Your Child’s Best Champion
Parents: Your Voice is Needed to Help Shape New Graduation Requirements for Youth With Special Needs in NY State!
The New York State Education Department has proposed to eliminate the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Diploma. The IEP diploma is not a standards-based diploma, and is not recognized as equivalent to a regular high school diploma. A student who exits school with an IEP diploma is likely to be significantly limited in his/her post-secondary education opportunities, employability, and earning potential. Elimination of the IEP diploma provides the opportunity to create a more meaningful graduation requirement for youth with an IEP.
The proposed Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential would replace the IEP Diploma and would be available beginning in the 2013-14 school year for students with significant cognitive disabilities who have taken the NYS Alternate Assessment, and who are not eligible for a regular diploma.
The NY State Education Department has requested comments from organizations and parents on this transition. The time to submit your comments is between now and November 21! (Link below)
Here is a summary of RCSN’s view on the development process of a new graduation requirement:
The elimination of the IEP Diploma affords an opportunity to create a more meaningful credential that could drive curriculum development. In our view, discussion of the proposed Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential should take place in the context of all the diploma options available, and needs to be part of a continually expanding array of options.
There are several issues we would like to have addressed as the state moves forward:
- Concerted, ongoing outreach to parents on the options available and the implications of this transition must be a central part of the development and rollout of a new credential
- We are concerned that the appropriate time and staff development be provided so that the new credential will be individualized to each student
- If the in-depth skills assessment is to be used to drive curriculum development, it needs to be integrated into a student’s transition planning process, preferably as early as Middle School
- In order for the credential to meaningful, the higher education and business communities must understand its value; therefore consistent outreach to these communities should be built into its implementation
- Students identified for this credential should have access to the general curriculum