Informed by over a decade of work by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) including the white paper, Preparing All Youth for Academic and Career Readiness: Implications for High School Policy and Practice, this brief calls attention to the need to implement policies and practices to improve high school and post-school outcomes for all students, including those with diverse learning and support needs and makes recommendations for federal, state, and local policy makers.
Due to increasing diversity among the high school student population – in both their characteristics and their needs – various reforms to high school policies and practices are needed to improve the high school outcomes of all students, including youth with disabilities and other diverse learners and disconnected youth. Regardless of disability status or other classification, research indicates that all students need the same essential educational and developmental opportunities to ensure their success in adulthood. To ensure all students have equal access to the same opportunities in life, public systems and service strategies must include additional support services for those individuals with high support needs. With a focus on the dual goals of college and career readiness for all, this brief offers policy makers at the federal, state, and local levels four key objectives for secondary school reform and specific actions they can take for each.