5460 graduation requirements



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Policy 5460 Page of

5460 - GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS


It shall be the policy of the School Board to acknowledge each student's successful completion of the instructional program appropriate to the achievement of District goals and objectives as well as personal proficiency by the awarding of a diploma.


The Board shall award a standard high school diploma to every student enrolled in this District who meets the requirements of graduation established by this Board or who properly completes the goals and objectives specified in their individualized education program (I.E.P.) including either the exemption from or the requirement to complete the State-mandated tests and the recommendation of the I.E.P. Team.
Commencement exercises will include only those students who have successfully completed requirements for:
A. a standard high school diploma
B. a special diploma (applies only to students entering the tenth, eleventh, or twelfth

grade as of July 1, 2014)


C. or a certificate of completion for graduation as certified by the high school principal and accepted by the student. If the student does not accept the certificate of completion the student may continue their enrollment in accordance with the terms of the Code of Student Conduct.
No student who has completed the requirements for graduation shall be denied a diploma as a disciplinary measure. A student may be denied participation in the graduation ceremony based on misconduct.
The Board also shall grant an adult education diploma to all District residents over the age of sixteen (16) who have legally left a K-12 program and met the requirements established by the State Board of Education.
GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS: HIGH SCHOOL
Graduation Defined
Graduation from a District high school implies that students have satisfactorily completed the prescribed high school core curriculum in accordance with the provisions of Board policy and that they have satisfactorily passed any examinations and other requisites set by the State Board of Education and the Board. High school credits earned in grades 7 and 8 will apply to graduation requirements and may be used for acceleration of graduation.
Standard Diploma Requirements for On-Time (4 year) or Early Graduation (fewer than 4 years)
A. Number of Credits Required for Graduation

The minimum number of credits required for graduation from high school is twenty-four (24). As provided in s. 1003.4281, F.S. early high school graduation options for students allow any student who has completed a minimum of 24 credits and meets other graduation requirements as specified in s. 1003.428, F.S. shall be able to graduate from high school in fewer than eight semesters or the equivalent. Parents of students who are eligible to graduate early will be notified of their student’s early graduation eligibility. Students who graduate early will be able to continue to participate in school and social events, including graduation ceremonies, as part of the student’s original cohort group. Eligible students who graduate early will continue to be included with their cohort group in final class ranking, honors designations upon graduation, and eligibility for valedictorian and salutatorian honors. Eligible students who graduate midyear during their 4th year of high school may receive a Bright Futures Scholarship award during their spring term as outlined in Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program.


Students who entered high school prior to the 2013-2014 school year: Students may also select the three (3) year eighteen (18) credit standard college preparatory program or three (3) year eighteen (18) credit career preparatory program (for eighteen (18) credit options see GPA Requirement and Accelerated Graduation). Students who entered high school in the 2013-2014 school year and subsequent years may select the new eighteen (18) credit ACCEL graduation option. Students in their third year of an eighteen (18) credit option program may participate in senior activities directly related to graduation.

1. Graduation Program Options

a. twenty-four (24) credit program

b. three (3) year eighteen (18) credit standard college preparatory program (For students who entered high school before the 2013-2014 school year)


c. three (3) year eighteen (18) credit career preparatory program (For students who

entered high school before the 2013-2014 school year)
d. eighteen (18) credit ACCEL graduation option (For students who entered high school during the 2013-2014 school year and subsequent years)

2. Selection of a Graduation Program Option

a. Students make their initial selection of a graduation program option while in 8th grade during the spring high school registration process. Students may elect to change this option at anytime through 12th grade.

3. Procedure for Changing the Graduation Program Option


a. Students may elect to change this option at anytime through 12th grade.

4. For students who chose the three (3) year eighteen (18) credit option programs (college

or career preparatory) before the 2013-2014 school year, failure to complete the eighteen (18) credit graduation program within three (3) years automatically reverts students to the twenty-four (24) credit graduation program option or the eighteen (18) credit ACCEL option.

B. Specific Credit Requirements for 24 Credit Graduation Option – See F.S. 1003.4282


1.Students entering their first year of high school in the 2010-2011 school year, specific course requirements for the 24 credit graduation option include:

a. Sixteen (16) core curriculum credits:

1) English – Four (4) credits in English, with major concentration in composition, reading for information, and literature.

2) Mathematics – Four (4) credits in mathematics, one (1) of which must be Algebra I, or a series of courses equivalent to Algebra I, and one (1) of which must be Geometry or its equivalent.

3) Science – Three (3) credits in science, two (2) of which must have a laboratory component. For students entering 9th grade in the 2011-2012 school year, Biology must be one of the three required science courses.

4) Social Studies – Three (3) credits in social studies as follows: one (1) credit in United States history; one (1) credit in world history; one-half (1/2) credit in economics with financial literacy; and one-half (1/2) credit in United States government.


5) Fine or Performing Arts – One (1) credit in fine or performing arts, which may include speech and debate as well as many practical arts classes.

6) Physical Education/Health – One (1) credit in Health Opportunities through Physical Education (HOPE) to include integration of health. Participation in an interscholastic sport at the junior varsity or varsity level for two (2) full seasons shall satisfy the one (1) credit requirement in physical education if the student passes a competency test on personal fitness with a score of “C” or better. The competency test on personal fitness must be developed by the Department of Education. A school may not require that the one (1) credit in physical education be taken during the 9th grade year. Completion of two (2) years in a Reserve Officer Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) class, a significant component of which is drills, shall satisfy the one (1) credit requirement in physical education and the one (1) credit requirement in performing arts. This credit may not be used to satisfy the personal fitness requirement or the requirement for adaptive physical education under an individual education plan (IEP) or 504 plan.


b. A minimum of eight (8) credits in elective courses selected by the student as part of the education plan.

Elective courses are selected by the student in order to pursue a complete education program to meet eligibility requirements for scholarships.


2. Students entering their first year of high school in the 2011-2012 or in the 2012-2013 school years, specific course requirements for the 24 credit graduation option include:


a. Sixteen (16) core curriculum credits:

1) English – Four (4) credits in English Language Arts with major concentration in composition, reading for information, and Literature.

2) Mathematics – Four (4) credits in mathematics, one (1) of which must be Algebra I, or a series of courses equivalent to Algebra I, and one (1) of which must be Geometry or its equivalent. Industry certifications that lead to college credit may substitute for up to two mathematics credits (except for Algebra I and Geometry)
3) Science – Three (3) credits in science, one of which must be biology and two (2) of which must have a laboratory component. An industry certification that leads to college credit substitutes for up to one science credit (except for Biology I)

An identified rigorous Computer Science course with a related industry

Certification substitutes for up to one science credit (except for Biology I).

4) Social Studies – Three (3) credits in social studies as follows: one (1) credit in United States history; one (1) credit in world history; one-half (1/2) credit in economics with financial literacy; and one-half (1/2) credit in United States government.


5) Fine or Performing Arts – One (1) credit in fine or performing arts, which may include speech and debate as well as many practical arts classes.

6) Physical Education/Health – One (1) credit in Health Opportunities through Physical Education (HOPE) to include integration of health. Participation in an interscholastic sport at the junior varsity or varsity level for two (2) full seasons shall satisfy the one (1) credit requirement in physical education if the student passes a competency test on personal fitness with a score of “C” or better. The competency test on personal fitness must be developed by the Department of Education. A school may not require that the one (1) credit in physical education be taken during the 9th grade year. Completion of two (2) years in a Reserve Officer Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) class, a significant component of which is drills, shall satisfy the one (1) credit requirement in physical education and the one (1) credit requirement in performing arts. This credit may not be used to satisfy the personal fitness requirement or the requirement for adaptive physical education under an individual education plan (IEP) or 504 plan.


7) Students entering 9th grade in 2011-2012 and subsequent years, must earn at least one-half (0.5) credit in a course delivered through a virtual environment. The course may be worth one-half credit (0.5), or one (1) full credit, but it must be a complete course earned in a virtual environment. As per Section 33 – s. 1003.4282, F.S., an

online driver education course may meet this virtual requirement.


b. A minimum of eight (8) credits in elective courses selected by the student as part of the education plan.

Elective courses are selected by the student in order to pursue a complete education program to meet eligibility requirements for scholarships.

3. Students entering their first year of high school in the 2013-2014 and in subsequent school years, specific course requirements for the 24 credit graduation option include:
a. Sixteen (16) core curriculum credits:

1) English – Four (4) credits in English Language Arts. ELA honors, Advanced Placement (AP), Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE), International Baccalaureate (IB) and dual enrollment courses may satisfy this requirement.


2) Mathematics – Four (4) credits in mathematics, one (1) of which must be Algebra I, or a series of courses equivalent to Algebra I, and one (1) of which must be Geometry or its equivalent. Industry certifications that lead to college credit may substitute for up to two mathematics credits (except for Algebra I and Geometry).
3) Science – One of which must be Biology I, two of which must be equally rigorous science courses. Two of the three required credits must have a laboratory component. An industry certification that leads to college credit substitutes for up to one science credit (except for Biology I). An identified rigorous Computer Science course with a related industry certification substitutes for up to one science credit (except for Biology I).

4) Social Studies – Three (3) credits in social studies as follows: one (1) credit in United States history; one (1) credit in world history; one-half (1/2) credit in economics with financial literacy; and one-half (1/2) credit in United States government.


5) Fine or Performing Arts – One (1) credit in fine or performing arts, which may include speech and debate as well as many practical arts classes.

6) Physical Education/Health – One (1) credit in Health Opportunities through Physical Education (HOPE) to include integration of health. Participation in an interscholastic sport at the junior varsity or varsity level for two (2) full seasons shall satisfy the one (1) credit requirement in physical education if the student passes a competency test on personal fitness with a score of “C” or better. The competency test on personal fitness must be developed by the Department of Education. A school may not require that the one (1) credit in physical education be taken during the 9th grade year. Completion of two (2) years in a Reserve Officer Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) class, a significant component of which is drills, shall satisfy the one (1) credit requirement in physical education and the one (1) credit requirement in performing arts. This credit may not be used to satisfy the personal fitness requirement or the requirement for adaptive physical education under an individual education plan (IEP) or 504 plan.

7) Students entering 9th grade in 2011-2012 and subsequent years, must earn at least one-half (0.5) credit in a course delivered through a virtual environment. The course may be worth one-half credit (0.5), or one (1) full credit, but it must be a complete course earned in a virtual environment. As per Section 33 – s. 1003.4282, F.S., an online driver education course may meet this virtual requirement.

b. A minimum of eight (8) credits in elective courses selected by the student as part of

the education plan.

Elective courses are selected by the student in order to pursue a complete education program to meet eligibility requirements for scholarships.

4. Level 1 Courses, Remedial Courses, Non-academic Activities and Community Service Work

a. Level 1 Courses: A student will not be placed in a Level 1 course for graduation credit unless the student's assessment indicates that a more rigorous course of study is inappropriate to meet the student's needs. A written assessment of the need must be included in the student's Progress Monitoring Plan or IEP.

b. Remedial Courses: Remedial instruction provided during high school may not be in lieu of English and mathematics credits required for graduation.
c. High school students who score at Level 1 or Level 2 on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) 2.0 for Reading are required to complete an intensive reading course. Students in grades 6-12 who score at Level 1 or Level 2 on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) 2.0 for Reading and do not need instruction in decoding and text reading efficiency (foundational reading skills) may receive reading remediation through a content area course with a Reading Certified/Endorsed, Content Area Reading Professional Development (CAR-PD) qualified, or Next Generation Content Area Reading Professional Development (NGCAR-PD) qualified teacher in which remediation strategies are incorporated into course content delivery. Those students who qualify for content reading remediation must also have an approved Secondary Individual Literacy Improvement Plan in place, and data must be available to show that students who scored at Level 1 or Level 2 do not have decoding or text reading efficiency issues based on district placement criteria.
d. Nonacademic Activities: Credit for high school graduation may be earned for volunteer activities and nonacademic activities that have been approved by the State Board of Education.

e. Community Service Work: Students may earn credit towards graduation by completing voluntary community service work or school service work. Creditmay be earned by passing a one-half (1/2) credit elective social studies course and/or a one-half (1/2) credit elective course as designated by the District. Students must complete seventy-five (75) hours of service for each one-half (1/2) credit and meet other procedures established by the District. Community service credits may not be used for acceleration of graduation. The community service project site will be selected (within the District procedures) by the student. Each participating student must meet the community service requirements specified in F.S. 1003.43(1)(k). Credit may not be earned for community service provided as a result of court action. (See also Florida's Bright Futures Scholarship Program)

C. Career and Technical Education Course Substitutions to Fulfill Graduation Requirements

1. Students may substitute equally rigorous (EQ) career/technical courses and/or industry certifications for which there is a statewide articulation agreement (Gold Standard) for mathematics and/or science courses (NOT Algebra I, Geometry or Biology).


See Appendix for a complete list of course substitutions.

D. CAPE Industry Certification

1. All high school students will have the opportunity to earn at least one industry certification validating proficiency of certain technical skills. Technical skills validated at the high school level are associated with career skills mastered in a specialized career/collage preparation program. Students qualifying for Exceptional Student Education services will have CAPE industry certifications to be obtained prior to graduation included in his/her IEP.

F.S. 1003.4203

E. Return on Investment for Industry Certification

1. Students who earn an industry certification that articulates for postsecondary credit will realize a cost savings in tuition and fees related to the postsecondary program. The scope of industry certifications earning articulated credit changes annually as additional articulation agreements are established. The most current list of articulated postsecondary credit can be found at the Florida Department of Education web page. http://www.fldoe.org/workforce/dwdframe/artic_indcert2aas.asp

F.S. 1003.02 (1)(j)

F. Exceptional Student Requirements

Exceptional students must meet the requirements outlined for high school students in the general education program to earn a standard diploma. Additional policies pertaining to exceptional student education are located in the District's Special Programs and Procedures for Exceptional Students Handbook as referred in Exceptional Student Education. Access to a standard diploma for any exceptional student means that:

1. Exceptional students may enroll in any general education or exceptional student education course that is described in the District Course Code Directory to meet graduation requirements. Courses with special diploma performance standards will count only as elective credit toward a standard diploma.

2. Course accommodations are provided as needed in regular and vocational courses as specified on the Individual Education Plan (IEP). Accommodations cannot change course performance standards.

3. Test accommodations for classroom, District and State test administration procedures are provided as needed in regular and vocational courses as specified on the Individual Education Plan (IEP).



4. Exceptional students (except gifted, vision impaired, or speech impaired only) may pursue a special diploma if they were entering the tenth, eleventh, or twelth grade and identified as pursuing a special diploma by July 1, 2014, and they meet the state exemption requirements, as specified on their IEP. Annual parental consent must be obtained in order to administer the alternate assessment in accordance with s.1008.22, FS and for the provision of instruction in state standards access points’ curriculum. This decision is reviewed at least annually by the IEP team. The decision may be changed, understanding that it may increase the amount of time required prior to graduation.
5. As of July 1, 2014, all students, with the exception of students identified in number four above, must pursue either a standard diploma or a certificate of completion. Prior to the age of 16 the intent to pursue a Scholar or Merit designation pursuant to s. 1003.4285 must be determined.

Requirements for a Standard Diploma for Exceptional Students

In accordance with s.1003.4282 (11), F.S., beginning with students entering grade nine (9) in the 2014-2015 school year, the following requirements for a standard diploma apply for a student with a disability.

    1. A parent of the student with a disability shall, in collaboration with the individual education plan (IEP) team during the transition planning process pursuant to s. 1003.5716, F.S., declare intent for the student to graduate from high school with either a standard high school diploma or a certificate of completion. A student with a disability who does not satisfy the standard high school diploma requirements in this section shall be awarded a certificate of completion.

    2. The following options, in addition to the other options specified in this section, may be used to satisfy the standard high school diploma requirements, as specified in the student’s individual education plan:

      1. For a student with a disability for whom the IEP team has determined that the Florida Alternate Assessment is the most appropriate measure of the student’s skills:

        1. A combination of course substitutions, assessments, industry certifications, other acceleration options, or occupational completion points appropriate to the student’s unique skills and abilities that meet the criteria established by State Board of Education rule.

        2. A portfolio of quantifiable evidence that documents a student’s mastery of academic standards through rigorous metrics established by State Board of Education rule. A portfolio may include, but is not limited to, documentation of work experience, internships, community service, and postsecondary credit.

      2. For a student with a disability for whom the IEP team has determined that mastery of academic and employment competencies is the most appropriate way for a student to demonstrate his or her skills:

        1. Documented completion of the minimum high school graduation requirements, including the number of course credits prescribed by rules of the State Board of Education.

        2. Documented achievement of all annual goals and short- term objectives for academic and employment competencies, industry certifications, and occupational completion points specified in the student’s transition plan. The documentation must be verified by the IEP team.

        3. Documented successful employment for the number of hours per week specified in the student’s transition plan, for the equivalent of one (1) semester, and payment of a minimum wage in compliance with the requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

        4. Documented mastery of the academic and employment competencies, industry certifications, and occupational completion points specified in the student’s transition plan. The documentation must be verified by the IEP team, the employer, and the teacher. The transition plan must be developed and signed by the student, parent, teacher, and employer before placement in employment and must identify the following:

          1. The expected academic and employment competencies, industry certifications, and occupational completion points;

          2. The criteria for determining and certifying mastery of the competencies;

          3. The work schedule and the minimum number of hours to be worked per week; and

          4. A description of the supervision to be provided by the school district.

      3. Any change to the high school graduation option specified in the student’s IEP must be approved by the parent and is subject to verification for appropriateness by an independent reviewer selected by the parent as provided in s.1003.572, F.S.

    3. A student with a disability who meets the standard high school diploma requirements in this section may defer the receipt of a standard high school diploma if the student:

      1. Has an individual education plan that prescribes special education, transition planning, transition services, or related services through age twenty-one (21); and

      2. Is enrolled in accelerated college credit instruction pursuant to s. 1007.27, F.S., industry certification courses that lead to college credit, a collegiate high school program, courses necessary to satisfy the Scholar designation requirements, or a structured work-study, internship, or preapprenticeship program.

    4. The repeal of s. 1003.438, F.S., effective July 1, 2015, does not apply to a student with a disability as defined in s. 1003.438, F.S., whose individual educational plan, as of June 20, 2014, contains a statement of intent to receive a special diploma. Such student shall be awarded a special diploma in a form prescribed by the Commissioner of Education if the student meets the requirements specified in s. 1003.438, F.S., and in effect as of June 20, 2014. Any such student who meets all special requirements of the district school board in effect as of June 20, 2014, but who is unable to meet the appropriate special state minimum requirements in effect as of June 20, 2014, shall be awarded a special certificate of completion in a form prescribed by the Commissioner of Education.

G. Progress Toward Graduation in High School

1. Progress toward graduation in grades 9-12 shall be based on passing the assessments required by the State Board of Education, including assessments that measure proficiency on the Florida Standards and End of Course (EOC) Assessments as outlined in the Statewide Assessment Program section below, mastery of core subject matter courses by earning the required credits each year toward the required twenty-four (24) credits, or the Accelerated eighteen (18) credits, and earning the required cumulative unweighted 2.0 GPA. Students progress through high school each year at their own pace. Some students will accelerate their coursework to graduate early, and some students will be required to engage in credit recovery during the school year, or during Summer Bridge, to ensure on-time promotion to the next grade level . When a student accumulates a minimum of seventeen (17) high school credits, has not failed to earn credit in more than 3 core courses, and completes three (3) full years of high school, senior or 12th grade status will be granted. 12th grade students who have failed 1 or more core courses in previous years will be required to participate in credit recovery during the school year in order to meet graduation requirements by the end of their senior school year.

2. Students who do not score proficient on the State Board of Education’s assessments for the Florida Standards in English Language Arts or the End of Course (EOC) Algebra assessment , will receive remediation through placement in courses required by statute and/or identified by the district for this purpose. Additional diagnostic assessments aligned to state assessments will be administered to monitor progress toward proficiency on these required graduation assessments.

3. No students may be assigned to a grade level based solely on age or other factors that constitute social promotion.
H. Full Time Enrollment Requirement in Regular Schedule High School

Students shall be enrolled full time according to their school’s master schedule during a school calendar year. A school calendar year includes first semester, second semester, and coursework completed prior to July 1st of each year. Students may earn credits in the regular high school program, including Pinellas Virtual School, Florida Virtual School, and additional credits in the Extended Learning Program, adult school, or college dual credit. A student may also earn credit in a regionally accredited public or private summer term program. During a grading period, a student must be enrolled in and attending at least four (4) courses at the high school in order to be a District student. Home education students may not enroll in more than three (3) courses (see also Policy 9270  Home Education).

Credits earned in summer term, the Extended Learning Program, Pinellas Virtual School, the Florida Virtual School, college dual credit or adult school may be used for the purpose of accelerating graduation.
I. Credit Requirements for Students Transferring from Out of State

If a student enters from out-of-state with fewer than six (6) credits, but is classified as a tenth grade student, the student must earn eighteen (18) additional credits to graduate. If a student enters from out-of-state with fewer than twelve (12) credits but is classified as an eleventh grade student, the student must earn twelve (12) additional credits to graduate; these credits must include as many required subjects as possible in order to give greater emphasis to the academic subjects. If a student enters from out-of-state with fewer than eighteen (18) credits but is classified as a twelfth grade student, the student must earn six (6) additional credits to graduate; these credits must include as many required subjects as possible in order to give greater emphasis to the academic subjects. For each such student transferring from out-of-state, "OUT-OF-STATE TRANSFER" should be entered in the comment section of the student academic history screen to explain the possibility of a student's graduating with fewer than the regularly required number of credits for graduation. (See also Acceptance of Credits).


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