Standard Diploma Credit Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Samantha Marsh-Hollins, M.T., Ph.D Candidate, Virginia Department of Education
The 2012 General Assembly amended the Code of Virginia to emphasize college and workplace readiness for all students, including students with disabilities. The legislation eliminated the Modified Standard Diploma, effective with students entering the ninth grade for the first time in 2013-2014. The General Assembly also directed the Board of Education to make provisions for students with disabilities who previously would have been candidates for the Modified Standard Diploma. The Board of Education responded to the legislature in June 2012 by amending the Standards of Accreditation (SOA) to permit credit accommodations for students with disabilities pursuing a Standard Diploma. Each student's Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan determines whether credit accommodations are appropriate. In March 2013, the Board of Education approved guidelines for school divisions on allowable credit accommodations.
Samantha Marsh Hollins is the Director of the Office of Special Education Program Improvement with the Virginia Department of Education. She is a doctoral candidate in the Special Education and Disability Policy Leadership Program at Virginia Commonwealth University. Samantha is also a graduate of the Virginia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (Va-LEND) program. Previous positions include Virginia Public Schools, as a special education teacher; Virginia Commonwealth University, as an adjunct professor and researcher; the Association of University Centers on Disabilities in Washington, D.C. as a Policy Analyst, Lobbyist and Disability Fellow. While in D.C., Samantha focused on the policy agenda of education, employment and civil rights of individuals with disabilities. Samantha has also previously served as the Educational Specialist for Autism, Intellectual Disabilities and Assistive Technology for the Virginia Department of Education. Samantha continues to participate in national and state conferences, conducts trainings and presents on issues related to the education of children with autism and intellectual disabilities.