The different "pathways" to graduation

Louisiana has many different graduation options for students with disabilities, each with its own set of requirements.

Each year, you and the IEP team should look at your child's goals as you wrote them in the IEP, and at their progress in school.

Based on that, you will choose which graduation pathway works best for them.

Then you must make sure to map out a class schedule that will meet the requirements of that pathway.

Students graduating with an IEP can take one of these traditional graduation pathways:

TOPS University Diploma:

  • The traditional high school pathway

  • Prepares students to go on to a 4-year college

Jump Start TOPS Graduation Pathway:

  • Sometimes called a Jump Start TOPS Tech Diploma, Jump Start TOPS CareerDiploma, or Jump Start TOPS Tech CareerDiploma

  • Prepares students for a technical or community college and trains them for a specific career

  • Has the option for 2 alternate pathways for students who have trouble meeting the required scores on the assessments:

Click on the boxes below to learn more about each of the pathways:

This option is for students who plan to go to a 4-year college. It is the traditional high school pathway.

Graduation Requirements are the courses a student needs to take (and pass) in order to graduate.

They are listed in terms of Carnegie Units. One Carnegie Unit means that there has been 120 hours of class time in a certain course. This is usually the same as a one-semester course.

End of Course (EOC) Assessments are tests students take after each course to be sure they understand the course content. They must get a certain score to be able to count the course and earn the Carnegie Unit.

Graduation Requirements for a TOPS University Diploma:

Exceptional Lives Carnegie Units Chart showing gradudation requirements per course: English 4, Math 4, Science 4, Social Studies 4, Health or Physical Education 2, Foreign Language 2, Arts 1, Electives 3

Students must have an EOC Assessment Score of 'Fair' or higher in these courses:

  • Algebra I or Geometry

  • English II or English III

  • Biology or U.S. History

Click on the link at the bottom of the page to download a more detailed list of required courses. (It will open in a new window or appear in the bottom corner of your screen.)

Source: LA DOE

This option is for students who want to train for a job and earn industry based certifications during high school.

It will give them a jump start on getting the career and technical experience they'll need. It also prepares them for going on to a technical or community college.

This diploma is sometimes called a Jump Start TOPS Tech Diploma, Jump Start TOPS Career Diploma, or Jump Start TOPS Tech Career Diploma.

What do you get when you graduate? (exit document) 

Image of a graduation cap and diplomas with text 'high school diploma and one or more credentials for a specific job, also called industry based credential (IBC)'
What classes do you take?

Image of three rounded rectangles. In the first rectangle is the text 'College Prep (Math, English, etc.)' above icons of a teacher at a blackboard and mathematical symbols. In the second rectangle is the text 'Career Education (Basic job skills)' above icons of a person typing on a keyboard and a person wearing a phone headset. In the third rectangle is the text 'Training for Specific Jobs (Like plumber, cook or EMT)' above icons of an ambulance and a cook.

 

Click here for a quick 2-minute video about Jump Start! (It will open in a new tab on your screen.)

Graduation Requirements are the courses a student needs to take (and pass) in order to graduate.

They are listed in terms of Carnegie Units. One Carnegie Unit means that there has been 120 hours of class time in a certain course. This is usually the same as a one-semester course.

End of Course (EOC) Assessments are tests students take after each course to be sure they understand the course content. They must get a certain score to be able to count the course and earn the Carnegie Unit.

The diploma will look like all the other diplomas. Only the student's transcript will indicate the different requirements.

Graduation Requirements for a Jump Start Diploma:

Exceptional Lives Carnegie Units Chart for a Jump Start Diploma showing gradudation requirements per course: English 4, Math 4, Science 4, Social Studies 4, Health or Physical Education 2, Jump Start Career Education (Special courses to prepare for jobs) 9

Students must have an EOC Assessment Score of 'Fair' or higher in these courses:

  • Algebra I or Geometry

  • English II or English III

  • Biology or U.S. History

 

To learn more about Jump Start, click on these resources:

They'll open in a new tab or window, or appear in the bottom corner of your screen.

There are also alternative pathways within Jump Start TOPS Tech. They are called 833 and LAA1.

Click the box below to learn more.

When students in the Jump Start pathway are having trouble meeting the required assessment scores, these are two ways they can adapt the testing style or requirements to earn their diploma.

They will take the same courses, but the IEP Team can choose different testing options and criteria for finishing the coursework.

833: Allows a student to pass courses and move to the next grade with non-traditional types of testing.

For example, they may show that they learned the work in a certain class by doing an interview instead of a final exam at the end of the year.

To be eligible for this pathway, students must meet one of these criteria:

  1. Do not meet the required scores on state assessments in two out of three most recent years: 6th, 7th, or 8th

  2. Do not receive a score of Fair, Good, or Excellent on two tries of the same end of course (EOC) test

They will take the same basic classes as other Jump Start students, but the IEP Team will choose a different set of tests and criteria the students needs to do in order to graduate with the diploma.

LEAP Alternate Assessment 

This is for students who have severe learning disabilities and need their school work to be very different from their non-disabled classmates.

  • Students on this pathway may not have to complete a set number of units in order to graduate

  • Students will get a diploma at graduation, but their school record will show that they did not complete all of the courses needed to earn a standard high school diploma

Source: LA DOE

Learn more about all of this in our Transition to Adulthood page! 

Source: LA DOE

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