Graduation Options for Students with Disabilities
The goal of Florida's public school system is to graduate all students ready for college and career. Students are college and career ready when they are prepared to succeed in postsecondary education, career training and/or employment. A successful transition to adult life requires careful planning and a partnership between students, families, schools, school districts and community agencies. Life after high school or post-school life includes many options and the best foundation for all of those options is a high school diploma. There are five basic graduation options that are available to all students and two options that are available to students with disabilities only. Below you will find a brief summary of these five options. In the file box on the right side of this page there is a detailed description of all the credit requirements for each of the graduation options, entitled Graduation Pathways Chart.
- 24-Credit Standard Diploma Pathway - Available to all students
- 24-Credit Standard Diploma Pathway with Academic and Employment Requirements - Available only to students with disabilities
- 24-Credit Standard Diploma Pathway (Access Courses) - Available only to students with significant cognitive disabilities, who take access courses and the alternate assessment
- 18-Credit Academically Challenging Curriculum to Enhance Learning (ACCEL) Pathway - Available to all students
- 18-Credit Career and Technical Education (CTE) Graduation Pathway - Available to all students
The Secondary Transition Roadmap for Families is another helpful resource that guides families through graduation options, deferral of the high school diploma, Florida 18-22 programs, post-school options and agency connections.
Strategies for Improving Graduation Outcomes
We systematically work together to improve graduation outcomes for our students with disabilities and all students. As a system, we need to ensure that we are using data well and developing policies, procedures and practices that support students to become high school graduates. Review the "Secondary Transition Roadmap for Families" to read about the responsibilities of students, families, schools, school districts, and agencies (p. 2-3).
Use Data Well to Support Students
- Review data collection and input procedures related to graduation rate.
- Review and analyze trend and disaggregated data, including district, district region/feeder pattern, school, race, disability, to identify problem areas in the graduation rate.
- Review Compliance Self-Assessment Data related to graduation rates.
Review and Develop Policies, Procedures and Practices to Support Students
Review district and school policies and procedures (e.g., student progression plan, matriculation to postsecondary settings, articulation between school levels – elementary to middle to high, class/academic program access and enrollment, remediation structures, exceptional student education policy, discipline, attendance) to determine if existing policies or procedures may be impacting graduation rate.
- Identify and implement evidence-based practices that are known to impact graduation rate.
- Training, Professional Development, and Technical Assistance
- Identify or develop resources for providing professional development on improving the graduation rate.
- Solicit training and/or technical assistance from Project 10: Transition Education Network, other Bureau discretionary projects, and/or the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services to improve outcomes.
Resources for Improving Graduation Outcomes
Project 10 - Graduation Requirements Online Course
Describes the various high school completion options available to public school students in Florida. Specific emphasis is placed on options for students with disabilities.
Secondary Transition Roadmap for Families
Project 10 has just released a fresh, new resource that will assist families to become familiar with graduation and post-school options available to students with disabilities. This eight-page booklet, Secondary Transition Roadmap for Families, shares easy-to-follow directions that guide families and students toward transition destinations- to graduation and beyond. This resource can be downloaded from the Documents & Files box on the right side of this page.
Project 10 - Using School-level Data to Increase Graduation Success of Students with Disabilities: An Early Warning System (EWS)
Details how schools and districts can use early warning system (EWS) data to promote timely graduation and post-school success. This training will include information on how to access and utilize data to impact graduation rates at the school level and interventions to help students graduate. In addition, effective practices implemented in other districts across the state will be shared. (2-3 hours)
Project 10 - Using Data to Increase Graduation Success: An Early Warning System (EWS) - Online Course
This no-cost, self-paced course provides instruction for district and school staff on the Early Warning System (EWS) developed by Project 10: Transition Education Network that uses data to increase the likelihood of the on-time graduation of high school students. Information on how to access and utilize data to determine which students require interventions to stay on track is included. Effective practices implemented in Florida districts are also shared. To participate in the course, go to http://pdportal.florida-ese.org.
Early Warning Systems in Education
American Institutes for Research (AIR) offers a complete set of services including the design and implementation of early warning systems to help states, districts and schools identify students who are at-risk of missing key educational milestones and create the conditions for students to succeed.
Early Warning Systems: Designing Effective Interventions to Improve College and Career Readiness (pdf)
This brochure highlights American Institutes for Research (AIR) efforts of using EWS data as actionable steps in three stages: research, design and implementation and ongoing support.
Early Warning System Middle Grades Tool
Moving Your Numbers - Key Practices
Moving Your Numbers provides examples of real districts that are positively affecting the performance of all children, including students with disabilities, through the collective and focused commitment to improving teaching and learning for every student through effective data use and changing the ways in which adults across the system work and learn together. The Key Practices section of this website features subpages on each of the six key practices such as using data well, focusing on goals, selection and implementation of instructional practices and monitoring and provision of feedback and support, among others and including a Key Practices Guide.
National Center on Educational Outcomes - Graduation Requirements for Students with Disabilities - Publications and Other Graduation Requirements Resources
National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities - Tools and Resources for Part B Indicator 1 (Graduation) (pdf)
National High School Center, Early Warning Systems
This website provides information on the implementation of EWS including downloadable tools specific to middle and high schools. Using readily available student data, this Microsoft Excel-based program identifies early warning signs of students who may be at risk of dropping out of high school. In addition to the tool, implementation and technical manuals, as well as other resources, are provided.
National Technical Assistance Center on Transition - Graduation and Re-engagement
On Track for Success: The Use of Early Warning Indicator and Intervention Systems to Build a Grad Nation (pdf)
This three-part manual details the purpose, design, and potential of EWS as well as lessons from the field and next steps.
A Planned Approach to Increase Graduation Rates: The Integration of a Dropout Early Warning System Into a Program Planning Process (2009) (pdf)
This two-page report from the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network breaks the EWS into a multi-phased systemic approach, with tasks broken into four phases of implementation.
Promising Practices Network - High School Graduation Resources and Tools
Florida Department of Education’s Exceptional Student Education Compliance Manual
See Self-Assessment Protocols for Indicator 1
Florida Department of Education - Education Information and Accountability Services (EIAS) Publications and Reports
Florida Department of Education - Graduation Requirements
This website provides an array of academic advising, career readiness and online learning resources for students and parents. These state-funded academic advising services make it easy for high school students to prepare for college or a career after graduation by enabling them to evaluate their progress toward high school graduation, college and career readiness and Bright Futures scholarship eligibility. In addition, they can explore Florida's college and university offerings (both traditional and online programs), learn about financial aid and apply for admission. Dual enrolled high school students and those in accelerated education programs can even access online library resources used within Florida's colleges and universities.
This web tool that serves as a one-stop resource for students to explore majors at a Florida College of interest obtain information about related occupations, and explore career opportunities. It allows students to search by zip code for programs offered in the local area, along with information about workforce outcomes for the selected program including average wages of program graduates, tuition costs, and average time to program completion.
Florida Counseling for Future Education Handbook
This handbook is annually updated to provide school counselors and advisors with a comprehensive academic advising resource to guide students with planning for postsecondary education in Florida.