In December 2017, the Board of Regents adopted new emergency regulations that expanded the “superintendent determination” option for students with disabilities seeking to earn a local diploma upon high school graduation.  This new option is available to eligible students from January 2018 and thereafter.

Generally, students must pass all of their required courses and receive a score of a 65 or higher on Regents examinations in order to earn a Regents diploma.  In recent years, graduation options have expanded for students who have individualized education programs (IEPs), and in some situations, for students with Section 504 Accommodation Plans.  For example, eligible students may earn a local diploma through various safety net options.  The “low pass safety net” option allows students with disabilities to earn a local diploma if they earn a score of 55 or higher on their required Regents examinations and pass all of their required classes. There is also a “low pass appeal” option available to students with scores of 52 to 54 on select Regents examinations.  The “compensatory safety net” option allows students to combine low Regents scores of 45 to 54 with other Regents scores of 65 or higher in order to earn a local diploma.

The “superintendent determination” option is another pathway to a local diploma available to students with IEPs.  It allows for a superintendent, upon written request from the student’s parent, to determine that a student has achieved graduation-level proficiency in a subject area in which the student did not earn the required Regents score under any other pathway.  Under this option, students are still expected to earn a minimum score of 55 on both the ELA and mathematics Regents examinations (or successfully appeal a score between 52 and 54).

The new expanded superintendent determination option allows students with IEPs to receive a local diploma if they pass their ELA and mathematics Regents-level courses, but do not earn the minimum scores on the ELA and mathematics Regents examinations.  To be eligible for a local diploma under this expanded option, the student must also complete the requirements of the New York State Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential. The superintendent must conduct a review to determine whether the student has otherwise demonstrated proficiency in ELA and/or mathematics, in addition to reviewing any other subject areas required for graduation where the student has not demonstrated proficiency of the State’s learning standards as measured by the corresponding Regents examination.

The Board of Regents noted that some students eligible to graduate in either the 2017-2018 or 2018-2019 school years may not have had an opportunity to work toward earning a CDOS Commencement Credential.  For those students, the school principal has the discretion, in consultation with relevant faculty, to award a CDOS Commencement Credential to students who have demonstrated that they possess the knowledge and skills required for the CDOS. The principal must have evidence that the student successfully completed relevant instructional and work-based learning activities that enable the student to be ready for entry-level employment.  Upon receipt of a CDOS, students with IEPs may receive a local diploma under the expanded superintendent determination option if they meet the other requirements set forth above.

Previous safety net pathways available to students with disabilities – including the low pass and compensatory options – continue to be available.

As noted, these new emergency regulations were adopted in December 2017 and are currently in effect. The Board of Regents is now soliciting public comments on these regulations in anticipation of adopting them permanently in March 2018.  We will keep clients apprised of any new developments regarding these regulations as a result of the March 2018 meeting.