Date of Award

5-2017

Degree Type

Creative Project

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

Department

Special Education and Rehabilitation

First Advisor

Bob Morgan

Second Advisor

Tim Riesen

Third Advisor

Kat Oertle

Abstract

Students with disabilities often experience difficulties as they transition from school to adult life. This project examined the perspectives of parents of transition-age students with disabilities enrolled in a full-time virtual school setting. The first dependent variable was parent satisfaction with transition services for students in the virtual school including relevancy and quality of student and parent trainings and information on transition, inter-agency collaboration, community-based learning experiences, staff knowledge and communication, transition specific courses, and appropriateness of the IEP transition plan. The second dependent variable was parent expectations for students as they exit school in regards to independent living, post-secondary education or training, employment, social and leisure activities, and community involvement. Participants included 43 parents of transition-age students with disabilities at a public virtual charter school. Parent expectations and satisfaction were measured utilizing an online survey with questions using a 1-4 rating scale. Procedures involved distributing an online survey with (a) demographic information, (b) rating questions on expectations for post-school outcomes, (c) rating questions on satisfaction with transition services, and (d) open-ended questions including those on recommendations for improving transition services at the virtual school and specific parent transition concerns. Approximately 60% of the parents of students with disabilities at the virtual school surveyed had overall low expectations for post-school outcomes. Specifically, future involvement in the community was especially low with more than half of parents stating that students were “least likely” or “somewhat likely” to participate in community activities at least once per day. Additionally, parents rated transition services at the virtual school as low in regards to community-based instruction opportunities and involvement and information about outside agencies. These results may provide guidance for virtual schools in meeting the transition needs of students with disabilities and further insight into parent expectations and satisfaction in transition services for students with disabilities.

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