The mission of Florida's Transition Project: Provide training and technical assistance for interagency community-based teams to develop a comprehensive system of transition for families of young children, birth to kindergarten.
The project offers technical assistance in the following areas, and others:
Florida's Transition Project works with interagency partners through the Interagency Agreement development process and the TATS Regional meeting framework to address and provide technical assistance related to transitions for children birth to kindergarten.
Florida's Transition Project expanded its focus to include the transition to kindergarten, since children who are participating in Part C and Part B are impacting the system of elementary education when they enter kindergarten. Tools to help communities build their systems in regard to transition to kindergarten have been developed and will continue to be modified to meet changing needs.
Florida's Transition Project has developed many materials and tools throughout the life of the project that address need or promote best practice in the effort to improve and maintain the effort to meet the federal requirement for 100% of children transitioning from Part C to Part B on time, and having their Individual Educational Plan written and implemented by their third birthday. These materials, as listed below, are available to download on the Home page or Downloads page of the website.
In addition to providing technical assistance to local counties/regions, the project has developed products and activities to provide a statewide support system for transition activities. These include, among others:
Tools initially developed for training and system building
Florida is one of many states that originally chose the nationally acclaimed Sequenced Transition for Education in the Public Schools (STEPS) model to provide the framework for developing community-wide transition systems throughout the state. Because Florida had a low percentage of children transitioning from Part C to Part B on time, early in 1995 a state level team self-formed to develop a plan to formally address the need for providing training and technical assistance in local communities about the transitions families with children at risk or with special needs face as they move through the continuum of services from prenatal care to kindergarten entry.
This team was comprised of representatives from the Department of Education, Bureau of Instructional Support and Community Services (BISCS), Department of Education, Office of Early Intervention and School Readiness, and the Department of Health, Children's Medical Services, Early Intervention Program (CMS/EIP). These partners reviewed a number of models for providing community based support and in 1995 selected the Sequenced Transition to Education in the Public Schools (STEPS) model developed by the University of Kentucky under a grant from U.S. Department of Education as a possible model.
Department of Education (BISCS) and Department of Health (CMS/EIP) entered into an agreement to jointly fund the project. A state team comprised of representatives from several agencies traveled to Kentucky to participate in the STEPS National Forum to get additional information about the model.
During the forum, these representatives (who later formed the core of the state team) developed long-term and short-term action plans to provide community based transition training throughout Florida. Through joint funding from DOH and DOE Florida's Transition Project was formed, training was provided to 8 pilot teams and 19 FDLRS child find consultants, 1 Head Start training and technical assistance professional, and a contract was entered into with a consultant to provide staff support to the project. During the second year of the project BISCS (now BEESS) continued funding the project through the Preschool Administrative Services project, and continues to be the primary funding source for the project today. During OSEP monitoring visits, the project was cited as a positive support to transition in Florida.
In 2004, Florida's Transition Project became a project under the umbrella of the Technical Assistance and Training System (TATS) Project, a Florida Department of Education, Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services (BEESS) project in collaboration with the University of Central Florida. The two projects have identified ways to integrate the activities of each relative to transition, and have effectively improved the rate of transitions for children.
The project was designed to promote systems change by developing a firm infrastructure for transition that is embraced by all participating agencies in a county/region. An important component of the training is development of written guidelines for transition activities, including interagency agreements that are specific to transition. These agreements include each agency's responsibilities, timelines, and the specific parties responsible for implementation of the agreed upon activities. Development of written guidelines at the operational level is given important emphasis, so that when the "players" change, the infrastructure to support the ongoing process is not lost. The Project has helped Florida steadily increase its rate of timely transition of children from Part C to Part B.