2410 Policy – High School Graduation Requirements

Bellingham Public Schools’ mission, through a collective commitment with the Bellingham community, is to develop students who graduate from our schools prepared for success in the global community. Each will be exceptional in his or her own way, with strong character, a passion for learning, and ready for the widest range of educational and vocational options to support a diversity of life choices.

The school district is committed to developing students and graduates who are:

  • readers and writers,
  • scientists and mathematicians,
  • historians and global thinkers,
  • artists, performers and trades people,
  • healthy, active individuals,
  • multilingual readers and speakers,
  • and skilled users of technology and information,
  • critical thinkers and problem-solvers,
  • effective communicators,
  • leaders, collaborators and team players,
  • dependable and responsible workers,
  • innovators and creators,
  • confident individuals who continuously challenge themselves,
  • respectful and compassionate humans,
  • honest and ethical citizens who act with integrity, and
  • well-rounded community members engaged with the broader world.


A. STATE AND DISTRICT
REQUIREMENTS

The board will award a high school diploma to every student enrolled in the district who meets the requirements of graduation established by the district. The board will establish graduation requirements which, as a minimum, satisfy those established by the State Board of Education. The board will approve additional graduation requirements as recommended by the superintendent.

All graduates will meet the specific requirements of their graduation year. A student’s graduation requirement year is determined by the student’s ninth grade enrollment date.

To earn a high school diploma, each student must:

1. Meet the minimum credit requirements: Students must earn at least 23 credits and satisfy the requirements for their graduating class. Students in grades 9 and 10 will take courses in English, science and mathematics that support their efforts to meet the Washington state requirements as measured by Washington state assessments. All students must meet the standards required for the necessary courses or provide evidence of competence to be eligible for graduation.
Students who transfer into the Bellingham School District from another school or district will have their transcript reviewed upon entry into the district. Any adjustments in the number of credits required for graduation will be documented on the official transcript.

Students who receive services from the special education program will be granted a diploma based on satisfactory completion of a course of study which meets graduation requirements through general education courses, general education courses with accommodations, general education courses with modifications, or through approved special education courses designed to meet their unique needs. Deviations from the graduation requirements defined in this policy shall be determined by the Individual Educational Program (IEP) team, based on the student’s individual needs, and specifically outlined in the IEP document.

2. Pass the required state assessments: Students must pass state exams to earn a Certificate of Academic Achievement. Students who pass state exams for those served by the special education program meet this requirement by earning a Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA).

Students in the class of 2008 through the class of 2016 must earn a Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) or Certifi­cate of Individual Achievement (CIA) by passing state exams or state-approved alternatives in English language arts (reading and writing) and mathematics.

Beginning with the class of 2017, students must earn a Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) or Certifi­cate of Individual Achievement (CIA) by passing state exams or state-approved alternatives in English language arts (reading and writing), mathematics and science.

3. Complete a High School and Beyond Plan: All students will develop a plan for satisfying the state and district’s high school graduation requirements and for their first year after high school completion. The plan should be developed in collaboration with the student, parent and district staff. Each student plan should be reviewed annually to assess student progress, to adjust the plan, and to advise the student on steps necessary for successful completion of the plan.


B. COURSE REQUIREMENTS

 

GRADUATION COURSE REQUIREMENTS – CLASS OF 2014 and 2015
Subject Credits Content
English 4.0 English 9 and 10, and other courses in reading, writing, and communication
Mathematics 3.0 Students must earn three (3) credits in mathematics through Algebra II or higher. *(A student may elect to pursue a third credit of high school-level mathematics, other than Algebra II if requirements/guidelines are met.  See counselor for details).
World Language 2.0 Students must earn two (2) credits in the same language e.g., two years of Spanish, French, German, etc.
Science 2.0 Courses including concepts of earth, life, and physical sciences
Social Studies 3.0 Washington and the World, World Geography, US History, World History, Citizenship
Health and Fitness 2.0 Health* (.5) and PE* (1.5) courses
Arts 1.0 Visual and/or performing arts
Occupational Education 1.0 Courses that fulfill the Occupational Education requirement
Electives 5.0
Total Required 23

 

Note: Requirements for Class of 2014 and 2015 reflect changes in World Language credit requirements. See Policy 2409 regarding competency-based credit for world languages based on demonstrated proficiency assessments.

 

 

GRADUATION COURSE REQUIREMENTS – CLASS OF 2016 –2020
Subject Credits Content
English 4.0 English 9 and English 10, and other courses in reading, writing, and communication
Mathematics 3.0 Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II

Students may elect to pursue a third credit of high school-level mathematics, other than Algebra II if requirements are met. See counselor for details.

World Language 2.0 Students must earn two (2) credits in the same language (e.g., two years of Spanish, two years of French, or two years of German, etc.)
Science 2.0 Courses including concepts of earth, life, and physical sciences
Social Studies 3.0  Students must earn three (3.0) credits in the following classes: Civics (0.5), U.S. History (1.0), Contemporary World History (1.0) and an elective (0.5)
Health and Fitness 2.0 Health (0.5) and PE (1.5) courses
Arts 1.0 Visual and/or performing arts
Occupational Education

*See Two-for-One Policy below.

1.0 Courses that fulfill the Occupational Education requirement
Electives 5.0
Total Required 23

 

Note: Requirements for Class of 2016 reflect state changes in Social Studies course credit requirements.

 

GRADUATION COURSE REQUIREMENTS – CLASS OF 2021 and BEYOND
Subject Credits Content
English 4.0 English 9 and English 10, and other courses in reading, writing, and communication
Mathematics 3.0 Algebra I, Geometry and a third credit of math.

Students choose a third credit of math based on interests and their High School and Beyond Plan. See counselor for details.

World Language 2.0 Students must earn two (2) credits in the same language (e.g., two years of Spanish, two years of French, or two years of German, etc.)
Science 3.0 At least two labs are required and a third credit of science chosen by the student based on the student’s interest and High School and Beyond Plan and approved by the parent or guardian.  The school counselor or principal can also approve the course.
Social Studies 3.0 The following courses are required:  US History and Government; Contemporary World History, Geography and Problems; .5 credits of Civics (content may be embedded in another social studies course); .5 credits of Social Studies elective.
Health and Fitness 2.0 Health (0.5) and PE (1.5) courses
Arts 2.0 One credit may be a personalized pathway requirement, defined as related courses that lead to a specific post-high school career or educational outcome chosen by the student and based on the student’s interest and High School and Beyond Plan, which may include Career and Technical Education, and are intended to provide a focus for the student’s learning.
Career and Tech Ed 1.0 This credit may be an Occupational Education course that meets the definition of an exploratory course as described in the CTE program standards.
Electives 4.0
Total Required 24

 

 

World Language Waiver

Students may request to have the world language requirement waived by the principal if the student has transferred from a program where world languages were not required or offered and the student does not have the ability to complete the full two-year requirement prior to the end of their senior year (see Form 2410F-2). Transfer students in this situation will be expected to complete as much of the world language requirement as is possible prior to graduating from the Bellingham School District.

World Language Alternative Credit Option

Students may elect to pursue two credits in areas other than a world language if the choice is based on a career-oriented course of study identified in the student’s High School and Beyond Plan.  They still need to earn both credits in alternate courses.

To use this option, the student’s parent/guardian must agree that credit in another area is more appropriate than World Language because it better serves the student’s career goals.  A meeting must be held with the student, the parent/guardian, and high school representative to discuss and sign the Request for Alternatives to World Language Courses form.  This form acknowledges they understand the World Language requirement is a college entrance requirement and that they believe the other course selections are more appropriate given the student’s educational and career goals.

Health and Fitness Credit Waivers

Students may request waivers to graduation requirements for PE (up to 1.5 credit may be waived) and Health. All students need knowledge and skills in these areas, but competency may be achieved in a variety of ways. The superintendent is directed to create a process by which students can demonstrate their knowledge and skills in any of the competency subject areas (see Form 2410F-1). Students who demonstrate competency will have this graduation requirement waived, enabling them to select another course to complete the total number of credits required for graduation.

*Two-for-One Policy for Career and Technical Education (CTE) Courses

The “two-for-one” policy is a rule change (WAC 180-51-067) in effect for students in the graduating class of 2016.  Students who take CTE-equivalent courses may satisfy two graduation requirements while earning one credit for a single course; hence, “Two-for-one.”  The purpose of this policy is to create flexibility for students to choose more elective courses or to address other graduation requirements (see Form 2410F-3).

Credit Retrieval Based on State Exam Proficiencies

Students who meet standard on the high school state exams identified below will be allowed to retrieve credit in the following ways:

 

State Assessment

State Assessment Previously Failed Course Eligible for Credit Retrieval Credit Retrieved
Smarter Balanced ELA (passing at College & Career Readiness cut score) Any English credit taken Junior year or prior Up to 1.0
Smarter Balanced ELA (passing at high school exit exam cut score) English 9 or English 10 Up to 1.0
Smarter Balanced Math (passing at College & Career Readiness cut score) Any math credit taken Junior year or prior Up to 1.0
Smarter Balanced Math (passing at high school exit exam cut score) Algebra 1 or Geometry Up to 1.0
Reading HSPE English 9 or English 10 0.5
Writing HSPE English 9 or English 10 0.5
Algebra 1 EOC Exam or Collection of Evidence (COE) Algebra 1 Up to 1.0
Geometry EOC Exam or Collection of Evidence (COE) Geometry Up to 1.0
Biology EOC Exam or Collection of Evidence (COE) Biology Up to 1.0

 

  • Meeting standard at Level 2 (Basic) may apply for students with an IEP where proficiency is designated at the basic level, in which case the credits above also apply.
  • Previously failed course remain on transcript and retain the grade of “F”
  • Retrieved credit receives an “P” on transcript and meets appropriate graduation requirement
  • Teachers retain the option to change student grades (WAC 180-44-010). However, the combination of grade changes and credits retrieved due to passing state exams may not result in students earning more than 1.0 total credits for that course requirement.

 

C. STATE ASSESSMENTS

All students in grade 10 will be assessed with the Smarter Balanced test in English language arts. All students in grade 11 will be assessed with the Smarter Balanced tests in English language arts and mathematics. Students will be assessed with one End-of-Course (EOC) exam in math (Algebra I or Geometry) and with the EOC Biology exam when enrolled in those courses. To meet federal and state law regarding school district accountability, all students must take an End-of-Course exam in mathematics and Biology no later than their tenth grade.

Students served by the special education program may access state-approved alternative assessments to meet the above requirements.

For students who do not pass a state exam, the district will provide additional opportunities to learn required content, skills and strategies to enable them to meet the assessment requirements. The district will provide additional opportunities for students to re-take the exam, or state-approved alternative assessments, during subsequent test administrations determined by the state.

Class of 2015 – 2016 Class of 2017 – 2018 Class of 2019 and Beyond
READING AND WRITING

 

Pass English Language Arts Smarter Balanced test** or Reading and Writing HSPE or  state assessments for students in special education

 

-OR-

 

Pass state-approved alternatives*

READING AND WRITING

 

Pass English Language Arts Smarter Balanced test** or Reading and Writing HSPE or  state assessments for students in special education

 

-OR-

 

Pass state-approved alternatives*

READING AND WRITING

 

Pass English Language Arts Smarter Balanced test or state assessments for students in special education

 

-OR-

 

Pass state-approved alternatives*

MATH

 

Pass Math Smarter Balanced test** or one EOC Math exam (Algebra 1 or Geometry) or state assessment for students in special education

 

-OR-

 

Pass state-approved alternatives*

MATH

 

Pass Math Smarter Balanced test** or one EOC Math exam (Algebra 1 or Geometry) or state assessment for students in special education

 

-OR-

 

Pass state-approved alternatives*

MATH

 

Pass Math Smarter Balanced test or state assessment for students in special education

 

-OR-

 

Pass state-approved alternatives*

SCIENCE

 

Pass EOC Biology exam, state comprehensive science exam,  or state assessment for students in special education

 

-OR-

 

Pass state approved alternatives*

SCIENCE

 

Pass state comprehensive science exam or state assessment for students in special education

 

-OR-

 

Pass state-approved alternatives*

 

* Students must attempt high school assessments at least once before qualifying for the state alternatives (Certificate of Academic Achievement Options) in each content area.

** For the Class of 2016 through Class of 2018, students who reach the high school exit exam cut score on the English Language Arts or Math Smarter Balanced tests meet the graduation requirement.

Approved By: Greg Baker, Superintendent and Kelly Bashaw, School Board President
Signature Date: 27/08/2015
Adopted: 11/18/03
Revised: 08/27/15
Approved: Board Approved
Legal References: Content
 

WAC 180-51-050 – High School Credit–Definition