Last Updated: 10 March 2023
As a student approaches the time to leave high school, it is important that preparations for adult life are well underway. For early transition planning and active participation in decision making to occur for students with disabilities, members of the planning team need to be well-informed about the student’s abilities, needs, and available services.
This section highlights important considerations and resources available to educators helping to prepare students with a disability with a meaningful postsecondary education and thriving career.
Please note, that content from this section has been adapted from the California Transition Alliance, "Transition Planning: The Basics".
To view the source document click here.
The term “transition services” means a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that:
College and Career Readiness is a growing concern nationally. The workplace is changing. Opportunities are changing as technology and artificial intelligence impact all aspects of work. Students are required to master academic skills and acquire technical skills and pursue post-secondary education and training in order to prepare for careers of the future.
The State of California has identified strategies to measure college and career readiness.
These College and Career Readiness measures are based on the number of high school graduates who are prepared for college or a career. For more information, visit www.caschooldashboard.org. It is a helpful tool for schools to monitor progress and identify students who are struggling to achieve college and career readiness.
The following measures are approved as indicating college or career readiness:
Additional Career Indicators
In addition to the indicators listed above, students with IEPs can also document career readiness through:
IDEA mandates transition starts by age 16 and earlier if appropriate. Research tells us we must start preparing for transition much earlier, at least at the Pre-School/Kindergarten level if students will have sufficient time to learn about themselves and make informed choices about their post-secondary goals.
We need to begin earlier than high school to develop academic, technical, and employability skills. When do children begin communication skills, interpersonal skills, teamwork, and problem solving? Answer: PreK-grade 3. These are the skills that are required to be employed as adults.
Inclusion in Regular Education enhances the opportunity to develop academic skills.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESEA) emphasizes equal access to education, high academic standards and accountability. It recognizes that students with disabilities are general education students first. Increasingly, students with IEPS are included in general education classes.
Inclusion in general education requires students with disabilities to have access to general education curriculum and be engaged in regular education classes with peers without disabilities. It requires adoption of differentiated instruction, universal design for learning, and effective collaboration between general education and special education services to ensure adequate support services are provided.
There is significant value to inclusive education.
For Students with Disabilities
For Students without Disabilities
Person Centered Planning
Person-centered planning is a process of discovering how an individual wants to live his life, learning his strengths and abilities, determining the supports he requires to live that life, and then creating a plan to make that life possible. The focus is on the person, not on the disability or the services available.
National Technical Assistance Center on Secondary Transition
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires each state to develop a state performance plan/annual performance report (SPP/APR) that evaluates the state’s efforts to implement the requirements andpurposes of the IDEA and describes how the state will improve its implementation.
The California State Performance Plan
IDEA requires each state to develop a performance plan and evaluate progress toward achieving the goals listed on the plan.
The State of California’s Performance Plan lists four indicators that specifically related to secondary transition:
Increase Percent of youth with IEPs graduating with a regular diploma
Decrease the drop-out rate
Achieve compliance with federal guidelines on the IEP
Improve outcomes in employment, education/training, and independent living
The California State Performance Plan Indicator 13:
Schools are required to document if the IEP meets the elements of Indicator 13. In order to be compliant the answer should be “yes” to each of the following questions. This tool ensures the IEP is written as required by federal regulations.
Remember, it is necessary to provide documentation in the student record of:
Assessments drive the IEP and document the need for services.
Reasons agencies are not invited or don’t attend with that justify the indication that it is not applicable:
Some agencies may not attend the IEP, but do provide services. These services need to be documented in the student’s record.
SPP Indicator 14
There is an increasing emphasis on “outcomes” that answer this question:
There is a mandate to conduct follow-up surveys to verify the percentage of students who are no longer in secondary education, had IEPs at the time they left, and were pursuing post-secondary education and training and/or employment goals.
Revised Definitions of post-school outcomes
Source: National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (www.transitionta.org)
How are we doing?
Research and experience tell us that students who stay in school and graduate are more likely to be able to work and continue their education. For students with IEPs, quality IEPs written to meet the mandate AND the spirit of transition have a higher likelihood of helping students prepare for their future. Finally, when well written IEPS are implemented using research-best best practices, students are even more likely to achieve positive outcomes. The CA School Dashboard provides a data to measure outcomes at the state, and local level.
Indicator 17 as defined by California Department of Education, 2016, focuses on implementation of the State Systemic Improvement Plan that has developed a new accountability system that aligns local resources with student needs to support continuous improvement.
The goal is to create a coherent educational system for All students and develop a statewide system for support.
The current State Systemic Improvement Plan focuses on improving academic achievement outcomes for students with disabilities and who are also English Learners, foster youth, and/or students who are eligible for free and reduced price meals. A priority of this work is to set the foundation for one coherent system of education in which students receive the support they need in the most inclusive environment.
What should measurable post-secondary goals look like?
Use this formula to state the goal:
|After high school I will||____________________________________||____________________________________|
Example: After high school I will enroll at Shasta College to earn an Early Childhood Education Credential.
These post-secondary goal statements are examples of behaviors that are based on IDEA guidelines. Goal statements in the IEP need to reflect the student’s personal plan.
Post-secondary education / training goals (Required) After High School, I will…
Employment Goals (Required)
Independent Living (As Needed)
When measurable post-secondary goals are the core of the IEP, the educational plan makes sense to students, parents, teachers, counselors and transition agency partners.
The IEP is based on student’s goals. It is important that students learn and apply a decision-making process.
Set the expectation that students have the right and responsibility to work if they can. Focus the IEP on the student’s plan for their future. Engage students in decision-making process beginning at the latest, in middle school.
Focus on the career/employment goal first. Utilize job information (O’NET) to validate education and training requirements and the skills needed for successful employment.
Incorporate career information into the IEP related to education requirements, and skills and abilities defined in CA Career Zone and My Next Move occupation information.
Validate goal statements annually using annual career / transition assessment data. Encourage students to present their goals through authentic assessments.
Engage students in developing their individualized learning plans, a planning tool developed by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD-youth.)
Goals change and should move from general to specific as students mature.
Goals may change as students gain experience, opportunities, training and work experience. Post-secondary goals evolve from general to specific as students grow and mature.
IDEA 2004 stipulates: "The IEP must include measurable post-secondary goals based upon age appropriate assessments related to training, education, employment, and where appropriate, independent living skills and the transition services (including the course of study) needed to help the child in reaching those goals".
Federal IDEA Guidance: Each year, the transition assessments should be revisited in a more specific manner, targeting the student’s development. For students in grades nine and ten, a career exploration measure or interest inventory is typically satisfactory. For an older student, a vocational skills assessment is more appropriate. Assessment should address all three components of transition- employment, post-secondary education and training, and independent living. Assessment information may be summarized on the Transition Page of the IEP or the section that describes present levels of academic achievement and functional performance.
Basic assessment strategies include interviews, the discovery process, interest surveys, computerized information systems, portfolios, observation and interviews. There are an array of free tools and resources available. Transition assessment includes career/vocational assessments and an evaluation of other transition issues (academic skills, readiness for transition, life skills, resources, and eligibility for support systems). Assessments should document the entire transition IEP. They should validate post-secondary goals, identify needed transition services, and most importantly, help students and their families set goals and plan their future.
And lead to gaining personal insight that leads to informed choices!
Is it easy for the student to use? Is it age/grade appropriate? Can students relate to language? Does it stereotype career choices? Is it easy to read and interpret? (Does it assess interests or reading skills)? Does it provide feedback that leads to reflection? Does it enhance insights? Does it reflect the current and emerging job market and employment skills?
The term “transition services” means a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability. IEPs are required to list transition services that will be provided to help youth achieve their transition goals.
Examples of Work Based Learning
Evidence-Based Best practices tell us:
As we review language in recent legislation that directly relates to transition (WIOA, ESSA, Higher Education Opportunity Act) and make connections to IDEA, the following themes emerge:
Training that takes place in the natural environment focused on social skills, domestic skills, accessing public transportation and on the job training.
Inclusion in General Education:
Students who participate in regular education placements, and in career technical and occupation specific classes, are more likely to be engaged in post-high school education, employment and independent living.
Industry certifications broaden opportunities for employment for students.
Career-Technical Training through career pathways that lead to high pay, high demand jobs. Participation in internships and apprenticeships. Earning Stackable Credentials enhance employment opportunities.
Early College experiences through dual enrollment enhances the transition from high school to postsecondary education and training.
Paid Employment / Work Experience:
Working provides an opportunity to apply learning and develop college and career readiness, knowledge and skills (academic skills, technical skills, higher order thinking skills and applied workplace skills) that lead to employment.
Connections: Workplace mentors, family support system, interdisciplinary and interagency.
Collaboration. Local Partnership Agreements that define roles, referral processes, service and agreements to participate as members of the IEP team greatly enhances movement from school to adult services. Source of Information: A Transition Guide, May 2017
Based on a review of legislation and California Education Code (EC) that inform the course of study for the state of California, and, with the goal of making sure we do not create liabilities for any students, the California Secondary Transition Leadership Team has recommended:
EC Section 56390 define the criteria for earning a certificate of completion as:
Current (2018) Diploma requirements are based on local education agency decisions. The State defines a mandatory course of study. Students who earn an Adult Education Diploma may meet state course requirements. The California Accountability Data system (CALPADS) stipulates two paths to a diploma:
OR The local governing board of the LEA with the active involvement of parents, administrators, teachers, and pupils, shall adopt alternative means for pupils to complete the prescribed course of study, which may include:
These student populations may qualify for state diploma requirements or alternative means.
Requirements for graduation and specified alternative modes for completing the prescribed course of study shall be made available to pupils, parents, and the public. The University of California and the California State University systems have established a uniform minimum set of courses required for admission as a freshman.
The Certificate of Completion is NOT Equivalent to the High School Diploma. It does not meet Employment qualifications if the employer requires a diploma. It does not qualify students for financial aid for continuing education, if the source of financial aid requires a diploma. There is an exception for students with significant intellectual disabilities who do not earn a diploma who are transitioning from K-12 education to colleges and universities that have programs to meet their needs.
For each area where a post-secondary measurable outcome/goal is identified, a measurable, annual IEP goal must be developed.
IDEA defines annual goals in Regulations: Part 300 / D / 300.320 / a / 2 / i A statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals designed to– (A) Meet the child’s needs that result from the child’s disability to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum; and (B) Meet each of the child’s other educational needs that result from the child’s disability;
Functional skills are defined as motor skills, social interaction and communication, personal living skills, and community living skills) and on an overall measure of independence. Source: The Academic Achievement and Functional Performance of Youth With Disabilities A Report From the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) 2006
Annual goals may be listed in the IEP in the section entitled Annual Goals and Benchmarks and referenced by number on the Transition pages of the IEP.
The Annual IEP Goal identifies what will be worked on this year to build the student’s skills in achieving the post-school outcomes.
A Transition Plan has two types of goals:
A recent supreme court ruling (Endrew F. v Douglas School District, December 2017) stipulated that to meet its substantive obligation under IDEA, a school must offer an IEP that is reasonably calculated to enable the child to make progress appropriate in light of the the child’s circumstances. The Court emphasized that every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives. The Department of Education interprets this to mean that each child must be offered an IEP designed to provide access to instructional strategies and curricula aligned to both challenging State academic standards and ambitious goals, based on the unique circumstances of the child. (Source United States Department of Education December 7, 2017 Questions and Answers on U.S. Supreme Court Case Decision Endrew F. v Douglas School District www.ed.gov)
The annual goals or instructional objectives define what the student is reasonably expected to learn this year in order to achieve the post-secondary goal.
The formula for writing annual goals is SMART (Specific Measurable Action Realistic/Relevant Time Limited
As students with IEPs are integrated into general education classes, these are commonly used terms that relate to teaching and learning. California Ed Code references these terms in the areas of assessment and teaching specific student populations, such as English Learners, as well as students with disabilities.
Resources that help teachers align transition topics to academic standards are: College and Career Readiness Standards and Research Identified Transition Skills. https://ytp.uoregon.edu/sites/ytp2.uoregon.edu/files/CCR%20Anchor%20Standards%20and%20Transition%20-%20Final%2011032016-min.pdf
Universal Access/ Design: Universal Design for Learning (UDL) means a scientifically valid framework for guiding educational practice that (A) provides flexibility in the ways information is presented, in the ways students respond or demonstrate knowledge and skills, and in the ways students are engaged; and (B) reduces barriers in instruction, provides appropriate accommodations, supports, and challenges, and maintains high achievement expectations for all students, including students with disabilities and students who are limited English proficient. Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 www.pacer.org https://lessonbuilder.cast.org/
Differentiated Instruction: A teaching / instructional strategy that is designed to meet the needs of all students by factoring students’ individual learning styles and levels of readiness first before designing a lesson plan. Research on the effectiveness of differentiation shows this method benefits a wide range of students, from those with learning disabilities to those who are considered high ability.
Multi-tiered system of support: MTSS is an integrated, comprehensive framework that focuses on CA academic standards, core instruction, differentiated learning, student-centered learning, individualized student needs, and the alignment of systems necessary for all students’ academic, behavioral, and social success. (See page 36)
Elements of Accessibility for all are integrated into testing systems (CA California Student Assessment Accessibility)
Accommodations: "Accommodation” is any variation in the assessment environment or process that does not fundamentally alter what the test measures or affect the comparability of scores. “Accommodations” may include variations in scheduling, setting, aids, equipment, and presentation format.
Modifications: A modification is any variation in the assessment environment or process that fundamentally alters what the test measures or affects the comparability of test scores.
There are lots of resources that help us define annual goals. They include:
IDEA requires that the IEP is based on the individual child’s needs, taking into account the child’s strengths, preferences and interests. Regulations: Part 300 / D / 300.320
Indicator 13 requires that the student is invited to the IEP.The public agency shall invite the child with a disability to attend his or her IEP meeting if the purpose of the meeting will be the consideration of the post-secondary goals for the child and the transition services needed to assist the child in reaching those goals. 34CFR300.37(b)(1)
If the child does not attend the IEP Team meeting the public agency must take other steps to ensure that the child’s preferences and interests are considered. 34CFR 300.321(b)(2).
Transition planning is about the student’s movement from high school to post-school life. It is based on the student’s plans for the future. Therefore the student’s input is essential. The needs and desires of the student and family are the core of the planning process.
There are five levels of participation in the IEP (Source: Transition Coalition)
Student Behaviors Associated with Post-School Employment and Education
It is important that the student develop knowledge of their disabilities and effective accommodations.
The stigma of having a disability is so strong that approximately 60% of students who had IEPs during high school indicated that they did not have a disability the year after they exited high school. (Newman, Wagner, Cameto, & Knokey, 2009).
Self -Advocacy and Self Determination are essential skills for students with disabilities. They are especially important as agencies that provide post-secondary transition support emphasize person-centered planning.
There are four ways students can be involved in the IEP process:
Self-Advocacy Understanding your strengths and needs, identifying your personal goals, knowing your legal rights and responsibilities, and communicating these to others.Characteristics of Self Determined People
Employ self-advocacy strategies to prepare students to participate actively in the IEP.
IDEA 2004 stipulates: If appropriate, a representative of a participating agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services should be invited to the IEP team meeting with the prior consent of the parent (or student who has reached the age of majority).
Documentation of the parental consent to invite the outside agency should be maintained. Documentation of the invitation to the outside agency should also be maintained.
The rational used to determine agency involvement is not applicable (NA) should be included:
The GAO Report entitled STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES Better Federal Coordination Could Lessen Challenges in the Transition from High School From the July 2012 report to the Ranking Member, Committee on Education and the Workforce, House of RepresentativesStudents with disabilities face several challenges accessing federally funded programs that can provide transition services as they leave high school for post-secondary education or the workforce. These include difficulty navigating multiple programs that are not always coordinated; possible delays in service as they wait to be served by adult programs; limited access to transition services; a lack of adequate information or awareness on the part of parents, students, and service providers of available programs that may provide transition services after high school; and a lack of preparedness for post-secondary education or employment. Prior GAO work identified many of these same challenges, which is indicative of the longstanding and persistent nature of the challenges facing students with disabilities as they transition out of high school.
The primary reasons it is difficult to manage and prepare for transition cited in the report are:
Recently enacted WIOA legislation addresses the connections between transition services and Education, Department of Rehabilitation, and American Job Centers (One Stop Centers).
A recent GAO report demonstrates the challenges students and families face as they try to navigate agencies after they leave high school. Agencies require students apply for services. They have a more narrow focus on transition than the K-12 system. They are allowed to have waiting lists. They also have different definitions of disabilities. Services can vary widely within state systems based on the community resources. Linking youth to agencies while in school make connections easier.
This chart demonstrates some of the issues.
Convene your local Community of Practice – collaborate with the agencies that provide transition services after high school.
Collaboration among agencies requires effective communication. It is important to hear all perspectives. These are some common terms that mean different things to different audiences:
Many service codes for transition services are 800 codes in SEIS/CALPADS. Students who struggle with activities daily living may need direct instruction in areas such as hygiene, cooking, budgeting, etc. In some cases “Specialized Academic Instruction (code 330)” may be the appropriate service to support a measurable postsecondary goal in independent living, even though it is not an 800 code.
800 CALPADS Codes available in SEIS are:
The term “regular high school diploma” is defined as a diploma fully aligned to grade-level standards. Students typically complete mandated academic courses and must earn a minimum grade point average to receive a standard high school diploma. California Education Code 51225.3 defines the mandated high school courses needed to earn a regular high school diploma.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation notes that the vast majority of students with disabilities should have access to the same high-quality academic coursework as all other students in the state. The IEP team determines which graduation option is most appropriate for the student, given the LEA/ district’s options as determined by the governing board. Not all LEAs/districts offer a regular high school diploma based on the state-mandated requirements; some offer diplomas based on A-G requirements that provide greater access to college and exceed the state’s minimum requirements. It should be noted that although LEAs/districts cannot deny a student a standard high school diploma based on their disability, the student does not automatically obtain one because of their disability.
Separately, some LEAs/districts have also chosen to provide a differentiated diploma option. While functionally equivalent to a standard high school diploma, a school’s governing board must also approve a differentiated diploma. This alternative could allow LEAs/districts a wider interpretation of how students demonstrate mastery towards the prescribed set of courses within the differentiated diploma option. In addition, certain student groups may be exempt from the LEA/districts’ graduation requirements. Under Assembly Bill 167/216, students identified as either foster youth or on probation, who are removed from their homes and transfer high schools after their second year, may graduate and earn a standard high school diploma by completing the minimum state graduation requirements if, at the time of transfer, they cannot reasonably complete additional local school LEA/district requirements within four years of high school. Similarly, under Assembly Bill 1806, students identified as homeless are exempt from all coursework and other requirements that are in addition to the state minimum requirements of 13 year-long academic courses needed to earn a diploma.
High School Diploma Equivalency Assessment
The California Department of Education has approved the use of three high school equivalency tests: the General Education Development Test (GED); High School Equivalency Test (HiSET); and Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) for students 18 years old, and some 17 years old, to receive a California High School Equivalency Certificate. Postsecondary institutions, such as the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems, will accept a high school equivalency test in place of a diploma. However, students must still meet specific coursework, grade point average, and ACT or SAT examination requirements.
Students at LEA/districts who are 16 years old or have been enrolled in the tenth grade for one academic year have the additional option to complete the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE). The CHSPE consists of two sections: an English-language arts section and a mathematics section. Students who pass both sections of the CHSPE are issued a Certificate of Proficiency by the California State Board of Education. The CHSPE is the legal equivalent of a high school diploma in California, and a student who receives it may leave high school early, with verified parental approval. If a student with an IEP passes a high school equivalency test, the student is still eligible to receive educational placement and services under their IEP at the LEA/district until they meet the requirements of one of the graduation options offered.
Graduation Requirements for Students Attending Nonpublic Schools
Students with disabilities attending nonpublic schools (NPS) must meet the same criteria for graduation as peers attending the placing LEA/district work with nonpublic schools to determine the graduation eligibility for students with disabilities placed at nonpublic schools. The LEA/district evaluates the student’s transcript to verify the student’s eligibility for completion of courses leading to either a high school diploma or a COC. For more specific information regarding NPS, refer to the Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) NPS/Residential Treatment Centers Guidelines located on the SELPA website at https://bit.ly/nps-rtc-handbook.
Prior Written Notice: High School Diploma
The PWN is provided to inform parents/guardians and/or adult students prior to the LEA/district a change to the educational placement or provision of a FAPE based on the criteria of students completing their requirements for a high school diploma. The PWN should be completed immediately following the exit IEP and provided to parents/ guardians and/or adult students without delay prior to ending services.
The Certificate of Completion (COC) option is available to students with IEPs who cannot complete the requirements for a regular high school diploma that the LEA/district offers. These students are eligible for educational placement and services under their IEP. Students on COC track require extensive, individualized instruction that requires modifications to the curriculum. The COC option does not equal a regular high school diploma, and the determination for a student to receive a COC is an IEP team decision. The graduation option that the IEP team chooses shall be documented clearly as part of the Transition Plan, as well as marked on the IEP’s offer of Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)/Educational Settings page.
IEP teams can waive academic courses the student attempted prior to being identified as progressing towards a COC. Conversely, while a student is progressing towards a COC, IEP teams should convene to analyze factors preventing a student from successfully completing a required academic course. The IEP team should evaluate if the IEP goals, services, and supports are reasonably calculated, and if the student will receive further educational benefit through repeating a specific course. While students may have access to the general education curriculum, most students receiving a COC participate in California’s Alternate Assessment testing system, which is documented on the IEP’s Statewide Assessment page. A student with a disability who has satisfied the following three requirements, but who has not satisfied the requirements for a diploma, may receive a COC:
A Summary of Performance, PWN, and Procedural Safeguards are required for students with an IEP that are graduating with a diploma, receiving a Certificate of Completion, or aging out.
A Summary of Performance provides the student with a summary of the student’s academic achievement and functional performance in order to assist the student in their transition following high school. The student can share the SOP with colleges, adult agencies, vocation and rehabilitation centers, and employers to help identify services and accommodations that can assist the student in the classroom, workplace, or community.
The Summary of Performance (SOP) pages are also located in SEIS (Post-Secondary Exit pages 1 & 2). The SELPA encourages LEAs to convene EXIT IEP meetings in the last 8 to 10 weeks of the senior year of high school and to complete and discuss these pages with the student and their family. You may use an IEP meeting to discuss and complete the SOP with the student but there is no requirement to hold an IEP meeting for purposes of completing the SOP. The primary service provider (case manager), the student and the parent are the only people required to review the Summary of Performance. This does not need to be a formal meeting, but documentation that the Summary has been reviewed and provided should be obtained. However if holding during an IEP, required IEP members should be present.
The SOP pages contain current academic and functional levels and high school/community contact information to assist with the transition into adulthood. In addition, the IEP can be reviewed to update any progress on goals and/or to modify the transition plan. The IEP team can also review end dates for services and update any other forms as appropriate. The student should be given a complete copy of the IEP, including the SOP pages, once the Exit IEP is completed.
Age of majority is a term used to describe the time in life after which a person is legally no longer considered a child and becomes an adult in the eyes of the law. In California, the legal age of majority is 18 years.
When a child with a disability turns 18, all rights under state and federal special education law transfer from the parent(s) to the adult student (except in the case of a child with a disability who has been determined to be incompetent under California Law). At this point the student becomes responsible for all educational, medical, financial and legal decisions on their own behalf. This transfer of rights also applies to those students incarcerated in an adult or juvenile federal, state, regional or local correctional institution.
Per IDEA, an LEA/district must inform the parent(s) and special education student before the student turns 17 that all rights will transfer to the student on his or her 18th birthday. The Transition Plan section of the IEP includes a statement that must be filled out to document the discussion with the parent and student regarding the transfer of rights upon reaching the age of majority. This conversation typically occurs during an IEP meeting prior to the student turning 17 and should be documented in the notes of the IEP meeting. Both the student and the parent must be present at the meeting for the discussion to ensure all questions are answered, and that the student and parent clearly understand what is included in the transfer of rights.
Eligibility for special education services under the IDEA generally terminates on the date the student graduates with a regular high school diploma, or when the student reaches her 22nd birthday, whichever comes first. A student’s receipt of an alternative diploma or a certificate of completion does not terminate her right to receive special education and related services under the IDEA.
Students with disabilities who have not received a regular high school diploma and are between the ages of 19 and 21 years, inclusive, must be enrolled in or eligible for a special education program prior to her 19th birthday in order to continue receiving special education services. Any student who becomes 22 years of age during the months of January to June, inclusive, while participating in a special education program may continue her participation in the program for the remainder of the current fiscal year, including any extended school year (ESY) program for students with disabilities.
Any student age 21 eligible to participate in a special education program shall not be allowed to begin a new fiscal year in a program if she becomes 22 years of age in July, August, or September of that new fiscal year. However, if a student is in a year-round school program and is completing her individualized education program in a term that extends into the new fiscal year, then the student may complete that term.
Any student who becomes 22 years of age during the months of October, November, or December while participating in a special education program shall be terminated from the program on December 31 of the current fiscal year (the fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30), unless the student would otherwise complete her individualized education program at the end of the current fiscal year. For example, if a student has a 22nd birthday in November, but is on track to receive a high school diploma in June of the same fiscal year, he or she would not continue to receive services past June, which is the end of that fiscal year.
If a parent changes his/her mind and later requests that the child be re-enrolled in special education, the LEA/district must treat this request as an initial evaluation. The LEA/district will need to do an initial evaluation for the student and determine eligibility before developing a new IEP. A student who reaches the age of majority and retains their educational rights may revoke consent of his/her special education and related services; the district must provide prior written notice to the adult student as noted above.
When Parents Do Not Agree
In the case of two parents in conflict, the written consent of only one parent with educational decision- making authority is necessary to revoke consent for a child’s receipt of special education and related services. A Prior Written Notice should be sent to both parents.
As long as the parent has the legal authority to make educational decisions for the child, the school district must accept the parent’s written revocation of consent. A subsequent disagreement by the other parent does not overturn the revocation. Further, a subsequent request for special education services does not overturn the revocation (unless the revocation is made by the parent who initiated the original revocation) and would initiate the initial assessment process.
Note: Neither the school district nor the objecting parent can use IDEA due process procedures to overcome a parent’s written revocation of consent. The IDEA provides that a parent may file a due process complaint over actions by a public agency and not actions by another parent.
Transition: The IEP
This is one example of an IEP:
Remember, it is necessary to provide documentation in the student record of:
Assessments drive the IEP and document the need for services.
Reasons agencies are not invited or don’t attend with that justify the indication that it is not applicable:
-Agencies that will pay for or provide services listed in the IEP are not available.
-Parent or student at age of majority refuses to consent.
-It is too early to determine the student will need agency involvement.
Some agencies may not attend the IEP, but do provide services. These services need to be documented in the student’s record.