Transition Services and Programs 

DCPS has implemented a number of initiatives to meet the diverse needs of students with disabilities and provide them with the opportunity to improve job skills, earn credits to graduate and to learn the advocacy skills needed to achieve.

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Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH is a competitive one-year, high school transition program that provides skills training and work experience for accepted students ages 18-21. 

At Project SEARCH, students work three 10-12 week supported employment rotations in a variety of offices within a government agency or private organization. To participate, each student has to apply to the program and be accepted by the selection committee.

At Project SEARCH, students learn employable skills in the classroom and practical job skills while at work. As a result, students work with a variety of resources to support them. 

At the job site, students have access to a training classroom, a business liaison, mentors and different rotational internships for on-the-job training. Students also have an instructor and transition coordinator. 

Through Project SEARCH, students are eligible for career counseling, job coaching, placement services and follow-along services with the District's Rehabilitation Services Administration.

Those students participating in the Project SEARCH program will have access to job coaches provided by the Rehabilitation Services Administration.

DCPS has partnered with Project SEARCH since the 2009-10 school year. More than 35 DCPS students have participated in the program, serving at the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services.

Teachers often refer students to apply to Project SEARCH, but students also can seek these programs out for themselves and apply.

For more information about Project SEARCH or to learn more about the application process, please email Deirdre Williams or call (202) 442-4800.

Project SEARCH Admissions Criteria

  • Must be on the IEP Certificate Track
  • Students must agree that their participation in this program will conclude their enrollment in school
  • The minimum age for the program is 18 and the maximum age is 21
  • Strong attendance record is preferred
  • Desire to work in an office setting


AdvancePath Academy

The DCPS AdvancePath Academy was launched in August 2010 in partnership with AdvancePath Academics, Inc., an organization that works with school districts to provide an alternative education path to high school students who are at risk of dropping out or will not earn their diploma on time at their current school.

AdvancePath is an option for special education students who have the basic skills necessary to earn their diploma and who have completed most of the necessary graduation requirements, but who may have dropped out or are struggling to complete credits at their current high school.

Students benefit from:

  • A rigorous online curriculum that meets DCPS standards
  • Learning in small groups with teachers who are certified in special education and other core content areas
  • A flexible schedule that allows students to focus on two subjects at a time at their own pace
  • Lessons in the skills and strategies necessary for students to succeed both in the classroom and in the workforce
  • Constant planning with students to ensure that they understand exactly what they need to do every day to achieve their goal of graduation
  • Ongoing support to identify post-graduation career options ranging from vocational training to college preparation to military service
  • Building relationships among staff, students and students' families
  • An age-appropriate learning environment for students 18 years of age and older

If you know a student who has the motivation and basic skills to finish his or her diploma coursework, but who is not on track to graduate on time, you are encouraged to contact the DCPS AdvancePath Academy and refer the student to admissions.

 For more information about the AdvancePath Academy, please email Deirdre Williams or call (202) 442-4800.

AdvancePath Academy Admissions Criteria

  • Students must be between the ages of 18 to 21
  • Students require five or fewer credits to graduate
  • Ability to work independently 80 percent of the day


Bridges...From School To Work

Created by the nonprofit Marriott Foundation, the Bridges program creates job placements to meet the workforce needs of local employers and the career goals of young people with disabilities.

Students have the opportunity to learn job readiness, interviewing and resume-building skills.

During the 2009-10 school year, Bridges enrolled approximately 30 DCPS students across the District.

Since then, DCPS has ramped up recruitment and enrollment for Bridges, with 70 students participating in the program for the 2010-11 school year. Through this program, 28 DCPS students have secured a permanent work position after graduation.

For more information about the Bridges, please email Deirdre Williams or call (202) 442-4800.

Bridges Admissions Criteria

  • 17 years old or older
  • Must attend school on a half-day schedule
  • Must be able to use public transportation

Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA)

RSA, which is a division of the DC Department on Disability Services, provides services to adults whose disabilities are a barrier to finding and maintaining competitive employment.

In partnership with DCPS, RSA can begin working with DCPS students as early as age 14 to begin the process of determining whether their disability will be a barrier to finding and maintaining competitive employment.

DCPS and RSA work together to determine whether a student is eligible to receive RSA services.

For eligible students likely to face barriers to employment after leaving high school, RSA can provide vocational rehabilitation services as early as age 16.

These vocational rehabilitation services include job development, placement and coaching. Ultimately, these services help break down barriers and help DCPS students live independently as adults.

Visit the RSA website to learn more about their mission and the services they provide.

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