Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Stella Ann Burns

Department Affiliation

Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership

Second Advisor

Norman W. Powell

Department Affiliation

Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership

Third Advisor

Abbey Poffenberger

Department Affiliation

Language and Cultural Studies, Anthropology, and Sociology


Transition policy and procedures are integral for districts promoting students with disabilities to successful post school outcomes in career or in higher education. School districts are given a set of standards that must be addressed in their curriculum but are not clearly delineated by state and national organizations. Additionally, transition programs in the secondary curriculum have not been examined extensively, and most research investigated particular individual disabilities in higher education settings or studies involving independent living or employment after school has been completed. This qualitative appreciative inquiry study sought to understand commonalities in the policies and procedures of the implementation of transition strategies by school districts in central Kentucky. In this study, nine school districts with seventeen stakeholders involved with setting and implementing transition practices for students with disabilities were surveyed using open-ended questions and a conversational approach. Participants in each of the groupings indicated that self-determination is used for interactions with students to focus on life skills and that career exploration and post-secondary goal setting has been a district initiative. These findings could be instructive for policy implementation when designing transition strategies for high school districts in the area of special education. Finally, limitations and suggestions for further research are presented.