Williamsville Central School District

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Diploma or Credential Options

Adoption Date:  9/10/13 Revised: 2/11/14; 12/13/16; 10/17/17; 3/13/18


The District will provide students with disabilities appropriate opportunities to earn a diploma or other exiting commencement credential in accordance with Commissioner's regulations. During the student's annual review, the District will review graduation opportunities and discuss the means to achieve them. As part of this process, the District:

a) Will coordinate activities with staff to enable that students to meet credit and sequence requirements and to consider vocational opportunities as appropriate. 
b) May modify instructional techniques and materials. Any modifications will be included on a student's Individual Education Plan (IEP). 

Graduation and transition plans will take into account the various pathways available to these students. For students with IEPs, the District will plan transition services for post-secondary life in the school year in which the student turns age 15. The transition activities will be focused on improving both the student's academic and functional achievement. The plan will explore post-secondary opportunities and employment options and, if applicable, connection with adult service agencies that may provide the student with services after exiting school. 

The District may award these diplomas or credentials, or both:

a) Local diploma:  available to students with an IEP or a Section 504 accommodation plan that specifies a local diploma. Students must comply with credit requirements. The available assessments to earn a local diploma include:

  1. Low-pass safety net option:  students must achieve a score of 55 or higher on five required Regents exams. 
  2. Low-pass safety net and appeal:  available to students who score 52-54 on up to two a Regents exams, successfully appeal those scores, and meet other applicable conditions. 
  3. Regents Competency Test (RCT) safety net option:  a student who enters grade 9 before September 2011 must pass a corresponding RCT if he or she does not attain a score of 55 or higher on the Regents examination.
  4. Compensatory safety net option:  except for scores on ELA and math exams, students may use one Regents exam score of 65 or above to compensate for a Regents exam score of 45-54. Students must score at least 55 (or successfully appeal a score of 52-54) on both the ELA and a math exam. 
  5. Superintendent's determination:  students who are unable to demonstrate their proficiency on standard state assessments because of one or more disabilities may be able to graduate upon the Superintendent's review and written certification of their eligibility. The Superintendent will make a determination after receiving a written request from an eligible student's parent or guardian. (Students with a Section 504 Accommodation plan may not use this option).

 b) Career Development and Occupational Studies commencement credential (CDOS):  any student who is not assessed using the New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA) may earn the CDOS commencement credential as a supplement to a Regents or local diploma or as his or her only exiting credential if the student attended school for at least 12 years, excluding kindergarten. The student must meet criteria specified by the State Education Department (SED) confirming that he or she has attained the standards-based knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for entry-level employment. 

c) Skills and Achievement (SA) commencement credential:  students with severe disabilities who are assessed using the NYSAA may earn the SA commencement credential. They must attend school for at least 12 years, excluding kindergarten. The District must document the student's skills, strengths, and levels of independence in academic, career development, and foundation skills needed for post-secondary life. 

The District allows any student with a disability to participate in the graduation ceremony of his or her high school graduating class and all related graduation activities if the student:

a)  Met the eligibility criteria for an SA or CDOS commencement credential:
b)  Has not otherwise qualified to receive a Regents or local diploma; and
c)  Has an IEP that prescribes special education, transition planning, transition services, or related services                           beyond the student’s four academic years after entering high school. 

The Superintendent will consider any recommendation of the student’s Committee on Special Education as well as the student’s own expressed preference regarding participation; a student with a disability may decline to participate in any or all graduation-related activities.  The District will provide annual written notice of this policy to applicable students and their parents or guardians. 

Education Law §§ 3202 and 4402
8 NYCRR §§ 100.1, 100.2, 100.5, 100.6, 200.4, and 200.5

Refer also to Policy #7220 -- Graduation Options/Early Graduation/Accelerated Programs

Adoption Date:  9/10/13
Revised Policy Adoption Date: 2/11/14
Revised Policy Adoption Date: 12/13/16
Revised Policy Adoption Date: 10/17/17
Revised Policy Adoption Date: 3/13/18