Graduation Pathways for Students with Disabilities

All students should leave high school prepared for living, working and future learning. In New York, there are more ways than ever for students with disabilities to leave school with a meaningful credential that represents how much they have accomplished — and what they are prepared for.

With a CDOS or SACC credential, students will leave school with documentation of their work-based learning experiences, skills, strengths and level of independence. These credentials do not mean that instruction for high school students with disabilities is shifting away from academics. All students must be provided with access to the general education curriculum.

Instruction for students pursuing either CDOS or SACC is based on the state’s Career Development and Occupational Studies Learning Standards, which emphasize skills such as reading, writing and math.

What is CDOS? (Career Development and Occupational Studies Commencement Credential)

A graduation certificate that shows students are ready for entry-level work. This can supplement a high school diploma or be earned by students who do not complete diploma requirements due to their disability. Students explore careers and learn technical skills. They must complete two CTE courses or 54 hours of work-based learning experiences. Students also develop a career plan each year and leave with an employability profile.

What is SACC? (Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential)

A graduation certificate for students with severe disabilities showing they have completed at least 12 years of school, with instruction and services designed to help them meet their goals for living, learning and working after leaving school. SACC is for students who are eligible to take the New York State Alternative Assessment. Students can participate in school- and community-based work preparation experiences. Instruction is based on the CDOS standards.

The CDOS and SACC credentials are not tracks and cannot be pursued as an alternative to a high school diploma. All students must be provided the opportunity to access the general curriculum and earn a high school diploma. As in the past, students with disabilities are eligible to attend school until they are 21 years old or until they graduate with a Regents or local diploma. There are safety net options for students with disabilities pursuing their high school diploma. Please call your child’s school for more information.