its roles of leadership, resource allocation, technical assistance, monitoring, and evaluation, BEESS is required to examine and evaluate procedures, records, and programs of exceptional student education; provide information and assistance to school districts; and assist the districts in operating effectively and efficiently (section 1008.32, Florida Statutes). In accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Department is responsible for ensuring that the requirements of IDEA are carried out and that each educational program for children with disabilities administered in the state meets the educational requirements of the state. (section 300.600(a)(1) and (2) of Title 34, Code of Federal Regulations)
Florida Education & Training Information Program (FETPIP)
The Florida Education and Training Placement Information Program (FETPIP) is a data collection and consumer reporting system established by Florida Statutes Section 1008.39 to provide follow-up data on former students and others. The information provided describe civilian and federal employment and earnings, continuing education experiences, military service and other measures that help answer accountability issues. The data also facilitates demographic and performance comparisons and demonstrates trends over time. FETPIP supports the Department of Education’s goals and strategic imperatives by providing accurate and comprehensive outcome information to Florida’s education, workforce development and social service programs in a timely manner.
Small Learning Communities
Small Learning Communities are characterized by a subdivided school structure where autonomous groups of students and teachers are formed in order to create more personalized learning environments and better meet the needs of students. Also known as "schools within a school." For more information regarding small learning communities and grant opportunities go to
Smaller Learning Communities Program
Resources - Smaller Learning Communities Program
18-21 programs focus on preparing students with disabilities ages 18 to 21 years to transition to life after high school and achieve their postsecondary goals. For more information, go to the following web sites.
Florida Department of Education/Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services
BEESS administers programs for students with disabilities and for gifted students. Additionally, the bureau coordinates student services throughout the state and participates in multiple inter-agency efforts designed to strengthen the quality and variety of services available to students with special needs. The internet links listed below are related to curriculum/programs that provide information regarding programs for students with disabilities between the ages of 18 - 21.
Technical Assistance Paper - Serving Students with Disabilities, Ages 18 through 21
Postsecondary Education Options for Students with Intellectual Disabilities
Transition Services for Students Ages 18-21 with Intellectual Disabilities in College and Community Settings: Models and Implications of Success
Test, D.W., Fowler, C.H., Richter, S.M., White, J., Mazzotti, V., Walker, A.R., Kohler, P., & Kortering, L. (2009, August). Evidence-based practices in secondary transition. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 32, 115-128. Available at http://www.nsttac.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdf/pdf/ebps/ExecsummaryPPs.pdf
Test, D.W., Fowler, C., Kohler, P., & Kortering, L. (2010, August). Evidence-based practices and predictors in secondary transition: What we know and what we need to know, Executive Summary.(Revised). Charlotte, NC: National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center. Available at http://www.nsttac.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdf/pdf/ebps/ExecsummaryPPs.pdf
| The development of this website was funded by the University of South Florida St. Petersburg
through a grant by the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services,
Florida Department of Education (2010 - 2011, 291-2621A-1C008).