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(11.14) If my child is not receiving a regular diploma, but will receive a certificate of achievement or completion, is she still eligible for special education?

(11.14) If my child is not receiving a regular diploma, but will receive a certificate of achievement or completion, is she still eligible for special education?

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.