Weekly Feature

2018-01-11 / Education

Safety net ensures students with disabilities earn local diplomas

New regulations adopted by the Board of Regents to increase options for students with disabilities to graduate from high school with a local diploma have been supported by Sen. Patrick Gallivan.

The amendments allow for an expanded “superintendent determination” option for students seeking to graduate starting in January 2018, the senator said.

“It’s important that all students be given the opportunity to demonstrate that they have met the state’s rigorous academic standards,” Gallivan said. “Allowing students with disabilities more flexibility to prove proficiency and earn their diploma will open the door to new possibilities in their lives.”

Some students with disabilities may have difficulty demonstrating proficiency on standardized tests, and state regulations provide several “safety net” options for students to graduate with a local diploma, including the superintendent determination option, Gallivan said. Under that option, a student with a disability must meet certain conditions defined under state regulations.

The senator said the amended regulations allow students who have passed both their English language arts and mathematics Regents courses — but are unable to earn a minimum score of 55 on the Regents exams — to seek a superintendent determination by completing the requirements of the state Career Development and Occupational Studies Commencement Credential.

For students with disabilities to meet the new commencement credential eligibility requirement, the superintendent must conduct a review to determine whether the student has otherwise demonstrated proficiency in ELA and mathematics, as well as other subject areas required for graduation, Gallivan said.

The Board of Regents adopted the regulation change in December.

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