18+ services are individualized according to student goals and needs. They are not tied to a specific curriculum or to a bell schedule. Many questions arise as schools plan for programming, as ARD committees determine appropriate services, or when students and families consider the benefits of pursuing community-based services.
Below are some of the questions that come up frequently when planning for 18+ services. Do you have a question that's not on this list? Please contact Elizabeth Danner at email@example.com
18+ Services are provided as part of FAPE (Free and Appropriate Public Education). These services are available for any student who meets eligibility and whose ARD committee determines that the student requires continued support to meet transition needs. There is not a comprehensive list of services that a school district must offer. Services will be determined by the ARD committee based on the results of transition assessments.
18+ Programs can be developed by school districts to provide these services. These are based on local policy and can be an effective way to structure the staffing, location, materials, and other needs in order to provide services.
Students who meet eligibility are entitled to services, and districts can choose to develop programs.
A student is officially considered a “graduate” when one of the PEIMS Graduation Type Codes from Table C062 has been submitted. This is considered “exiting,” since they are no longer enrolled in school (and are not expected to return).
Participation in graduation ceremonies is allowed per SB 673 (2007). This is known as Scooter’s Law. A student may participate in all the celebrations and rituals that accompany commencement, but they remain enrolled in school and are expected to return for continued services.
When the course of study is developed or reviewed, ARD committees should consider participation in graduation ceremonies as well as the year of anticipated exit. An ARD committee should only recommend graduation (exit) when the student has met the requirements through one of the options available in Commissioner’s Rule 89.1070 and is not planning to return for services.
TEC §28.025. High School Diploma and Certificate; Academic Achievement Record
(f) A school district shall issue a certificate of attendance to a student who receives special education services under Subchapter A, Chapter 29, and who has completed four years of high school but has not completed the student's individualized education program. A school district shall allow a student who receives a certificate to participate in a graduation ceremony with students receiving high school diplomas. A student may participate in only one graduation ceremony under this subsection. This subsection does not preclude a student from receiving a diploma under Subsection (c)(2).
The short answer: Through the school year in which they turn 22
The longer version . . .
Students who are eligible for 18+ services should be connected with the routines and schedules they will access in adulthood. Schools and families should not simply plan for the student to “age out,” but should thoughtfully plan for transferring the supports and generalizing the skills they will need to be successful when the school bus no longer comes to pick them up. Each year the ARD committee should consider if the student has met the requirements in their IEP and is ready to try navigating life without the school.
Remember, students can always return to request services as long as they meet age eligibility.
34 Code of Federal Regulations § 300.101. Free appropriate public education (FAPE).
A free appropriate public education must be available to all children residing in the State between the ages of 3 and 21, inclusive, including children with disabilities who have been suspended or expelled from school, as provided for in § 300.530(d).
19 Texas Administrative Code § 89. 1035. Age Ranges for Student Eligibility.
(a) Pursuant to state and federal law, services provided in accordance with this subchapter shall be available to all eligible students ages 3-21. Services will be made available to eligible students on their third birthday. Graduation with a regular high school diploma pursuant to §89.1070 (b)(1)-(2) of this title (relating to Graduation Requirements) terminates a student's eligibility to receive services in accordance with this subchapter. An eligible student receiving special education services who is 21 years of age on September 1 of a school year shall be eligible for services through the end of that school year or until graduation with a regular high school diploma pursuant to §89.1070 (b)(1)-(2) of this title, whichever comes first.
19 Texas Administrative Code § 89.1070. Graduation Requirements.
(f) For students who receive a diploma according to subsection (b)(3) of this section, the ARD committee shall determine needed educational services upon the request of the student or parent to resume services, as long as the student meets the age eligibility requirements.
Student Attendance Accounting Handbook 3.2.3 Age Eligibility
No, students do not have to maintain a “typical school day” within 18+ programming. However, there are several factors to consider. Ultimately it is up to the ARD committee to determine the amount of time needed for the student to meet their goals.
Postsecondary goals and adult schedule
Funding for Student Attendance
The most commonly used Instructional Setting codes for 18+ students are below. See the most recent Student Attendance Accounting Handbook at TEA for more information.
4.7.4 Code 08 - Vocational Adjustment Class (VAC)
This instructional setting code is used for a student who is participating in a special education work-based learning program and is employed in a paid full- or part-time job with regularly scheduled direct involvement by special education personnel in the implementation of the student’s IEP.
Note: This code has a contact hour multiplier of 5.500
220.127.116.11 Off Home Campus Categories
Code 96 indicates a student is receiving special education and related services in a self-contained program at a separate campus operated by your school district. This code also applies to students aged 3 to 5 years who receive special education and related services in a self-contained classroom on a separate campus.
Note: This code has a contact hour multiplier of 4.250
Code 97 indicates a student is receiving special education and related services by school district personnel in a facility (other than a nonpublic day school) not operated by a school district (including sheltered workshops). This code also applies to students aged 3 to 5 years who receive special education and related services in a community setting.
Note: This code has a contact hour multiplier of 4.250
4.7.12 Code 43 or 44 - Self-Contained, Mild/Moderate/Severe, Regular Campus
This instructional setting code is used for a student who is provided special education and related services and is in a self-contained class or classes for 50% or more of the student’s instructional day, on a regular school campus.133
Note: These codes have a contact hour multiplier of 2.859
For students who are in Residential Care and Treatment facilities, see section 18.104.22.168 of the SAAH
While it is a local decision whether to invite a general education teacher to an ARD meeting, there are several citations to support the determination that it is not appropriate for any teacher who will not be implementing the IEP to attend.
If it is determined that general education teachers do not have to be invited to 18+ ARD meetings, it is recommended that the student’s IEP include an explanation of why a general education teacher was not invited. Consider indicating in the section for LRE that general education was NOT considered because the student has met the curriculum and credit requirements for high school graduation. Note that the community is the least restrictive, age-appropriate environment for the student, not the general education classroom.
Federal Law: § 300.321. IEP Team.
The public agency must ensure that the IEP Team for each child with a disability includes —
(2) Not less than one regular education teacher of the child (if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment); [emphasis added]
Texas Law: TAC § 89.1050. The Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) Committee.
(c) ARD committee membership.
(2) The regular education teacher who serves as a member of a student's ARD committee should be a regular education teacher who is responsible for implementing a portion of the student's IEP. [emphasis added]
If the student receives SSI, the student and family should be made aware that paid employment should be reported and could impact their benefits. There are several work incentive programs that allow students to be in paid employment without losing benefits. More information can be found on the Social Security website: http://www.ssa.gov/ssi/
From a PEIMS perspective, gaining employment could require a change of the student’s Instructional Setting Code to 08 (Vocational Adjustment Class). Instructional Arrangement Code 08 is “used for a student who is participating in a special education work-based learning program and is employed in a paid full- or part-time job with regularly scheduled direct involvement by special education personnel in the implementation of the student’s IEP.”
If the student was previously coded as being served in instructional setting 96, 97, or 44 before becoming employed, the instructional setting code should likely be changed to 08 upon employment. However, “this instructional arrangement/setting code must be used in conjunction with the student's individual transition plan and only after your school district's career and technical classes have been considered and determined inappropriate for the student.” (SAAH, Section 4.6.9) The potential change of instructional setting codes should be addressed in the IEP to handle unexpected interruptions in employment.
Beginning in 2016-17, a new code will be added in Code Table C088 (Participation-Indicator) to allow districts to indicate those students who have met credit requirements and will remain enrolled for the following year in order to meet requirements in their IEP. The new option was created as a result of SB 1867, which required that graduation accountability exclude students who remain enrolled per IDEA and other special education requirements. See TEC 39.053 (g)(2) for more information.
What should districts do?
Track students with disabilities who will remain enrolled for transition services (e.g., 18+ program), as well as those who will remain enrolled in order to complete required credits (e.g., dropout recovery). Review the C088 table and use the appropriate code when submitting PEIMS data in the fall submission.
Guidance for District/Campus Conversations About Accountability and 18+
Use the questions below and this document from Region 13 to guide discussions about 18+ and accountability (for Class of 2015 and earlier).
For students who have already met the credit requirements for graduation, local courses may be developed. These courses will be coded with an 8x code for local credit.
In order to receive state and federal funding, districts must take attendance through a Student Information System (SIS) that meets state requirements. More information can be found in the Student Attendance Accounting Handbook (SAAH).
“The primary purpose for the TEA’s collection of student attendance data is to ensure that FSP funds can be allocated to Texas’s public schools. All public schools in Texas must maintain records to reflect the average daily attendance (ADA) for the allocation of these and other funds by the TEA.”
“It is your district’s responsibility to ensure that the basis used to record and process attendance accounting data meets the standards in this Student Attendance Accounting Handbook.”
Recording Courses on the Transcript
Schools can develop local course codes for students who have already met high school graduation requirements and are continuing to receive services per IEP. These courses should meet Office of Civil Rights guidance for course naming (see Runkel and Hudler letters).
2012 Minimum Standards for the AAR, section 1.15 (Record of Courses and Credits Earned): ”This is the official record of a student’s high school achievement regarding courses completed, grades earned, and credits awarded. The AAR must be consistent with teachers’ records and the student’s IEP. All courses completed in grades 9-12 and before grade nine for high school credit must be recorded on the AAR (TAC §74.26(b)).”
Examples of courses created by districts in Texas
Families seeking assistance with immigration and naturalization can call 211 (www.211texas.org) to ask for resources in their area. Below is a list of resources available in central Texas:
Families might also consider contacting their local Center for Independent Living with questions about accessing supports for adults with disabilities.
Project SEARCH is a high school transition program based in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is an international trademarked and copyrighted program model that requires a license for districts and businesses to develop their own program. Schools are not required to use the Project SEARCH model to provide 18+ services.
Several districts in central Texas have Project SEARCH programs as one of several options for 18+ services:
Round Rock ISD
Lake Travis ISD
For more information see the Project SEARCH website: