Special needs high school students in South Carolina will be able to graduate from public schools with an employability credential that highlights their abilities, under new legislation which takes effect next school year.
The organization Parents Reaching Out to Parents Director Mary Eaddy Baker told South Carolina Radio Network the new credential is more than just a certificate of attendance.
“Employers that are familiar with that these students are coming to them with some kind of credential of competency,” said Baker.
It also allows special needs students tailor their way to a diploma. “Mostly children with disabilities were leaving public school with nothing but a certificate,” Baker said.
Advoactes have, for years, sought an alternative diploma program which recognizes the accomplishments of special needs children and helps them become independent. Under previous state law, special needs students who cannot earn the required 24 credits to graduate can receive a state certificate of attendance regardless of what level they have achieved.
The new certifications take effect for students entering ninth grade in the 2018-19 academic year. The new employability credentials will be granted starting with the Class of 2022.
“The future is bright because of this legislation,” said Baker.