High School Graduation for Students with Disabilities: Planning, Options and Requirements

  • The Rochester City School District (RCSD) is committed to preparing all students to succeed in post-secondary college and career readiness. 

Planning for Post-secondary College and Career Readiness

  • Transition is the process students and their families use to think about life after high school, to identify their desired outcomes, and to plan their community and school experiences to assure that the students acquire the knowledge and skills to achieve their goals. The transition planning process should enable the student to move successfully from school to post-secondary education and training, employment, independent living, and community participation based on the student's preferences, interests, and abilities.

    Planning for life after school is a requirement for students with disabilities, and must be documented on a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) beginning in the year in which the student will turn 15 years old and is updated annually at the student’s school-based Committee on Special Education (CSE) meeting. Transition services focus on:

    • Instruction to help the student achieve his or her individual goals;
    • Building employment skills and other tools for adult life;
    • Community integration;
    • Developing daily living skills.

    It is important for students, family members, schools, and community service agencies to work together on transition planning.

New York State High School Graduation Options

  • All students, including students with disabilities, are encouraged to work toward the highest diploma option available. Students with disabilities should have access to academic experience and coursework to earn the required credits needed to meet the requirements for a high school diploma. The following diplomas are available to students with disabilities upon graduating from high school:

    • Regents Diploma
    • Local diploma
    • Regents with Advanced Designation

    For more information, see graduation requirements below.

Non-Diploma Options

  • The Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential is a certificate that indicates that the student has the knowledge and skills necessary for entry-level employment. The CDOS Commencement Credential may be a supplement to a regular diploma, or, may be given to a student who is unable to meet diploma standards. It is available to all students, including those with IEPs, who are working towards a high school diploma as a pathway, endorsement or standalone exiting certificate. However, it is not available to students who are alternately assessed using the New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA). For further information on the NYSAA, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions associated with Alternate Assessment on our Accommodations & Modifications page.

    The Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential (SACC) is a certificate available only to students with severe cognitive disabilities who are eligible to take the NYSAA and have attended school for not less than 12 years, excluding Kindergarten. This credential must be accompanied by a summary of the student’s levels of achievement in academic and career development and occupational studies. 

    The CDOS and the SACC Credentials are not equivalent to a high school diploma. They provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their achievement of the Career Development and Occupational Studies Learning Standards.

Graduation Requirements