To stay on track to graduate, a student must obtain passing grades in classes that count toward graduation. For some students–especially those at a trade or technical school–they must work harder to pass academic classes than their peers in a traditional high school setting. Often, trade schools will have students take two weeks in trade classes and have an accelerated academic course load for the remainder of the month. This can result in a number of tests, quizzes, and projects due at the same time. Making sure that students can manage their assignments, practice good study habits, and turn in projects on time are some ways that educators and an IEP team can help a child meet their graduation goals while in a trade school setting. For those in a traditional high school, the student in question should practice the same skills, as well as determine whether or not they wish to attend college after graduation. If the student does not wish to do so, parents and the IEP team should discuss with the student other interests they may be able to pursue, and the likelihood of obtaining a trade or associate’s degree instead of a standard four-year program.

Keeping a student on track to graduate is the responsibility of first and foremost, the student. Students should take the time to assess their post-graduation plans, and decide if a traditional college is right for them. If a student appears to be more inclined toward a trade, their IEP team and parents can research a certificate or associate’s degree program which can provide further training. In-depth training at a skill a student is already excelling in is a cost-effective alternative to traditional college, meant for skilled laborers, crafters, and students who may elect not to pursue a four-year college plan after graduation.

An IEP team must do their best to collaborate throughout the school year with students and parents to evaluate a student’s progress toward their educational goals. A student’s path may appear simple, but road blocks can occur. And regardless of any post-high school academic plans, it is important to ensure that each student is aware of treatment and support options that are available outside the school setting. It is important to help students connect with any therapists or assistance programs that they may need once they leave the structure of the school day for their adult lives.

How does your school help students to prepare for life after graduation?