Using Community Conversations to Inform Transition Education in Rural Communities

Erik W. Carter, Michele A. Schutz, Shimul A. Gajjar, Erin A. Maves, Jennifer L. Bumble, Elise D. McMillan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nearly one quarter of all youth with disabilities attend rural schools. Supporting the successful postschool transitions of these youth can be a complex and challenging endeavor. In this study, we used “community conversation” events as a methodology for identifying the practices and partnerships needed to improve transition outcomes for students with disabilities in rural school districts. We analyzed the diverse ideas (N = 656) for preparing youth with disabilities for adulthood generated by a cross section of the local community in five participating rural school districts. Although practices related to employment and family engagement were prominent, fewer suggestions addressed postsecondary education and community living. Perceptions of existing school–community partnerships varied within and across districts. We offer recommendations for research and practice aimed at strengthening the capacity of rural communities to prepare their students with disabilities well for life after high school.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-142
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Special Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • collaboration
  • community engagement
  • disability
  • rural communities
  • transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Rehabilitation


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