5F - Graduation Planning - April 2011 Revision

Note: This procedural directive was reviewed and revised in October 2012. We provide this revision for historic purposes only. Please refer to the current procedural Directive.

The Transition Services section of the IEP includes the student’s planned program of study for graduation.

Graduation plans shall be a part of all IEPs as follows:

  • By the end of eighth grade, or by the time the student turns fourteen (14) years of age, and concurrent with the development of the student's transition plan in accordance with federal regulations;
  • When a student returns to a school after an extended absence, and if an IEP program of study may have been developed but needs to be reviewed; or
  • When evaluations warrant the need for a modified program of study at any time after development of an initial graduation plan.

(6.29.1.9(J) (13) (l) NMAC)

Graduation plans shall be a part of all IEPs and annual reviews, and shall follow the student in all educational settings.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (m) NMAC)

The graduation plan shall be integrated into the transition planning and services.  Graduation plans shall include:

  • The course of study; and
  • Projected date of graduation.

(6.31.2.11(G) (1) (a) NMAC)

If the child is not on target for the graduation plan, the strategies and responsibilities of Albuquerque Public Schools, the child and family shall be identified in the IEP.  (6.31.2.11(G) (1) (a) NMAC)

Graduation options for children with disabilities shall align with state standards and benchmarks when appropriate.  (6.31.2.11(G) (1) (b) NMAC and 6.29.1.9(J) (13) NMAC)

All IEP Team discussion points and decisions identified related to graduation, including the identification of the student's program of study and any student or parent proposals accepted or rejected by the IEP Team (if the student has not reached the age of majority), shall be documented on the student's IEP and in the Prior Written Notice of proposed action.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (b) NMAC)

Planned Program of Study Leading to a Diploma

A student may be awarded a diploma using any of the following programs of study:

  • A standard program of study;
  • A career readiness alternative program of study; or
  • An ability program of study for students who have significant cognitive disabilities or severe mental health issues.

(§22-13-1.1 NMSA 1978)

Under the standard program of study, the student shall:

  • Complete the school’s number of credits, including all state requirements; and
  • Pass the state exit examination, with or without accommodations.

Under the career readiness program of study the student shall:

  • Earn the school’s number of credits through standard or alternate courses;
  • Take and pass or achieve a proficiency level determined by the IEP Team on the state graduation exam;
  • Earn at least four (4) credits of vocational or work-related classes (based on student interest); and
  • Achieve competency in areas of the employability and career development standards as determined by the IEP Team.

Under the ability program of study, the student shall:

  • Earn the same number of credits or be provided equivalent educational opportunities;
  • Achieve a level of competency pre-determined by the IEP Team on the current graduation examination or the state-approved alternate assessment; and
  • Meet all other graduation requirements established by the IEP Team.

(6.29.1.9(j) (13) (b) NMAC)

When an alternative program of study is developed, a principal, or his/her designee who has knowledge about the student shall be a member of the IEP Team.  (6.29.1.9(J)(13)(h)(i) NMAC)

By the end of the eighth grade, each student's IEP shall contain a proposed individual program of study for grades nine (9) through twelve (12).  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (d) NMAC)

Departures from the standard program of study for students receiving special education services and supports shall be considered by the IEP Team in the above order of the options.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (h) (I) NMAC)

Any modified program of study may depart from a standard program of study only so far as is necessary to meet an individual student's educational needs as determined by the IEP Team.  (6.29.1.9(J)(13)(h)(i) NMAC)

The individual program of study shall identify by name all course options the student may take and must align with the student's long-range measurable post-secondary goals and transition services to facilitate a smooth transition to high school and beyond.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (d) NMAC)

The program of study shall be reviewed by the IEP Team on an annual basis and adjusted to address the student's strengths, interests, preferences, and areas of identified educational and functional needs.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (d) NMAC)

The IEP Team shall document on the IEP the student's progress toward earning required graduation credits and passing the current graduation examination.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (d) NMAC)

Graduation Examination

Students graduating on the standard program of study shall meet the state’s minimum requirements on all sections of the graduation examination.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (f) NMAC)

For a student on the standard program of study, the IEP Team shall document a plan of action on the IEP and the Prior Written Notice to be carried out by both the student and Albuquerque Public Schools, to ensure that the student will pass all sections of the graduation examination and therefore meet minimum state requirements.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (f) NMAC)

For a student on the career readiness alternative program of study, the IEP Team shall pre-determine the level of competency the student must achieve on the current state graduation examination(s) for graduation.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (b) (ii) NMAC)

For a student on the ability program of study, the IEP Team shall pre-determine the level of competency the student must achieve on the current graduation examination or the state-approved alternate assessment.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (b) (iii) NMAC)

For students on the career readiness alternative program of study or the ability program of study to establish a level of proficiency on the current graduation examination or the state-approved alternate assessment, the IEP Team shall:

  • Review the student's performance on the first attempt, and establish a targeted proficiency on all sections that are below the state's minimum requirement;
  • For those students who meet participation criteria for the New Mexico alternate assessment, set targeted levels of proficiency based upon previous performance on the test;
  • If the student has previously been administered the New Mexico alternate assessment and has achieved an advanced level of overall performance, arrange for the student to participate in the general graduation examination, and identify appropriate accommodations that the student may require; and
  • Document the targeted levels of proficiency on the IEP and the Prior Written Notice, outlining the plan of action to be taken by both the student and Albuquerque Public Schools to ensure that the student will meet the targeted levels of proficiency.

(6.29.1.9(J) (13) (b) (g) NMAC)

Albuquerque Public Schools may submit a written request for a waiver to the Secretary of Education in cases where a student has medical or mental health issues that may result in regression or that negatively influence the student's ability to achieve targeted levels of proficiency.  The written request shall be signed by the superintendent and must include documentation of the medical or mental health issues.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (b) (g) NMAC)

Career Readiness Alternative Program of Study

The IEP Team shall determine the benchmarks and performance standards the student must reach for courses (standard or alternative) that address the employability and career development standards.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (b) (ii) NMAC)

The IEP Team shall determine the benchmarks and performance standards that the student must achieve to demonstrate competency in all areas of the employability and career development standards.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (b) (ii) NMAC)

Ability Program of Study

The IEP Team shall develop IEP goals and functional curriculum course work that are based on the New Mexico standards with benchmarks and performance standards, and employability and career development standards with benchmarks and performance standards.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (b) (iii) NMAC)

The IEP Team shall provide the supports necessary to enable the student to earn the minimum number of credits or be provided equivalent educational opportunities required by Albuquerque Public Schools, through course work individualized to meet the unique needs of the student.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (b) (iii) NMAC)

Changes in Programs of Study

Restrictions on changes to the student’s program of study include:

  • The IEP Team shall not change the program of study from the standard program of study to the career readiness program of study after the twentieth (20th) school day of the final year of high school; and
  • The IEP Team shall not change the program of study from the career readiness program of study to the ability program of study after the twentieth (20th) school day of the final year of high school.

(6.29.1.9(J) (13) (h) (iii) NMAC)

When making changes from the standard program of study, the IEP Team shall:

  • Identify the reasons for changing the student's program of study;
  • Provide parents with clear concise explanations of the career readiness or ability programs of study;
  • Notify the parents and student of the potential consequences that may limit the student's post-secondary options; and
  • Make required changes to the IEP and course of study, to ensure that the student meets the requirements of that program of study.

(6.29.1.9(J) (13) (h) (ii) NMAC)

Albuquerque Public Schools shall document changes from the standard program of study on the Prior Written Notice.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (h) (ii) NMAC)

IEP Teams may change a student's program of study from the ability program of study to the career readiness program of study, or from the career readiness program of study to the standard program of study, at any time if:

  • The student meets the graduation requirements of that program of study; and
  • The change is made and documented appropriately in a revised IEP and Prior Written Notice by a properly constituted IEP Team in a properly convened meeting.

(6.29.1.9(J) (13) (h) (iii) NMAC)

Determining Completion of a Planned Program of Study

The IEP Team shall determine whether the student has completed a planned program of study based on the student's strengths, interests, preferences, identified educational and functional needs, and long-term educational or occupational goals, making the student eligible to receive either a diploma or a conditional certificate of transition.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (a) NMAC)

A student shall be awarded a diploma upon completion of a planned program of study.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (a) NMAC)

At the exit IEP Team meeting, the IEP Team shall:

  • Review the student's transition plan;
  • Confirm and document that all state and district requirements for graduation under the final IEP have been satisfied;
  • Have a principal, or his/her designee, who has knowledge about the student be a member of this IEP Team;
  • Have the principal, or his/her designee, who is a member of the IEP Team sign specifically to verify and accept completed graduation plans, goals and objectives; and
  • Ensure that the student has current and relevant evaluations, reports or other documentation necessary to support a smooth and effective transition to post-secondary services, including arranging for any necessary information to be provided at no cost to the student or parents.

(6.29.1.9(J) (13) (n) NMAC)

When a student is going to graduate with a high school diploma or reaches the maximum age for special education services, the student shall be presented with a Summary of Performance.

Each high school shall submit a list of students who will receive a diploma through a career readiness or ability program of study to the Albuquerque Public Schools superintendent, using the students' identification numbers.  This list shall be totaled and submitted to the Albuquerque Public Schools’ Board of Education.  This information shall be treated as confidential in accordance with the FERPA.  (NMAC 6.29.1.9(J) (13) (n))

The receipt of a diploma terminates the service eligibility of students with special education needs.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (p) NMAC)

All diplomas awarded by Albuquerque Public Schools or one of its locally-authorized charter schools shall be identical in appearance, content and effect, except that symbols or notations may be added to students' diplomas to reflect official school honors or awards earned by students.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (q) NMAC)

Conditional Certificate of Transition

A conditional certificate of transition shall permit the student to participate in graduation activities.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (a) NMAC)

If a student receives a conditional certificate of transition, the student shall then return to the program specified in the IEP to complete the student's secondary program and meet the requirements for a diploma.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (a) NMAC)

A student who receives special education services may be granted a conditional certificate of transition in the form of a continuing or transition IEP if the following criteria have been met:

  • The IEP Team provides sufficient documentation and justification that the issuance of a conditional certificate of transition for an individual student is warranted;
  • The principal, or his/her designee, who has knowledge about the student is a member of this IEP Team;
  • The principal, or his/her designee, who is a member of the IEP Team signs specifically to verify and accept plans for a conditional certificate of transition with a continuing or transition IEP pursuant to the requirements for a conditional certificate; and
  • Prior to the student's projected graduation date, the IEP Team provides a Prior Written Notice stating that the student will receive a conditional certificate of transition.

(6.29.1.9(J)(13)(I)(i)-(ii) NMAC and 6.29.1.9(J)(13)(n) NMAC)

Prior to receiving a conditional certificate of transition:

  • The student must have a continuing or transition IEP; and
  • The student's continuing or transition IEP must outline measures, resources, and specific responsibilities for both the student and Albuquerque Public Schools to ensure that the student receives a diploma.

(6.29.1.9(J) (13) (I) (v)-(VI) NMAC)

When a student receives a conditional certificate of transition, Albuquerque Public Schools shall ensure (and does ensure) the following:

  • That a conditional certificate of transition is not a program of study and does not end the student's right to a FAPE;
  • That a conditional certificate of transition entitles the student who has attended four years or more of high school to participate in graduation activities; and
  • A student who receives a conditional certificate will continue to receive special education supports and services needed to obtain the high school diploma.

(6.29.1.9(J) (13) (I) (iii)-(IV) NMAC)

A student who does not return to complete the program of study as outlined in the continuing or transition IEP shall be considered a dropout.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (j) NMAC)

A student who receives a conditional certificate of transition is eligible to continue receiving special education services until receipt of a diploma or until the end of the academic year in which the student becomes twenty-two (22) years of age.  (6.29.1.9(J) (13) (j) NMAC)

Administrative Position: Chief Academic Officer

Department Director: Executive Director of Special Education

References

Legal Cross Ref.:

For more information about the legal references below, refer to the following site:
  • §22-13-1.1 NMSA 1978
  • 6.29.1.9 NMAC
  • 6.31.2.11 NMAC

Board Policy Cross Ref.:

Procedural Directive Cross Ref.:

Required Forms:

Supplemental Form:

NSBA/NEPN Classification: IHBA

Introduced: April 1, 2011
Reviewed: April 12, 2011
Adopted: April 22, 2011

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