Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

10 Things Students with Disabilities Need to Know


The Common Core: 10 Things Students with Disabilities Need to Know

The following content originally appeared in The Special EDge newsletter, Volume 27, Number 2; Winter–Spring 2014

Who the Common Core Is For

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are for all students in kindergarten through twelfth grade in public education, which includes students with disabilities.

What the California Common Core State Standards Are and Why We Have Them

The CCSS are the guidelines that all teachers and schools will follow to make sure you are taught what you need to know in each grade. All students who attend public schools are supposed to be taught their grade-level standards. Learning the standards will help you prepare for college, jobs, and life.

Where You Can See the Standards

You can find all of the CCSS at Common Core State Standards Initiative External link opens in new window or tab.. At this website, you can select your grade level to see what you should be learning. This site also has many resources to help you learn about and understand the standards.

How the Standards Are Important in Your Individualized Education Program (IEP)

Knowing what you are supposed to be learning in each grade can make it easier for you to ask questions about how you are meeting your goals, where your learning will happen, and what kind of extra help you might need.

How IEP Goals Should Be Based on the Standards

Your IEP has goals that focus on your special learning needs. Each of the academic goals should be based on a Common Core grade-level standard.

You also may have goals in your IEP that are not academic goals. These might be goals that address how you deal with and express your feelings. Nonacademic goals are an important part of your IEP. They support your ability to learn in school. But only academic goals—such those for English and math—need to align to a CCSS.

How to Advocate for Yourself in a Class Where a Teacher Has Not Seen Your IEP

It is always OK—and sometimes very important—to tell your teachers that you have a disability. You also want to tell your teachers that your IEP lists the accommodations, modifications, or assistive technology you need in order to be successful in their classes. If you are afraid or embarrassed to talk to a teacher about this, speak to one of the members of your IEP team or a family member. Ask for help in talking with the teacher to explain the supports you need.

What Questions to Ask at Your IEP Meeting

  • Am I learning and performing at grade level?
  • If not, what is the plan for me to reach grade level?
  • What are my behavior goals that will help me with my learning?
  • What strategies, special teaching, or technology will I have to make sure I am able to learn?
  • Who should I go to for help?
  • What will I need to do to get a high school diploma?

More Helpful Resources

Questions:   Special Education Division | Focused Monitoring Technical Assistance Consultant
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Recently Posted in Special Education
  • ACSE Membership and Liaisons (updated 24-Jan-2022)
    Directory of the Advisory Commission on Special Education (ACSE), including Commissioner, liaison and staff contact information.
  • 2022 Special Education Spring Information Sharing (added 24-Jan-2022)
    January 2022 Letter Regarding Special Education Monitoring and Engagement with Local Educational Agencies.
  • WAI State Advisory Meeting January 28, 2022 (added 13-Jan-2022)
    WorkAbility I (WAI) State Advisory Committee Meeting Agenda.
  • Pathways to a High School Diploma (added 30-Dec-2021)
    Report required by the 2020 Budget Act and includes recommendations on the topic of special education and pathways to a high school diploma for students with disabilities.
  • FMTA Consultant Assignments by Region (updated 07-Dec-2021)
    The Focused Monitoring and Technical Assistance (FMTA) Consultants are assigned geographically and by quality assurance activity to align with the eleven California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA) regions.