According to John Eisenberg, the diploma has changed in name only. The Applied Studies Diploma replaces the Special Diploma. The new diploma will involve competencies that are still being created and need to be presented to the State Board of Education before being sent to school divisions. It is expected that this will occur during the 2015-16 school year. It is his hope that the competencies will address the varying levels of students with disabilities who will receive the Applied Studies Diploma. Mr. Eisenburg will continue to update the Virginia Department of Education Aspiring Leaders Cohort as the competencies are developed and when they are finalized for review by the board.