Your child is eligible for special education services until the academic year in which she reaches the age of 22, unless she meets graduation requirements before that time. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.102(a)(3)(ii); Cal. Ed. Code Secs. 56026(c)(4) & 56026.1(b)&(c).] If your child does not graduate, she may receive a “certificate of achievement” (also called a “certificate of completion”) at the end of the typical senior year or at any time before she exits the school district at age 22. The certificate provides a recognition of accomplishment to students who meet their IEP goals or complete a prescribed alternative course of study, but who will not receive a regular diploma. The certificate was also created to overcome objections by district officials who believe special education students should not participate in graduation ceremonies with their same-age peers when they are not being awarded a regular diploma. Because a certificate does not end eligibility, a student who receives a certificate could continue working toward a regular diploma. [Cal. Ed. Code Secs. 56390 & 56392.]
In addition, the district must continue to provide your child needed transition services. [Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56345(a)(8).] Your child’s IEP team should discuss how your child’s transition goals will be addressed before all services from the district have ended. Transition outcomes/goals and services should be included in your child’s IEP.