Certificate Instead of a HS Diploma? No Way!

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My son is in his senior year and has ADHD. He has an IEP. If he can’t  pass the competency test, the school will give him a certificate, not a diploma. He will continue to take the tests, but time is running out.  Is there anything I can do to help him?

If your son has an IEP, he is eligible for special education until he graduates from high school with a *regular high school diploma* or ages out at age 22.

Do not accept a certificate. The certificate is meaningless and will not help him get a job, get further education or be self sufficient and independent.

You need to write a letter to the school to request an IEP meeting.  In your letter, describe the problem as you did to me.  Ask the school to provide more intensive services so he has the knowledge and skills needed to pass the competency tests.

Be polite but firm.

The emphasis on effective transition was new in IDEA 2004. Congress made significant changes in the legal definition of “transition services”. Section 1400(c)(14) describes the need to provide “effective transition services to promote successful post-school employment and/or education.”

Has the school provided a good transition plan? What are the goals? What services and supports is the school providing to ensure that your child attains these goals?

I suggest that you request that the team include test preparation for the competency test in his IEP.  This is an important time for your son. The school is required to help him make a successful transition from high school to life after school.

You’ll find more transition information, articles, and resources here: Transition, Transition Services, and Transition Planning at https://www.wrightslaw.com/info/trans.index.htm

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02/18/2021 12:51 am

My 15 year old son (Autism Spectrum) goes to a non-public school in Northern CA. In our situation, we would prefer a certificate, because then the school district will cover his post-High School program. They are insisting he is diploma track without regard to his academic abilities. It’s my understanding this is a cost-saving measure to end services at age 18 instead of 22.

02/06/2021 6:26 pm

Hi my name is Liz and I live in Florida. My daughter has Down’s syndrome. I have no idea what to do I do not know where I can find the information to know what I can ask for at an IEP meeting. Any help?

02/08/2021 1:15 pm
Reply to  Liz

Liz, every state has a federally funded parent training, & information project to do just what you are wanting. See http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center   It is great that you are seeking information to help you in working with the school.

02/02/2021 7:11 am

The certificate is indeed meaningless you are better off with real life experience, if you are interested in getting a fake diploma as a gag gift or joke novelty item, get more details from our website

01/08/2021 2:26 pm

We are in WA state and I’m being told that my son with special needs will get a diploma in high school but the wording on the diploma will vary based on which assessment they take. A student in self-contained or any special education program can get a diploma just like all other students. Their transcript will denote they meet standard for graduation through a CIA (Certificate of Individual Achievement) if they participate in the Wa-Aim assessment. If they take the Smarter Balanced assessment their transcript will state that they met their standards through a CAA (Certificate of Academic Achievement). Does anyone know if one diploma/certificate is better than the other?

01/11/2021 2:49 pm
Reply to  Renee

I would suggest contacting your state parent training, & information center. This seems like something that they should know. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center  

12/30/2020 9:00 am

Is an IEP high school diploma that says “course of study” versus a high school diploma that says graduated with “four year course” real or just a certificate?

(How do you tell the difference between the IEP and regular?)
Also, how do you receive a high school diploma after receiving it. if any

I was unaware of the difference.

Last edited 3 months ago by Joe
12/30/2020 2:05 pm
Reply to  Joe

To find out how your state handles graduation requirements & diplomas, I suggest contacting your state parent training and information center. They can also explain the implications of each of the items you mention. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/