Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Bruce Boyles


Secondary transition support is an important part of the IEP requirements for high school exceptional children. Designed to help guide students toward their postschool goals, transition support should not only help identify goals but also help prepare them by teaching skills, building relationships, and imparting knowledge of the community they will join after graduation. The researcher completed a program evaluation for the FAST secondary transition support that was put into place in a large school district in North Carolina during the 2016-2017 school year to provide additional support to at-risk exceptional children on the Future Ready Course of Study graduation track. In the fall 2016 semester, the school district implemented a secondary transition support program for repeating and incoming high school freshmen classified as at-risk in five target high schools. The schools received support from the district transition team in the form of professional development, altered school schedules for participating students, student lessons provided by district transition leaders, career-readiness software utilized by participating students during transition preparation time, and a commitment to transitional support in the district for the students until they graduate. The program, titled “FAST,” entered its second year of implementation in the 2017-2018 school year, and the first cohort of students received their second year of services. This study examined the implementation of the program in its initial phases throughout the first two years of the program. This study found FAST had begun to address specific transition needs of students in the district, but still had transition components that needed further development. The study highlighted the strength of staff support but also showed a need for development of program structure. The study also compared the implemented best practices for both new program implementation and secondary transition practices to give feedback to stakeholders on successes and potential drawbacks of the program’s implementation. Using the work of Paula Kohler and other experts in the field, the researcher found that FAST had begun to address several key components of secondary transition such as Student Development and Vocational Education. The study also pointed to program gaps in areas such as Interagency Collaboration and Family Engagement. Lack of sufficient data lead to an unclear picture of FAST functioning at each site, but the researcher did evaluate overall program trends. FAST proved to have some merit for meeting the needs of at-risk secondary Exceptional Children on the Future Ready Course of Study.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.