Schools concerned about IEP graduates


F or some students, the traditional educational route does not work, so school staff create an individualized education program or IEP for them.  However, the state has not been recognizing these individuals as high-school graduates.

“They meet state exit criteria, but the state says they don’t count,” said Andrew Cook, the middle and high school principal at Hartford. New York calculates graduation percentage by combining those with a Regents’ diploma, which is the highest level, and the local diploma, which is lower. The IEP is the lowest of the three, and does not factor into state numbers.

“Students who finish with an IEP diploma don’t count as graduated; the state calls them noncompleters,” Cook said.

Hartford’s superintendent, Thomas Abraham, said the students are almost counted as drop-outs and has been fighting this issue for years.

“I find that ridiculous because goals and objectives are established for those students, and they work very hard for that,” Abraham said.

Cook agrees.

“It hurts the school’s graduation percentage. For students, it’s a negative connotation,” Cook said. “Our graduation rate was about 85 percent in the last three years, but I’d argue that it was really 95 percent if you counted the IEP graduates.”

Abraham said the state defends its stance on this issue by citing the No Child Left Behind act; however, he believes they’re allowed to override that.

“The bottom line is the state puts everything into one basket,” Abraham said.

Mark Bessen, Granville’s superintendent, is also unhappy with the way the state categorizes special education students.

“It makes the school look bad on our report card because it doesn’t tell the true story of what these kids do,” Bessen said.

In order to deal with this issue, Hartford is looking into a college and career readiness program. Administrators would replace the IEP with skills and achievement commencement credentials, Cook said. This would allow students to come away with workplace and other skills, which would be important for those who continue to higher education or a job setting.

“Colleges have been saying that many students who start need remedial help in such subjects as math and English,” Cook said, so educators need to address that at the high school level. He said administrators also need to address these issues surrounding their special education students.

Abraham said the school tries to get as many students as possible to graduate with a Regent’s diploma, but said certain individuals need an equivalent, alternative option.

Bessen and Abraham differ on how students who are considered noncompleters are affected after school.

“In the long run, it’s not going to benefit students with disabilities,” Abraham said. “I don’t believe it is a fair reflection of students with learning disabilities.”

Bessen, however, doesn’t think students who graduate with IEP diplomas will be hurt in the long run.

“Students with an IEP usually go on to an organization that makes them job ready,” Bessen said. He has seen many of his graduates with IEPs learn and become very successful through trades after finishing high school. He said the state is proposing a trade certificate for students to graduate with that would prepare them for a good job.

“We need to look at what requirements for the new diploma are and figure out how we can work with the students to meet those,” Cook said.

Comments

comments


Read more in this week's Sentinel in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Tags: , , ,

Obituary: Rose M. Gordon

Gordon, Rose2_20200712_0001 (2)

WHITEHALL –Rose M. Gordon (“Rosie”) went into the arms of the lord unexpectedly on July 11, 2020 at the Wesley […]

Obituary: Donald Herman Herbst

Herbst, Donald

Whitehall-Donald Herman Herbst, 81, of Champlain Ave., passed away peacefully at the Glens Falls Hospital, after a valiant fight with […]

Man shot after hitting cop with car

police

Two Rutland, Vermont men were sent to the hospital Wednesday after a shootout and chase with police. Just after midnight […]

Obituary: Jason C. Thomas

Jason Thomas obit photo

Jason C. Thomas, 44, of Willow Spring, NC (formerly of Granville, NY) passed away peacefully with family by his side […]

Backpack program marks 14 years

Skyler (left) and Melody Schinski, Ann Schinski’s grandchildren, show off some of the gear that will be given away at Saturday’s backpack drive.

By Matthew Saari School is scheduled to start in a little more than a month, so it’s time to think […]

Man shot by Rutland police

police

Two men were sent to the hospital Wednesday following a shootout and chase with police in Rutland, Vermont. Just after […]

Local businesses get big money from feds

ppp

By Matthew Saari Many of the region’s leading employers were the leading recipients of federal coronavirus stimulus money. The U.S […]

Village, town order cuts in water usage

sprinkler

By Matthew Saari The village and town of Granville both are restricting water usage in their respective municipalities due to […]

Whitehall Times 7.9.20

Granville Sentinel 7.9.20

Poultney man charged with arson

police lights

A Poultney, Vermont man has been arrested in connection with a May fire in Middletown Springs, Vermont. On Monday, Vermont […]

Magill to host virtual concert

Magill and Macri 3 cover

By Matthew Saari The show must go on. Despite all of the COVID-19 social-distancing guidelines in place, Daryl Magill is […]