13A.03.02.09-1

.09-1 Appeal of Denial of Diploma for Failure to Meet Maryland High School Assessment Requirement.

A. A school system shall notify each senior and the senior's parents or guardians on or before the end of February of the senior year if a student may not graduate. The notice shall explain:

(1) The reasons the student may not graduate;

(2) The options available to meet all graduation requirements;

(3) That a waiver of the Maryland High School Assessment graduation requirement may be one of the options, if the student meets the criteria set forth in §§C and E of this regulation;

(4) The waiver process and timeline; and

(5) That parents or guardians may submit information in writing to the principal concerning eligibility of their child for the waiver.

B. On or before the end of February, the principal shall report to the local superintendent the name and student identification number of each student identified in the February notice.

C. On or before April 1, the school system shall identify each student who may fail to graduate because:

(1) The student has taken none of the required Maryland High School Assessments; or

(2) The student has taken some or all of the Maryland High School Assessments and failed some or all of them.

D. On or before April 1, the principal shall report to the local superintendent the name and student identification number of each student identified as meeting the criteria in §C of this regulation.

E. By April 1, for each senior identified in §C of this regulation, the school principal shall consider whether to recommend to the local superintendent a waiver of the Maryland High School Assessment graduation requirements that the student has not fulfilled to date if:

(1) The student meets the following criteria:

(a) The student has or will meet all other graduation requirements;

(b) The student has or will take all required Maryland High School Assessments before the graduation date; and

(c) If the student had an opportunity to participate in one or more interventions, or remediation opportunities, including the Bridge Plan, the student participated in them; and

(2) The student is prevented from meeting the Maryland High School Assessment graduation requirements because:

(a) Of a decision made by the local school system concerning the provision of appropriate assistance as required by Regulation .06C of this chapter;

(b) The student experienced a special, extraordinary, or extenuating circumstance or combination of circumstances preceding the administration of the most recent Maryland High School Assessment, such as a recent death in the immediate family, a serious or prolonged illness or pregnancy with medical complications, an accident causing serious injury, or a destructive house fire;

(c) The student moved to the United States in the junior or senior year and the student is literate in the student's native language but not literate in English; or

(d) The student moved to Maryland in the senior year, has passed all the Maryland High School Assessment courses, but has failed the related Maryland High School Assessment, and has had no adequate opportunity for intervention.

F. On or about April 1, the principal shall notify the student and the student's parents or guardians that the student is being considered for a waiver of the Maryland High School Assessment graduation requirements that the student has not fulfilled to date. The notice shall explain the waiver decision-making process.

G. On or before May 1, the principal of the high school shall make an Maryland High School Assessmentwaiver recommendation to the local superintendent for each student who meets the criteria set forth in §E of this regulation with the participation of:

(1) The student's IEP team, if the student is a student with disabilities;

(2) The English Language Learner staff, if the student is an English Language Learner;

(3) Other school personnel; or

(4) One or more of them.

H. The principal shall explain the reason for each recommendation under §G of this regulation, whether the recommendation is to grant or deny the waiver.

I. The local superintendent shall review each recommendation and shall:

(1) Grant or deny the waiver;

(2) Promptly notify the student and the student's parent or guardian of the decision; and

(3) If the waiver is granted, include in the notification the local procedures and requirements that must be met for a diploma to be awarded.

J. The superintendent's decision in this matter is not appealable to the local board of education, but may be appealed to the State Superintendent of Schools.

K. A student or the student's parents or guardians may appeal the waiver denial to the State Superintendent by sending a written appeal letter explaining why the waiver denial was an arbitrary or unreasonable decision. The State Superintendent may affirm or reverse the local superintendent's decision and shall inform the student, the student's parents or guardians, the local superintendent, and the State Board in writing of the decision.

L. The decision of the State Superintendent may be appealed to the circuit court pursuant to Maryland Rules 7-201, et seq. On appeal:

(1) If the State Superintendent has reversed the local superintendent's decision to deny the Maryland High School Assessment waiver and the local school system appeals that decision, the State Superintendent shall defend the decision on appeal; or

(2) If the State Superintendent has affirmed the local superintendent's decision and the aggrieved student appeals, the local superintendent shall defend the State Superintendent's decision on appeal.

M. By August 1, the local superintendent shall send a report to the State Superintendent or the State Superintendent's designee on waiver decisions rendered under this regulation.

N. Nothing in this regulation is intended to establish any right to participate in the graduation ceremony while an appeal is pending. Participation in the graduation ceremony remains at the discretion of the local superintendent.