Parent and Student Graduation Resources

The resources in this section provide graduation-related information for students and parents about attendance, dropout prevention, college readiness, the Wisconsin Covenant, Graduation Summit, Employability Skills Certificate, plus links to transition or alternative programs for at-risk students, students with disabilities, and other youth.



Click on a main topic to jump to that section or scroll down:



Compulsory Attendence Resources


Answers to Frequently Asked Compulsory School Attendance Questions
The document outlines the rights and responsibilities related to attendance in Wisconsin public schools. It includes the responsibilities of both parents/guardians and public school officials to compel students to attend school on a regular basis.


Attendance/Truancy Policy and Procedures Review Checklist
This voluntary checklist has been developed by members of DPI’s Special Education Team to help school districts examine their policies, procedures and practices related to attendance and truancy and their impact on students with disabilities. Questions are based on state and federal statute and research-based best practices.


Homeschool Attendence FAQs
This page provides information regarding homeschool attendance especially for minor students.

Back to Top



Graduation Resources


America’s Promise Alliance
Dropout prevention resources including Grad Nation Guidebook: A Guidebook to Help Communities Tackle the Dropout Crisis,a new tool comprising the best evidence-based practices for keeping young people in school paired with suggestions for effectively preparing them for life after high school.


Early and Middle College High Schools
Early and middle college high schools partner with institutions of higher education to offer all enrolled students an opportunity to earn and Associate’s degree or up to two years of college credits toward the baccalaureate while in high school, as well as a high school diploma. The initiative is based on the assumption that engaging under-represented students in a rigorous high school curriculum that is tied to the incentive of earning college credits will motivate them and increase their access to and success in additional postsecondary education after high school.


Freshman Transition Programs
Students enrolled in the most extensive and comprehensive freshmen transition programs are able maintain their grade level placement in high school and thus have lower dropout rates. Successful programs are multi-dimensional, blending youth development approaches with contextual and authentic learning to include caring relationships, cognitive challenges, a culture of support, community, and connection to learning and career opportunities.


The Wisconsin Covenant
In January of 2006, Governor Jim Doyle introduced the Wisconsin Covenant, a program created to inspire young people to plan early for a successful high school career that will lead to higher education. Eighth graders in Wisconsin are invited to sign the Wisconsin Covenant Pledge, a promise that they will:

  • Earn a high-school diploma.
  • Maintain at least a “B” average in high school.
  • Complete the classes they need to prepare them for higher education.
  • Demonstrate good citizenship and participate in their community.
  • Apply for state and federal financial aid in a timely manner.
  • Take the necessary steps to gain admission to a University of Wisconsin System institution, a Wisconsin Technical College, and/or a Wisconsin private college or university.

In return for meeting these goals and keeping the pledge, a Wisconsin Covenant Student will be recognized as a Wisconsin Covenant Scholar, earn a place within our partnered systems of higher education, and receive a financial aid package, based on their family’s financial need, to help make college affordable.


Wisconsin Graduation Summit
Developed for the Webpage provides information about various local, state and national resources related to improving graduation rates, reducing dropout rates and other related topics.

Back to Top



English Language Learners


Dropout Prevention: Stories and Ideas from Hmong and Lao High School Students in North Minneapolis
This report grew out of the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotan’s participation as a stakeholder in the steering committee for the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Dropout Prevention, Retention and Graduation Initiative and the Hennepin County Asian Pacific Islander Initiative. It is based on responses from 45 Southeast Asian High School student participants in three focus groups to a series of open ended questions about causes of dropping out and dropout prevention.

Back to Top



Students with Disabilities


Graduation Procedures for Students with Disabilities (DPI Information Update Bulletin 10.08)
This graduation bulletin developed by DPI’s Special Education Team provides information on how students with disabilities meet the high school graduation policies developed by the local school board.


Opening Doors to Employment: Planning for Life After School - A Handbook... (July 2008)
A guide that deals with the future employment of students with disabilities. Employment includes many kinds of choices from jobs to careers, with or without support of outside agencies. Designed to help students with disabilities take another step in preparing for “life after high school,” the activities should be completed with the assistance of the student’s parent, teacher, or guidance counselor.


Opening Doors to Postsecondary Education and Training: A Handbook for Students, School Counselors, Teachers and Parents (September 2007)
A guide that deals with postsecondary education for students with disabilities. Postsecondary education includes many kinds of education and training programs, technical college degree and certification programs, apprenticeship experience, two- and four-year colleges, private trade schools, on-the-job training, and more.


Opening Doors to Self-Determination: Planning for Life After School - A Handbook...(February 2009)
A handbook that deals with the skills students with disabilities will need after high school, including self-determination & self-advocacy skills.


Self-Determination Handbook with Forms
A training program developed to help students with disabilities learn self-determination skills and improve their ability to take responsibility for their post-high school lives.


Transition Action Guide for Post-School Planning
This Technical Assistance Guide (TAG) was developed to assist in the improvement of communication, coordination, and services for students with disabilities transitioning from school to work. It was designed to be useful for all persons and agencies (stakeholders) involved in the transition process.


Transition Services for Students with Disabilities webpage
Information about the requirements for transition services for Wisconsin students with disabilities, as well as related resources and materials. Includes links to the Wisconsin State Transition Initiative, which assists school districts in addressing the transition related requirements of IDEA and Wisconsin state law.

Back to Top





Alternative Education
The alternative education program works with school districts to develop programs that help all students to be successful. Program ideas range from early intervention for at-risk learners that start the student off on the right track to programs for students who have lost their way entirely. For the student who has lost his or her way, this might include jail or detention-based education, credit acceleration, a behavior program or just an opportunity to come back to school and graduate. While the short-term goal of alternative education is to meet the needs of some students, the long-term goal must be to identify successful alternative education strategies and use these strategies as a basis for improving the learning opportunities for all children. Wisconsin law allows a school board to grant a high school diploma to a pupil who has not satisfied the credit requirements, if:

  • the student was enrolled in an alternative education program, and
  • the school board determines that the pupil has demonstrated a level of proficiency in the subjects for which credits are required equivalent to that which they would have attained if they had satisfied the credit requirements, Wis. Stat. sec. 118.33(1)(d).

The GED Option #2 allows authorized school districts to use the GED test battery to measure proficiency in lieu of high school credit for students enrolled in an alternative education program. A student who passes the GED tests and completes the other requirements for graduation is entitled to the traditional high school diploma.


Dropout Recovery Resource Guide
The Dropout Recovery Resource Guide was developed based on information and findings associated with the following activities whose goal was to identify effective dropout recovery programs, strategies and practices:

  • Literature search and review on effective dropout recovery practices and strategies;
  • Statewide survey of school district and charter school dropout recovery programs;
  • Identification of districts and charter schools with promising practices in dropout recovery;
  • Interviews with and site visits to districts, charter schools and college programs with potentially promising dropout recovery practices.


Dual Credit Programs
This brief examines state policies around dual credit. Dual credit programs are programs in which students participate in coursework for which they receive high school and postsecondary credit. Dual credit programs are a type of dual enrollment policy designed to promote college readiness and facilitate the transition to enrollment in postsecondary institutions. Dual credit delivery can take place in different settings from high school classrooms to college campuses and distance learning courses.


Graduation and Home Schooling
PI-1206 Homeschool Report (HOMER) 2010-2011 - In Wisconsin, high school diplomas are issued by public and private schools. A home-based private educational program does not lead to a traditional Wisconsin high school diploma. However, this webpage describes other options available to students in a homeschool situation.


Operation Fresh Start
Operation Fresh Start is a youth development program addressing core issues facing low-income communities: education, employment, crime prevention, affordable housing, and leadership development. At OFS, low-income young people ages 16-24 work toward their GED or high school diploma, learn job skills, and serve their communities by building affordable housing. In the process, they fundamentally change their lives and roles in society.


Wisconsin Employability Skills Certificate
The intent of the Wisconsin Employability Skills Certificate Program is to recognize a student's mastery of employability skills valued by employers, to help students explore a career interest, and to provide a state credential of student mastery of employability skills. The main strategy is to provide, within state guidelines, state certification of a broader range of local district school-supervised work-based learning programs. The employability skills in this program have been identified through the U.S. Department of Labor's Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) in partnership with educators, business, industry, and labor representatives. It will further serve to provide state certification to existing and new work-based learning programs including “regular” cooperative education programs, general work experience programs, etc.


For questions about this information, contact Eva Kubinski (608) 266-2899