Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for transition services at Passages?

Any student that has an IEP is eligible to receive transition services through age 21.  The IEP team needs to consider the student’s goals in transition in the areas of post-secondary training and education, employment, and independent living.  If the student has not met or made sufficient progress towards his/her goals and does not yet have resources available to support his/her progress, services at the Passages program may be necessary or appropriate.


Who determines if a student will attend Passages?

Your child’s IEP team determines if transition services beyond high school are necessary and appropriate.  Based on your child’s needs as determined by his or her most recent evaluation and most current IEP, the team will consider and make a recommendation for transition services when appropriate or necessary.  You and your child are important members of the IEP team and should be involved with this decision-making and planning process.

How much does Passages cost?

Passages is 18-21 transition program that is of no cost to students or families.

Does a student need to have county services to attend Passages?

A student does not need to have county services to access services at Passages.  We recommend that when appropriate, students and families explore county services or other types of support.  Please see the Community Partners and Resources link for more information. Any services providers that work with families and students can be invaluable partners in transition planning.  Students and/or families would need to sign a release of information for services providers to work with Passages’ staff and the IEP team.

When should 18-21 transition services be considered?

After the age of 14, IEP teams need to consider transition when planning for students.  This includes considering needs in the areas of post-secondary education and training, employment, and independent living.  The team should consider the student’s strengths, interests and preferences in addition to needs when planning.  With each meeting, the team should monitor and plan for progress of the student’s transition goals.  Typically by Junior year, the team should discuss and consider 18-21 services.  During Senior year, the IEP team should include representative(s) of the Passages program to assist with setting goals and future planning.  Although this would be a typical timeline, teams can consider and recommend transition services at any time until the diploma is issued.   

How is the diploma earned?

The diploma is earned when a student meets their goals and objectives on their IEP or ages out.  The IEP team is the decision-making group that would decide when the diploma has been earned through completion of goals and objectives.  Students are eligible for services through the age of 21.

What is ‘aging out’?

Students age out of special education services the year that they turn 21, if their birthday falls before July 1st of that year.  At that point, students are no longer eligible to attend Passages due to their age.

Does attending Passages exclude a student from attending college?

Attending a transition program like Passages does not exclude a student from attending a post-secondary educational setting, like a two-year college after the diploma is earned.  Some students may even begin to explore the community or two-year college setting while enrolled in Passages, if that is a viable training opportunity for their eventual employment or career goal.  Programming at Passages can support a student’s desire to attend a college after they receive their diploma by preparing them to take placement exams, teaching them self-advocacy skills and an understanding of how disability services are provided at the college level, and preparing them for social situations that might occur in a college-setting.

Will instruction at Passages look a lot like high school?

Instruction at Passages will look quite different from what most students experience in the high school.  Learning at the Passages center, could take place in a traditional classroom, the kitchen, a social skills space set up to feel like a gathering space in a home or apartment or vocational space that will eventually house a business or other enterprise.  Additionally, students may spend some of their time learning at the 916 Career and Technical College.  The Community serves as a learning environment whenever possible to provide authentic learning and support generalization of skills.

Does a student need to attend Passages through age 21, or all three years until they age out?

Although they are eligible, students do not need to attend Passages through the age of 21.  IEP teams make recommendations and decisions about the issuance of the diploma and the end of special education services through the public schools based on a student’s needs, progress towards their IEP goals, post-secondary outcome measures, and resources. The diploma is issued and dated the year that the IEP team determines that the student has met their IEP goals and has the skills and resources to make the next step towards their future goals.

Can a student be open-enrolled to Passages?

If you are interested in open-enrolling to the Passages program, please contact Beth Sneden for more information.

Can a student try other post-secondary options before going to Passages?

If a student is recommended for transition services, the family is encouraged to share with the team other post-secondary options that they are considering.  The family and the team can consider those options together to help ensure that the student will find the best pathway to meet their goals.  The family should also consider that once the diploma is issued their child is no longer eligible for special education services through the public school system.

Can a student receive their diploma and then enroll at Passages at a later date to receive services?
Once a diploma is issued eligibility of special education services through the public schools has ended.  If a student who has received special education services is experiencing barriers in employment or post-secondary-education and training, they may want to visit their local Workforce Center to find out about services that may be available to them,
Our Mission

The mission of the Mahtomedi School District, the unified community of courageous hearts and curious minds dedicated to inspiring personal excellence, is to ensure that each student is a bold agent of learning who successfully pursues their passions while advancing the greater good, through a vital system distinguished by:

  • environments that inspire curiosity
  • an inclusive learning community
  • an array of exceptional learning experiences
  • teaching and learning that imparts a global view
  • culture of empathy that empowers the whole person

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