High School Graduation for Students with Disabilities: Planning, Options and Requirements
The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) is committed to preparing all students to succeed in postsecondary college and career readiness. The NYDOE College and Career Readiness Benchmarks define the qualities and achievements that students need to complete in order to be ready to enroll, persist, and succeed in college, postsecondary training opportunities, and gain entry into meaningful careers. There are four essential domains to these Benchmarks: Common Core Learning Standards, Academic and Personal Behaviors, Academic Programming, and College and Career Access.
Planning for Postsecondary College and Career Readiness
Transition is the process students and their families use to think about life after high school, to identify their desired outcomes, and to plan their community and school experiences to assure that the students acquire the knowledge and skills to achieve their goals. The transition planning process should enable the student to move successfully from school to postsecondary education and training, employment, independent living, and community participation based on the student's preferences, interests, and abilities.
Planning for life after school is a requirement for students with disabilities, and must be documented on a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) beginning in the year in which the student will turn years old and is updated annually at the student’s school-based Committee on Special Education (CSE) meeting. Transition services focus on:
- Instruction to help the student achieve his or her individual goals;
- Building employment skills and other tools for adult life;
- Community integration;
- Developing daily living skills.
It is important for students, family members, schools, and community service agencies to work together on transition planning.
High School Graduation Options
All students, including students with disabilities, are encouraged to work toward the highest diploma option available. Students with disabilities should have access to academic experiences required to earn a Regents diploma throughout high school. The following diplomas are available to students with disabilities upon graduating from high school:
- Advanced Regents diploma
- Regents diploma
- Local diploma
For more information see graduation requirements.
Credentials Available Only to Students with IEPs
The Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential is a certificate that indicates that the student has the knowledge and skills necessary for entry level employment. The CDOS Commencement Credential may be a supplement to a regular diploma, or, may be given to a student who is unable to meet diploma standards. It is available to students with IEPs who participate in standard assessment as either an endorsement to a diploma or a standalone exit certificate. It is not available to students who are alternately assessed (using the New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA)). For further information, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions associated with Alternate Assessment on our Accommodations & Modifications page.
The Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential (SACC) is a certificate available only to students with severe cognitive disabilities who are eligible to take the NYSAA and have attended school for not less than 12 years, excluding Kindergarten. This credential must be accompanied by a summary of the student’s levels of achievement in academic and career development and occupational studies.
The CDOS and the SACC Credentials are not equivalent to a high school diploma. They provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their achievement of the Career Development and Occupational Studies Learning Standards.
New York State High School Graduation Requirements differ depending on the year a student first enters 9th grade. Students can obtain a Graduation Requirements card from their Guidance Counselor. The cards outline the credits, Regents examinations, and scores required for high school graduation. Graduation Requirements cards are color-coded and dated to correspond to the year of initial entry into 9th grade. The cards are intended to help students and parents, in consultation with the school counselor, determine how many credits, the distribution of credits by subject area, and the scores required on the Regents Exams to receive a local, Regents, or Advanced Regents diploma. A Diploma Requirements Worksheet can help track student academic progress throughout high school.