Graduation and Secondary Transition

  • Students with special needs are entitled to a free and appropriate education through age 22. The state of florida offers extended transition programs for students ages 18-22. In the lower Keys, the TIES program provides support for young adults as they prepare to transition into adulthood.

    Graduation Requirements

    All students in the state of Florida work toward a standard high school diploma.

    • 24-credit option
    • 18-credit Academically Challenging Curriculum to Enhance Learning (ACCEL) option
      • 3 elective credits instead of 8
      • Physical Education is not required
      • Online course is not required
    • Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) curriculum
    • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma curriculum

    The requirements for successful completion of the 24-credit option include:

    • 4 Credits English Language Arts (ELA)
    • 4 Credits Mathematics (Algebra I and Geometry required)
    • 3 Credits Science (Biology I required)
    • 3 Credits Social Studies (World History, U.S. History, U.S. Government, Economics with Financial Literacy required)
    • 1 Credit Fine and Performing Arts, Speech and Debate, or Practical Arts
    • 1 Credit Physical Education
    • 8 Elective Credits
    • 1 Online Course Within the 24 Credits
    • Students must earn a 2.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale.
    • Students must pass the following statewide assessments:
      • Grade 10 English Language Arts or a concordant score
      • Algebra I end-of-course exam (EOC) or a concordant score

    Two options are available only to students with disabilities. Both require 24 credits, and both allow students to substitute a career and technical education (CTE) course with related content for one credit in ELA IV, mathematics, science and social studies (excluding Algebra I, Geometry, Biology I and U.S. History). 

    • Students with significant cognitive disabilities may earn credits via access courses and be assessed via an alternate assessment. 
    • Students who choose the academic and employment option must earn at least 0.5 credit via paid employment.

    Deferral of Diploma

    The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), requires that school districts provide students with disabilities who have an individual educational plan (IEP) a free appropriate public education (FAPE).  Prior to this current school year, when a student with a disability graduated from high school with a standard diploma the school district was no longer obligated to provide FAPE and all services ended.  During the 2014 legislative session, section 1003.4282, Florida Statutes, (F.S) was amended and the opportunity for certain students with disabilities to defer receipt of their standard high school diploma in order to continue to receive services was added.

    The statute allows students to defer the receipt of a standard high school diploma if

    1.  They have an IEP that prescribes special education, transition planning, transition services, or related services through age 21 and

    2.   They are enrolled in an accelerated college credit instruction, industry certification courses that lead to college credit, a collegiate high school program, courses necessary to satisfy the Scholar designation requirements, or a structured work-study, internship, or pre-apprenticeship program.

    If you believe that your child (you) may be eligible to defer the standard diploma that is anticipated for award this school year, please contact the staffing specialist at your school. The IEP team will determine eligibility for deferral. The benefits of deferring receipt of the high school diploma and the programs available to students who defer will be reviewed with eligible students and/or their parents during an IEP meeting.  This information will also be provided in writing.

    The decision to accept or defer the standard high school diploma must be made by April 30th.  The parent (or the student over 18 years of age and to whom rights have transferred), must sign a document stating whether or not they wish to defer. Please note that failure to attend the graduation ceremony does not constitute a deferral of the diploma.