Community Connection

Transition services are provided to all students with disabilities in all schools in the Northwest Education Services region beginning at the age of 14.

What is Transition?

  • Transition introduces ideas that better prepare students to become as independent as possible in their adult lives.
  • Transition helps students learn and apply skills in a ‘real life’ context.
  • Transition helps build upon skills and experiences learned in the student’s home school and home community.
  • Transition helps students become active participants in decisions about their own lives and advocate for themselves (i.e. disability awareness, student-driven goals).


  • Students will have opportunities in the classroom and the community to test their skills, in order to better understand safety issues/risk/natural consequences AND to learn to apply advocacy skills to support future decision making.
  • Students will begin to recognize what, if any, accommodation supports they need in a variety of situations. 

Community Connection provides specific transition instruction for high school special education students who are in their final years of high school.  Activities are designed to “reinforce” transition instruction provided by the local high schools.  Community Connection provides a venue for learning skills related to independent living, work, and community participation. 


The over-riding goal of  Community Connection is to provide opportunities for refinement and application of transition skills.  An emphasis is on personal/social skills and maximizing independence in students’ adult roles. 

Who is eligible to participate in Community Connection?

  • Students enrolled within the five-county North Ed region and have a current IEP. 
  • Students working towards a Michigan Merit Diploma OR a Certificate of Completion from their local school district.
  • Seniors, 5th year are a priority.  Underclassmen as appropriate and identified.  Minimum age is 16 years at time of service.
  • Students who have identified Transition Instruction Goals (i.e. Personal Social, Adult Life Roles, Community Integration, Functional needs) that exist in their current IEP and can be worked on in this setting.
  • Students who will benefit from experiential learning opportunities.
  • Students who have participated in Life 101 or demonstrated beginning self-advocacy and disability awareness skills.
  • Students who demonstrate behavior that suggests that they can safely participate in community-based instruction.

How are students identified for this opportunity?

Students will be identified via the Annual District Transition Planning Meeting.  Other potential candidates should be discussed with the Service Area Director for that school or the Transition Coordinator.  Teachers of potential candidates must complete the Consideration Form to start the referral process. 

How long does a student attend Community Connection?

Typically, students will attend 1 semester for ½ of the school day.  The remaining ½ day, students will attend their Local High School or Career technical program.
According to pupil accounting rules, students cannot be out of their Local School environment for more than 50% of their school day.  Career Tech counts as a Local School environment. 

Where is Community Connection located and how will students get there?

Community Connection is located on the North Ed Transition Campus in a stand-alone building on the southeast side of the Career Tech facility. There is signage denoting the building’s name. 

  • The physical address is:  880 Parsons Road, Building #886  |  Phone: 231.922.6305
  • Students will travel via their naturally occurring Career Tech buses. Local high schools are responsible for setting up and overseeing these transportation arrangements.  If a school does not participate with Career Tech busing, other arrangements will be made individually by the local districts.  Please let North Ed know if transportation is a concern.
  • The local district teacher is required to visit Community Connection one time per month in accordance with MDE pupil accounting rules.

Do students receive credit for Community Connection?

North Ed does NOT award “credit” for participation in this transition service.  Local schools will determine how to enroll/code the service and what type/if credit is awarded, based on their individual local Board policies. 

  • Curriculum outlines/syllabus will be provided to local school districts who can then determine how and if credit is awarded.
  • Progress notes will be provided by the Community Connection teacher to the student’s home teacher on a consistent basis, so as to be considered in the LEA’s scheduled grade & progress reporting to the student’s home. 

What curriculum will be used?

Community Connection will utilize the Brigance Transition Skills lessons to provide structure for the daily activities. 

  • Lesson plans will cover a broad range of knowledge, skills and application important for a successful transition into adult life.
  • These lessons align with IDEA transition planning guidelines and key skill areas, including Post-Secondary, (education, training and employment,) Independent Living, and Community Participation.

How is Community Connection reflected in the IEP?

Community Connection is a transition service, NOT a program. 
Please do NOT record on the IEP under program or supplemental service area.

Curriculum (review skills in the Transition Skills Assessment)

Community Connection is NOT academic focused real-world math and reading skills, as part of life-skills instruction are included. Focus is on student’s strengths and how to apply what you can and accommodate for limitations

Content areas:

Daily Living

Housing – students will discuss/explore a variety of living options
Finances/budgeting, health and wellness, consumer issues

Social & Personal Skills

Personal responsibility, maturity, being accountable, giving and receiving constructive criticism
Communication, problem solving skills, relationships, dating

Community Skills

Community Agencies – what do they provide, how do I learn more
Transportation – options, safety, driver’s license possibilities and alternatives to driving
Career/work skills – focus is on skill development and realistic planning (not job placement)
Discussion and research on future education and training possibilities
Healthy recreation and leisure pursuits


Guardianship – issue is discussed in relation to independence and decision making (types of guardianship, alternatives to guardianship, etc…)
Awareness of different levels of independence – students will become aware of and involved with discussions that involve other students' lives – leading to shared learning
Support from parents/guardians – this partnership is very important to support goals and provide opportunities for students to practice skills and demonstrate growth