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Graduation Guidelines - Students with Disabilities

Graduation Guidelines for Students with IEPs

The following link provides information about Graduation Guidelines for students with Individual Education Programs (IEPs):

Office of Special Education (home page)

The CDE Office of Special Education administers both the state's Exceptional Children's Educational Act (ECEA) and the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for children with disabilities. This website is a resource for teachers, administrators, and parents of students with exceptional educational needs due to disability, or learners who are culturally and/or linguistically diverse or have some other special need. The Office of Special Education is one of three offices within the Exceptional Student Services Unit (along with the Office of Facility Schools and the Office of Gifted Education).


Promising Practices for ICAP and Graduation Guidelines

Capstone Workshop for Students with IEPs, October 4 & 13, 2021

  • Access an in-depth conversation and workshop about developing a Capstone process for all students.  The focus was on how to include students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP)​​.

Slides, Resources & Practices          Recording & Videos 

ICAP is the foundation for Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness

  • Consider helping students build a culminating capstone as a vehicle for collecting and curating evidence of their learning - with ICAP at the core.  When districts create capstone processes, they must be accessible to each student in the district - for students with disabilities, English Learners, gifted students, CTE stars, honors students, athletes, artists...

Review ICAP and IEPs:  Coaching for Success in the PWR Playbook website:

  • Use your IEP meetings to introduce and develop the ICAP and capstone processes, so that each each student can take ownership of this learning:
    • Start the conversation early!  Many districts start with the transition meeting from 8th to 9th grade (or 5th to 6th grade)
    • Consider including transcribed career conversations, articulated experiences, coursework, and/or reflections. 
    • Talk about whether a portfolio and/or a presentation makes sense. 
    • Involve family members and teachers who are part of the IEP team. 

ACE Programming and CTE

Alternative Cooperative Education (ACE)  is a subset of is a multi-occupational pathway that facilitates individualized, developmentally appropriate programming necessary to support CTE students successfully. ACE programs serve CTE students identified as "Special Populations" as defined by the Perkins Act, including learners who have an identified disability or have limited English proficiency, and/or learners who are: entering nontraditional fields; displaced homemakers; economically disadvantaged; or single parents.

Capstone is a culminating ICAP practice and a Powerful Demonstration of Learning for Graduation Guidelines:


At the Transitions Leadership Institute in June 2020, Gail Lott, Gina Herrera, and Robin Russel from CDE reviewed the policies for Graduation Guidelines.  Then three districts presented their versions of Capstone that include students with disabilities.


Students in District 49 create Digital Portfolios to take ownership of their learning by demonstrating mastery of a skill and/or subject, by reflecting on and matching their strengths to their postsecondary world.  "Anyone can use portfolios - young, old, and each person in between!  Because they are customizable, districts and schools can include what they need and leave out what they don't."



There are six required components of the Otis Senior Capstone - The Six Ps:  Proposal; Product, service, or fieldwork; Paper; Portfolio; Poster; and Presentation.


In Lonestar, students complete six badges: Financial Literacy; Life Skills; Workforce Readiness; College/Career Readiness; Critical Thinking; Community Service.  This process is designed for Graduation Guidelines capstone, for ICAP, and for lifelong learning.  


Consider an integrated program for Graduation Guidelines and Transition 

Integrated Services in Poudre School District provides coordination of Transition Resources that promote movement from school to post-school activities. Find high school and post-high school programs for students with disabilities and their families, including: ACE, Professional and Community Experience, Front Range CTE programs, SWAP, Community Connections and web-based courses. The transition series videos include: Independent Living and Continuing Education, Transition Programs and opportunities post high school, Legal and Social Security Information for Transition, and Self-Advocacy and Disclosure.

  • ACE Supported Employment 
    • The Coffee Project is a program provided by the Alternative Cooperative Education (ACE)-Supported Employment Program.
    •  A Power Point presentation from 2016 describes the purposes, process, and tasks of The Coffee Roasting project in the ACE-Supported Employment Program. Other entrepreneurial programs in the district that have been supported through ACE include: Laser Engraver, Coffee Cart & BloomTown, Sign Shop, Clyde’s Closet, and Dog Biscuits. 
  • SWAP Brochure 
    Poudre School District developed a partnership for SWAP with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. This brochure describes the School to Work Alliance Program (SWAP) for young adults ages 16-25. It describes participant candidacy, benefits for participants, and benefits for employers. It also provides a link to the SWAP webpage for more information.


Special Populations Workgroup (2014)