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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: December 14, 2018 03:01 PM
From: Representative Kathy L. Rapp and Rep. Dan L. Miller
To: All House members
Subject: Secondary Transition Services (Prior House Bill 1305)
We plan, in the near future, to reintroduce legislation to ensure that professional educators who provide secondary transition services are highly qualified and well trained. This legislation, prior House Bill 1305 from last session, unanimously passed the House in May 2017 (194-0).

Secondary transition is the process of preparing special education students for life after they leave high school, including participation in post-secondary education or training, employment, and community living. Federal law specifically defines transition services as a "coordinated set of activities" and a "results-oriented process" that focus on improving the academic and functional achievement of a student with a disability, based upon the individual student's needs. These services must be included in a student's Individualized Education Program (IEP), and, in Pennsylvania, a student's IEP must address transition services and planning beginning at age fourteen.

It is imperative that our school personnel have the skills and knowledge necessary to implement these services that will prepare and shape students for their postsecondary lives, and we believe that educators tasked with the important responsibility of imparting this instruction to students should receive, and continue to receive, specialized and detailed training in this particular area.

With this in mind, our legislation will require professional educators providing secondary transition services to students who are in grades eight through twelve or are at least fourteen years old to complete a training program. They will also be required to complete this training again every five years. Our legislation further requires the PA Department of Education (PDE) to create this training program, which must be available online and free of charge, and enumerates what must be included in the program. Finally, the bill provides that completion of this program will be credited toward any professional educator or school leader's continuing professional education requirement under law.

In addition, our legislation will also do the following:
  • Require professional educators to complete the training within 6 months of assuming their duties;
  • Include the training as an option for paraprofessionals who provide services to students preparing for secondary transition and allow them to receive continuing education credit for completing the training;
  • Require PDE to develop and provide a curriculum for face-to-face training;
  • Require the training to include topics to support parents and guardians;
  • Require school entities to make a reasonable effort to facilitate a time and location for professional educators to participate in the training during working hours or in-service training; and
  • Require PDE to review and modify the content of the training at least every five years and when necessary to reflect changes under federal or state law.
This legislation will provide a reasonable protection for our special education students. We hope that you will join us in supporting this legislation.