IEP Goal Bank : Transition Skills

consumer math life skills resource teacher experience teacherspayteachers transition Jun 13, 2023

Are you tired of ‘Dollar Over’ being your go-to functional math and independent living goal when drafting annual goals or transition planning?  Because let’s be honest, do most people in the real world carry a $20 bill, $10 bill, $5 bill, and four $1 bills with them at all times?  


Are you also over ‘Will develop a resume’ as your go-to employment goal?  


Or, is ‘will research local college options’ overused as your go-to education goal?


Please, do not open up a new Chrome tab, search ‘IEP Goal Bank’, and click on a website to find a short list of outdated functional life skills that don't really meet a student's needs.    


If you want more variety, more meaningful post secondary goals, ideas for lessons, and options for goals after your students have Mastered the most basic of goals (i.e. Dollar Over, developing a resume, and researching local college options), then you NEED the Transition Skills IEP Goal Bank (also available on TeachersPayTeachers).


What's an IEP Goal Bank?

A goal bank is a document that special education teachers or related service providers would reference when drafting annual IEP goals, transition plan outcomes, post-secondary goals, or transition IEPs.   While every student's IEP is individualized, a goal bank holds ideas for skills to address within independent living, education, training, and employment goals.  


What are Transition Skills?

A transition plan is a section of the IEP required for students age 16 years of age and older, some states require a transition plan as early as 14 1/2. Transition plans outline the individual's independent living, training, education, and employment desires.  Transition skills are the skills needed to achieve the student's desired independent living, education, training, and employment outcomes.  Transition plans are updated yearly at the IEP annual review and as students begin to access transition services academic goals shift to functional goals.  The transition skills are what high school students and young adults need to achieve their 'real adult life' dreams.  


What is a SMART Goal?

A S.M.A.R.T goal is an IEP goal that is written with Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.  A SMART IEP goal will include exactly what the student will do, how they will do it, and in what time frame.  


For example, 

By May 2024 (time-bound), when feeling anxious Student will independently choose a coping strategy from a list of preferred, effective strategies (relevant) and execute with 1 or less prompts (specific) with 80% accuracy (measurable and achievable).  


Disclaimer- School districts typically have their own standards and recommended guidance for IEP goal language.  The aforementioned goal is simply an example of SMART goal language. 



I’ve been asked in the past if I have a goal bank that I love to use and honestly, I didn’t.  I relied on my teaching experience and conversations with families about their priorities to develop meaningful and appropriate IEP goals.  I can honestly share that the more experience I had (and admittedly, the more I worked with families and students as they moved into transition programming), the better I became at identifying and writing functional IEP goals.  


And, if you know me, then you know that if I can’t find what I like, I create it! 


When I was dreaming up this resource I knew it needed to be versatile.  This resource needed to serve many important purposes because as high school and transition educators (and middle school educators too), we need to see the big picture so we can appropriately break down topics into lessons and then into skills.  


Let me highlight why YOU will LOVE this Transition Skills IEP Goal Bank resource:


1. You can use it to brainstorm MODERN DAY IEP goal ideas


Somewhere along the line, I believe particular skills were labeled as ‘the most important’ or ‘the building blocks to other skills.’  For example- Dollar Over.  Considering the Transition Skills IEP Goal Bank has over 900 skills, there are FAR more skills that could be addressed, specifically as it relates to money.  Each skill is listed as a short snippet phrase, allowing educators to easily identify and combine skills to meet the unique needs of each student.  Also, not all skills are contingent on mastering other goals, nor are these blanket goals necessary skills for all students.  


For example, a student does not need to master Dollar Over in order to be ready to learn how to use a debit card.  The skills are both functional money skills, however Dollar Over is not a prerequisite to using a debit card.  Using the Money Skills Section, which is available as a sneak peek freebie, is a great way to see ALL the different money skills that students can learn.



Money Skills FREEBIE!

2. You can use it to develop a scope and sequence


Whether you are developing a new transition program, starting as a new teacher, or overhauling an old and outdated curriculum, the Transition Skills IEP Goal Bank covers Independent Living, Education, Training, and Employment- all important topics when building the foundation of a program or class.  


Here are ALL the topics included in the goal bank:

  • Independent Living Skills

    • Personal Hygiene

    • Communication Skills

    • Self Advocacy

    • Personal Information & Belongings

    • Food, Cooking, & Eating

    • Money

    • Home Maintenance

    • Schedule & Recreation Leisure

    • Safety, Health, & Medical Needs

    • Transportation

    • Accessing the Community

    • Shopping

    • Mobility & Assistive Technology

    • Social Relationships

    • Digital Skills

    • Sensory Needs

  • Education

    • Post Secondary Options

    • Academic Demand Awareness

    • Building Support Systems

  • Training

    • Training Awareness

    • Engaging in Training

    • Pre-Vocational Skills

  • Employment

    • Expanding Awareness

    • Seeking Employment

    • Initial Employment

    • Maintaining Employment

Those 4 transition pillars come as no surprise to any special education teacher.  I wrote about the Transition Plan Student Workbook and how the resource quickly becomes individualized while exposing the realness of the student’s dream through their own research.  Personalizing a transition plan is necessary, and applicable IEP transition goals, like the ones in this IEP Transition Skills Goal Bank support exactly that! 


3. You can use it when collaborating with a large IEP team


Having worked with large IEP teams in the past, I know the value of having a system to record ideas, thoughts, potential future goals, and what has already been mastered.  Each section has a few columns on the right to document all that the team brainstorms when developing appropriate education, training, employment, or independent living goals, present levels of performance, or a student's transition services programming plan. 


Also, print this and include it in your student’s unofficial folder for future teams to reference.  


4. You can easily identify the ‘next skill to address’


The skills in each section are broken down into 1 of 3 levels: foundational skill, growing in the skill, and independence.  This easily helps you identify what skills to address first and next with your student and/or class.  This really solves the problem of, ‘What goal do I write next for this student?’ when used in conjunction with other age-appropriate transition assessments.  Just identify the student's individual needs, reference the list, find the next level of skills, and choose the most appropriate! 

5. The Google Sheets digital version just makes life easier!


The newly added digital version now means you can...

  • Find specific skills SO FAST using the Find feature within Google Sheets (Command + F for Macs, Control + F for PCs)
  • Add the student's name to the title of the doc (which makes it super easy to find amongst your many other files)
  • Type in notes next to skills to help jog your memory as the student grows and learns
  • Check or uncheck a box with a single click (no more crossing out or erasing)
  • Quickly and easily share the doc with other IEP team members for seamless collaboration (just make sure they also purchased a license for the goal bank! 



Speaking of making your life easier, I've shared Over 30 Community Vocational Student Volunteer Site Ideas and Over 50 Community Based Learning Ideas, if you want to save yourself even more brain power!



Want to check out part of the IEP Transition Skills Goal Bank for FREE?  Grab the Money skills section HERE


Stop feeling mentally drained when it comes to crafting quality IEP goals or developing your scope and sequence.  Your teacher toolbox needs this really great resource!


Transition Skills IEP Goal Bank Perks

  • 900+ transition skills

  • Digital version available in Google Sheets
  • Covers Independent Living, Education, Training, and Employment

  • Includes skills that will support student's post-secondary life 
  • Use to develop IEP goals for high school or transition-age students, a scope and sequence for a program or class, or to refresh the skills you address in your classroom
  • Skills are organized by section and in a progressive order, inclusive of the unique needs of a wide range of students

  • Grab the FREE Money Section to preview it for yourself



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