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University of St. Francis logo · College of Education · COE

Communication, Collaboration and Transition in Special Education

  • Template 2019
  • Section TMPL
  • 3 Credits
  • 12/19/2018 to 07/29/2100
  • Modified 08/15/2023

Mission Statement

As a Catholic university rooted in the liberal arts, we are a welcoming community of learners challenged by Franciscan values and charism, engaged in a continuous pursuit of knowledge, faith, wisdom, and justice, and ever mindful of a tradition that emphasizes reverence for creation, compassion and peacemaking. We strive for academic excellence in all programs, preparing women and men to contribute to the world through service and leadership. 


Identifies and describes strategies that show the teacher candidate how to form successful partnerships with families, other educators, outside community agencies and other professionals in the community for individuals with disabilities. Transition planning and services, self-determination strategies for individuals with special needs are covered.


College of Education Mission

The mission of the College of Education is to prepare competent and caring educators who understand students, serve the community and develop professionally to become ethical decision-makers and leaders.

Understanding Students

The candidate will understand the impact of collaboration with family members regarding their child with a disability. The candidate will also understand how to facilitate successful collaborations and partnerships with families and communities.

Serving the Community

The candidate will collaborate and consult with outside community agencies and other professionals in the community concerning provision of opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

Finding Our Professional Selves

Candidates will be reflective practitioners who continually evaluate how choices and actions affect students, parents, and other professionals in the learning community and actively seek opportunities to grow professionally.

Educational Standards Addressed in this Course

Illinois Professional Teaching Standards (ITPS)
9. Collaborative Relationships The competent teacher understands the role of the community in education and develops and maintains collaborative relationships with colleagues, parents/guardians, and the community to support students’ learning and well-being.

Illinois State Board of Education-Common Core Standards for All Special Education Teachers (CCSSET)
8. Professional Conduct and Leadership: The competent special education teacher understands teaching as a profession, maintains standards of professional conduct, and provides leadership to improve students’ learning and well-being.

Learning and Behavior Specialist 1 Content Standards (LBS1)
8. Professional Conduct and Leadership: The competent special education teacher understands teaching as a profession, maintains standards of professional conduct, and provides leadership to improve students’ learning and well-being.

Council for Exceptional Children Special Education Standards (CEC)
10. Collaboration: Special educators routinely and effectively collaborate with families, other educators, related service providers, and personnel from community agencies in culturally responsive ways.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS)
8. Social Development Accomplished teachers of students with exceptional needs cultivate a sense of efficacy and independence in their students as they develop students’ character, sense of civic and social responsibility, respect for diverse individuals and groups, and ability to work constructively and collaboratively with others.

Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (NTASC)
Principle #10: The teacher fosters relationships with school colleagues, families, and agencies in the larger community to support students’ learning and well being.


The competent teacher candidate outlines and analyzes:

  1. Factors that promote effective communication and collaboration with individuals, parents, families, and school and community personnel in a culturally responsive program. (8B)
  2. Roles of individuals with disabilities, parents, teachers, and other school and community personnel in planning an individualized program (8E, 8I)
  3. Ethical practices for confidential communication to others about individuals with disabilities (9J)
  4. Typical concerns of families of individuals with disabilities and appropriate strategies for collaborating with families in addressing these concerns (including families transitioning into and out of the special education system). (8D, 8H)
  5. The effects of family and community on development, behavior and learning.
  6. Family systems theory and dynamics and differences in family structures and beliefs. (8D, 8H)
  7. Roles and responsibilities of school-based medical and related services personnel, professional groups, and community organizations in identifying, assessing, and providing services to individuals with disabilities. (8A, 8E, 9F)
  8. Information on systematic procedures including school goals, emergency procedures, etc. and where to access them. (8A, 9C)
  9. Information generally available from family, school officials, legal system, and community service agencies. (8A, 8E, 8H)
  10. Early childhood settings and other agencies related to young children and families as organizations within the larger community context. (8A)
  11. Resources, strategies, networks, organizations, and unique services that work with individuals with disabilities and their families (including career, vocational, and transition support), including possible funding agencies and financial sources for secondary aged students (local, state, and federal) (8A, 8T, 9F)
  12. Collaborative and consultative roles of special educators in the integration of individuals with disabilities into the general curriculum, and educational and alternative settings (including community). (3F, 8F, 8G)
  13. Self-determination skills: importance, assessment, planning instruction and implementation.

Performance Objectives:

The competent learning behavior specialist candidate will be able to:

  1. Assess personal readiness for collaboration and teaching, and examines one’s own perspective and biases, including their impact on collaboration (1F, 9E)
  2. Use strategies to collaborate with a team, including families, to develop and implement individual student programs (Individualized Education Programs [IEPs], Individualized Family Service Plans IFSPs], transition plans, etc.) (1A, 1L, 3B, 3P, 8I, 8S)
  3. Encourage and support families in their student’s programs and in becoming active participants in the educational team. (8Q, 9L)
  4. Plan for productive collaborative conferences with diverse families.
  5. Collaborate with parents and educators in the use of specific academic or behavior management strategies and counseling techniques. (3P, 5Q, 6R, 8K, 9N)
  6. Initiate collaboration with others and create collaborations that will enhance student learning. (3P, 8J, 8L, 8P, 8Q, 9L, 9N)
  7. Collaborate with classroom teachers, parents, para-educators, and other school and community personnel in integrating individuals with disabilities into various social and learning environments. (3P, 4M, 5Q, 6R, 8J, 8O)
  8. Use effective communication strategies with general educators, administrators, para-educators, and other school personnel about characteristics and needs of individuals with disabilities. (8R)
  9. Assist students, in collaboration with parents and other professionals, in planning for transition to adulthood including employment and community and daily life, with maximum opportunities for decision-making and full participation in the community. (1L, 3B, 8L, 8S)
  10. Demonstrate the ability to train, monitor, evaluate, and provide feedback to para-educators.
  11. Work with colleagues to develop an effective learning climate within the school. (8J)
  12. Collaborate with parents, general educators, other professionals (including community) and para-educators in the integration of individuals with disabilities into the general curriculum, and educational and alternative setting. (7P, 8N, 8O)
  13. Demonstrate an ability to assess self-determination skills using the ARC Assessment of Self-determination skills. Design and plan self-determination instructional curriculum and strategies. (4E)
  14. Demonstrate the ability to create successful family and community partnerships using thorough data analysis on personal and community assets. (1A, 1L, 7P, 9O)
  15. Practice using various technological tools effectively to enhance the effectiveness of collaboration. (8M, 9G, 9M, 9S)

 Illinois Professional Teaching Standards addressed above:

Developed (D)

1A, 1F, 3B, 3F, 3P, 4E, 4M, 5Q, 6R, 8A, 8B, 8D, 8E, 8F, 8G, 8H, 8I, 8J, 8K, 8L, 8M, 8N, 8O, 8P, 8Q, 8R, 8S, 8T, 9C, 9E, 9F, 9G, 9J, 9N, 9O, 9S

Assessed (A)

1L, 7P, 9L, 9M,


Weekly Class Discussions and Activities:  Candidates will engage in active, professional participation in discussions and activities involving principles of effective collaboration and its applications.

  • Objectives: 1-15
  • Standards: IPTS 7,  9,  10, 11; CEC 6,  6.3, 7

Chapter Quizzes: Candidates will complete content quizzes based upon information presented in the textbook and the course. Quizzes may be taken multiple times.

  • Knowledge and Skill Objectives: 1-15
  • Standards: IPTS 7,  9,  10, 11; CEC 6,  6.3, 7

Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale & Team Efficacy (25 points):  Candidates will complete & score a Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale and write a reflection that includes a summary of responses including areas of strength and needs. Reactions to the information gained from this experience will be included in the reflection. Candidates will also compare results and reflect on  team strengths and needs.

  • Performance Objectives: 1-15
  • Standards:  IPTS 10

Collaborative Log Assignment & Improvement Action Plan (90 points): Phase 1: Record your collaborative interactions with others over five consecutive school days. Your log may include interactions with district level administrators, school administrators, general education teachers, special education teachers, school resource/support teachers, related services personnel, paraprofessionals, families, and committees/teams. See Appendix B for directions and rubric. 30 points.

Phase 2: Provide an improvement action plan for any one of the above collaborations that were not satisfactory. See Appendix B for directions and rubric. 60 points.

  • Knowledge and Skill Objectives: 1-15
  • Performance Objectives: 6-12
  • Standards;  IPTS 7,9; CEC 7

Family & Professional Partnerships Project (75 points): The purpose of this project is to give you, the pre-service teacher, an opportunity to think about building partnerships and working relationships with parents and families of your students. You will utilize your emerging communication and collaboration skills as you seek to understand the parent’s perspective of his/her child, the child’s experiences in school, and the parent’s experiences advocating for their child.

You will spend individual time with a student during school hours and then will meet with the student’s parents, given interview “talking points” (see Appendix D). One of the goals of this assignment is to build your listening skills. Really focus on listening to what parents are telling you as they share their ideas, options, dreams, and goals for their child’s future.

Additionally, this project should challenge you to consider your own biases and examine your own attitudes about working with parents and families of your students. You will gain greater understanding and appreciation for the student’s strengths and struggles when trying to see them from the family’s point of view.

  • Knowledge and Skill Objectives:   1-7, 11-12
  • Performance Objectives: 1-15
  • Standards:  IPTS 3,9,10,11; CEC 6

Institutional Policies

Students should use the MyUSF portal as the first resource for guidance and support on items such as student complaints, safety, security and transportation questions, contact information for various USF departments, student support services such as counseling and academic resources. Information on these resources can be found in the For Students section of the MyUSF portal.

  • A complete listing of university policies and procedures can be found in the University of St. Francis Catalog and Student Handbooks. Students are expected to follow all policies in the USF Catalog and Student Handbook, both of which can be found in the student portal.
  • Students are expected to be familiar with and follow the various procedures and guidelines regarding USF’s COVID-19 Response, including the USF Preparedness Plan and other materials incorporated in the Saints United resource hub (
  • Policies not covered in this document will be handled in accordance with the USF Catalog, Student Handbook, and Program Handbook as applicable.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity requires that all academic work be wholly the product of an identified individual or individuals. Collaboration is only acceptable when it is explicitly acknowledged. Ethical conduct is the obligation of every member of the University community, and breaches of academic integrity constitute serious offenses. Since a lack of integrity hinders the student’s academic development, it cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. Violations include but are not limited to: cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty, plagiarism, and denying others access to information or material. See the University of St. Francis Catalog for further clarification and information on grievance procedures.

Services and Accommodations for Students with Disabilities (ADA)

The University strives to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA). A student who requires special accommodations or arrangements due to a disability should contact the Office of Accessibility Services. This contact preferably should occur no later than the first week of classes. Early contact before the semester starts is encouraged to allow sufficient time to provide accommodations. Extra time is needed for some types of accommodations such as sign language interpreters or special text formatting. Should a need arrive after the start of a semester; the student is encouraged to contact the Office of Accessibility Services as soon as possible. Note that accommodations are not retroactive. Each case will be reviewed on an individual basis to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodations.

USF is committed to ensuring the full participation of all students in its programs, regardless of the course format. If you have a documented disability and need a reasonable accommodation to participate in a course, complete course requirements, or benefit from the University’s programs or services, please contact the Office of Accessibility Services at 815-740-3631 or [email protected] . The Office of Accessibility Services is located on the third floor of Tower Hall in room N320. Consultations are welcome; please contact the Office of Accessibility Services for an appointment.

Academic Support Services

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) located in Room N316 in Tower Hall (815-740-5060 or [email protected]) offers various types of academic services.  Online and distance learning students can contact ARC for appropriate resources.  ARC serves students who need tutoring in many areas of study including writing and math.  Library services include a number of online services and full text databases.  Call the Library at 815-740-5041 for additional information.  If you need academic-related resources or assistance, please contact the Academic Resource Center.

Technology Support

If you are experiencing any difficulty using Canvas or need technical assistance, you have several options to receive support:

  1. 24x7 Live Canvas Support. Canvas has a 24 hour support by clicking on ? Help while in Canvas. You can Chat with Canvas Support, Report a Problem, or call the Canvas Support Hotline. If you experience technical difficulties or have a question about Canvas, you can receive support 24 hours a day seven (7) days a week through the Canvas help menu. From the help menu; select Report a Problem to send an email support request, select Chat with Canvas Support (Student) for a “live” text-based click-to-chat session, or to speak to someone directly use the toll-free number listed under the Canvas Support Hotline (Student). NOTE: Responses to Canvas’ email based Report a Problem request system will go to your USF email account, NOT your personal email.
  2. Online Self-Service Help Resources. A student user guide and other resources for solving issues related to Canvas can be found at
  3. You can phone the Technology Support Center for personal help at (815) 768-8324 or (866) 337-1497 (toll-free) between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM Central Standard Time, Monday through Friday or fill out a Technology Support Center ticket and select Canvas/Online courses as the component.

For any technical support issues that are not related to Canvas, you can also contact the USF Technology Support Center (TSC). You can reach them via: