sed seal                                                                         

THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234

TO:

EMSC/VESID Committee

FROM:

John King

Rebecca H. Cort 

SUBJECT:

Proposed Framework for New York State High School Exiting Credential

DATE:

December 23, 2009

STRATEGIC GOAL:

Goals 1 & 2

AUTHORIZATION(S):

 

 

Summary

 

Issue for Discussion

 

              Do the Regents support development of a high school exiting credential that documents a student’s level of achievement in academic and career skills? 

Reasons for Consideration

In June 2009, the VESID Committee supported the Department’s recommendation to pursue the development of an exiting credential that specifically documents a student’s academic and career skills.  Based on public comment, it was strongly recommended that this credential not only replace the individualized education program (IEP) diploma for students with disabilities but also be considered as an option for all students. 

Background Information

              In July 2008, the VESID Committee of the Board of Regents discussed concerns raised by parents, student advocacy organizations, and members of the Commissioner’s Advisory Panel (CAP) for Special Education Services and others relating to the IEP diploma.  In response to these issues, the Committee directed VESID to seek public comment on policy considerations regarding the IEP diploma. Extensive public comment was obtained. In addition to obtaining written comment, VESID staff conducted several public discussions, facilitated conversations with specific constituency groups and arranged for a regional meeting of the VESID Committee of the Board of Regents on this topic. There was broad support for the Department to develop an exiting credential that specifically documents a student’s academic and career skills.  It was strongly recommended that this credential not only replace the IEP diploma for students with disabilities but also be considered as an option for all students.

         

In June 2009, the VESID Committee supported the Department’s recommendation to pursue the development of such a credential. Following the Regents meeting, a workgroup was established, which included staff from VESID’s Office of Special Education and EMSC’s Office of Curriculum and Instructional Support/Career and Technical Education.  This workgroup developed the proposed policy framework in review of public comment detailing suggested components of such a credential, other state and national exiting credentials, and existing New York State (NYS) requirements.

 

PROPOSED POLICY FRAMEWORK FOR THE NEW CERTIFICATE

              It is proposed that the Board of Regents establish a new Certificate that would document a student’s level of achievement towards the State learning standards, with specific information in the areas of career development, integrated learning and universal foundation skills.  The proposed Certificate would not be considered a high school diploma in accordance with State standards or for the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) or Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) accountability purposes, but would provide a Certificate denoting a student's attained skills as measured in relation to the NYS Learning Standards, including the State's Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Learning Standards.  The proposed framework would be designed to incorporate, and not duplicate, existing requirements relating to Career Plans, Transition Planning and Services and Student Exit Summaries.

Purpose:

              The purpose of the proposed policy is to provide an exiting credential that documents the student’s level of achievement in skill and knowledge areas that are essential to success in post-school living, learning and working.  The proposed Certificate would be aligned with the Secretaries’ Commission on Achieving the Necessary Skills (SCANS) and with the Department’s Learning Standards, including the CDOS Learning Standards, and the State's policy on Career Plans and transition planning for students with disabilities.  This policy aligns and supports Student Priority Three of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Discussion Framework in regards to providing all students with the opportunity to secure an additional credential that will document their achievements and attained goals for the purposes of attaining employment or pursuing higher education.

              With this proposed Certificate, each student who meets the Certificate eligibility criteria would exit school with a Certificate that denotes the student’s successful achievement towards the learning standards in the areas of career development, integrated learning and universal foundation skills and include documentation of the level of each student’s achievement, in accordance with criteria established by the Commissioner for such determinations. 

In December 2009, individuals representing a variety of constituencies were invited to participate in small group discussions in which they provided preliminary reaction to the proposed credential. These individuals included parents, school administrators, general and special education teachers, and individuals with expertise in transition planning and services for students with disabilities and work based learning as well as representatives from the NYS Department of Labor, NYS Rehabilitation Association, student advocacy groups and teachers unions. The discussions were rich and informative. While there was strong support for the proposed credential, several changes have already been made to the proposed credential based on their preliminary reactions. A number of other suggestions and considerations emerging from these discussions will be revisited as this policy evolves.

Goals:

The proposed policy is designed to:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the support of the Board of Regents, we propose to develop a policy framework to address the following questions. 

 

 

For discussion purposes, following are preliminary recommendations to address the above questions.

 

 

One recommendation is that the credential be called a Certificate of Attained Skills and Experiences (CASE).  Every student would be able to develop his own CASE depending on his/her individual career plan and profile to reflect his or her interests, goals, and motivations that will generate increased relevancy, rigor, and relationships to every student's secondary education.  The Certificate would be awarded using a template developed by the Commissioner that includes a clear annotation on the front of the Certificate to indicate:

 

 

 

 

For each student to be awarded the Certificate, the district would be required to maintain the following:

 

 

 

3.      Which students would be awarded the Certificate?

 

Under the proposed framework, a student would be awarded the Certificate which documents his/her individual level of achievement as noted above provided that there is a written record of the student’s Career Plan and/or, for each student with a disability documentation of the provision of a coordinated set of transition activities pursuant to the student’s IEP; and documentation of the student’s attained skills (PAS); and the student meets one of the following eligibility criteria:

 

 

 

 

Each student's level of achievement toward this Certificate would be based, in part, on his or her participation in one or more of the following, as reflected in the student’s Career Plan and/or transition plan:

 

 

Each BOE would be required to have written policies and procedures ensuring that:

 

 

Recognizing that the proposed policy requires substantial detail and a period of time for school districts to adjust its instructional programs, it is proposed that a period of approximately five years be established to phase out the IEP diploma and phase in the Certificate.  If a five year phase-in period were established, the Certificate would first be available on a mandatory basis to eligible students who exit school on or after June 2015 but could be available earlier for those districts which are able to meet all the requirements for issuing the Certificate.  The IEP diploma would no longer be available for students entering grade 9 on or after September 2011.

 

Recommendations and Next Steps:

With support of the Committee, we recommend the following activities as we move forward with this proposed alternative credential.

 

 

 

 

Timetable for Implementation

              Based upon the Committee’s recommendations, the Department will proceed with the development of the credential and return to the Committee in May 2010 for further discussion.