Practice 4: Completing High School

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Graphic with two students in the front wearing graduation caps and gown. There are other students with cap and gowns in the background but they are greyed out.

Completing high school with a regular diploma increases the likelihood of securing competitive employment (Papay & Bandura, 2011; Shandra & Hogan, 2008).

This finding is also true for former students with IEPs in KY (LoBianco & Kleinert, 2013).

To the extent that we can, we need to facilitate students with intellectual and developmental disabilities earning a regular high school diploma:

  • Federal law (Every Student Succeeds Act) now requires that all students, including students participating in the state alternate assessment, who wish to obtain a regular diploma have the opportunity to attempt to do so; and
  • For students who are on the Alternative Diploma track, we have a commensurate obligation to ensure that their program includes both standards-based learning related to the general curriculum, and substantial, carefully planned job exploration, job training, and paid employment opportunities.

Kentucky’s Alternative Diploma:  Important Information from the Kentucky Department of Education

Graphic of a male student wearing earbuds.

A series of new courses have been developed to accommodate students pursuing an Alternate High School Diploma.

  • “The courses of study will assist Admissions and Release Committees in developing individual student alternative multi-year courses of study.
  • Another purpose of the course of study is to document the student completion of the Career Work Experience Certification process. (italics added)
  • The course of study aligns to the Minimum High School Graduation Requirements for a regular high school diploma and fulfills the new requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act, which requires an alternate diploma to be standards-based and aligned with the state requirements for a regular diploma” (Kentucky Department of Education memo to school districts, January 5, 2017).