Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Executive Ed.D. in Education Leadership Management and Policy

Department

Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Advisor

Anthony Colella, PhD

Committee Member

Barbara Strobert, Ed.D

Committee Member

Dianne Zager, PhD

Committee Member

Francine Dreyfus Ed.D

Keywords

Adolescence, Adolescent development, transition planning, special education, private school

Abstract

This purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of parents and faculty regarding the transition from a private special education school to the middle school environment. Research was conducted using a mixed methods design to investigate the attitudes and perceptions of those directly involved with the transition process. Seventeen participants, nine parents and eight faculty participated in both the interviews and questionnaire processes. Social competence, academic competence, procedural challenges, maturational readiness and program planning were dominant themes in this study. The study examined the academic, procedural and social changes that occur in middle school from the stage-environment fit and adolescent development theories. This study found that while both parents and faculty experience anxiety and excitement about transition all participants perceived the social and academic domains as the most difficult for students with special needs. This study also examined the experiences of parents and faculty in the transition planning process. This study identified a need to develop curriculum that supports parents and faculty before, during and after this important transition process. Policy that mandates a series of coordinated activities for transition is recommended.

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