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Hayward USD |  BP  6146.1  Instruction

High School Graduation Requirements   

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The Governing Board desires to prepare all students to obtain a high school diploma to enable them to take advantage of opportunities for postsecondary education and employment.

(cf. 5127 - Graduation Ceremonies and Activities)

(cf. 5147 - Dropout Prevention)

(cf. 6011 - Academic Standards)

(cf. 6143 - Courses of Study)

(cf. 6146.3 - Reciprocity of Academic Credit)

Course Requirements

To obtain a high school diploma, students shall complete at least the following courses in grades 9-12, with each course being one year unless otherwise specified:

1. Four courses in English (Education Code 51225.3)

(cf. 6142.91 - Reading/Language Arts Instruction)

2. Three courses in mathematics (Education Code 51225.3)

At least one mathematics course shall meet or exceed state academic content standards for Algebra I. Completion of such coursework prior to grade 9 shall satisfy the Algebra I requirement, but shall not exempt a student from the requirement to complete three mathematics courses in grades 9-12. (Education Code 51224.5)

3. Three courses in science, including one course in life science and one course in physical science (Education Code 51225.3)

(cf. 6142.93 - Science Instruction)

4. Three courses in social science, including one course in World History, one course in US History, one semester course in American Government, and one semester course in Economics. (Education Code 51225.3)

(cf. 6142.3 - Civic Education)

(cf. 6142.94 - History-Social Science Instruction)

5. Three courses in Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA), World Language, including American Sign Language, or Career Technical Education (CTE) . Must earn credits in two of the three areas. (Education Code 51225.3)

To be counted towards meeting graduation requirements, a CTE course shall be aligned to the CTE model curriculum standards and framework adopted by the State Board of Education.

(cf. 6142.2 - World/Foreign Language Instruction)

(cf. 6142.6 - Visual and Performing Arts Education)

(cf. 6178 - Career Technical Education)

(cf. 6178.2 - Regional Occupational Center/Program)

6. Two courses in physical education, unless the student has been otherwise exempted pursuant to other sections of the Education Code. One year of this requirement must be taken during 9th grade. (Education Code 51225.3)

(cf. 6142.7 - Physical Education and Activity)

7. One semester course in Health Education.

Because the prescribed course of study may not accommodate the needs of some students, the Board shall provide alternative means for the completion of prescribed courses in accordance with law.

(cf. 6146.11 - Alternative Credits Toward Graduation)

(cf. 6146.2 - Certificate of Proficiency/High School Equivalency)

(cf. 6146.4 - Differential Graduation and Competency Standards for Students with Disabilities)

Three types of requirements must be successfully completed by a student prior to Graduation from high school.

Credit Requirements

1. Comprehensive High School

A student must earn 220 units to be eligible to receive a diploma of graduation from a comprehensive high school.

2. Continuation High School

A student must earn 190 units to be eligible to receive a diploma of graduation from a continuation high school.

Curriculum Requirements

During the process of earning the required number of units for high school graduation, a student must meet the following minimum curriculum requirements during grades 9 through 12:

1. Earn 40 units of English credit.

To fulfill this requirement, students must be enrolled in an English class each year they are attending high school. Only courses that cover the guidelines for English classes will count towards fulfilling this requirement. These guidelines will require instruction in the areas of grammar, vocabulary and spelling; reading and literature; writing and composition; and speaking and listening skills. All courses approved for English credit will be part of a skill based sequential curriculum.

2. Earn 30 units of Mathematics credit.

To fulfill this requirement, the 30 units must include 10 units in Algebra.

3. Earn 30 units of Science credit.

To fulfill this requirement, students must earn a total of 10 units of credit in a physical science course, a total of 10 units in a life science course, and a total of 1 0 units of credit in an additional science course.

4. Earn 30 units of Social Science credit.

To fulfill this requirement, students must earn a total of 10 units of credit in United States History; a total of 10 units of credit in World History; and a total of 10 units of credit from American Government, Civics, and Economics.

5. Earn 20 units of Fine Arts, Vocational, or Foreign Language credit.

To fulfill this requirement, students must earn a total of 10 units of credit in two of the following three areas: Fine Arts, Vocational or Foreign Language.

6. Earn 20 units of Physical Education credit.

One year of this requirement must be completed during the ninth grade. The second year of this requirement can be completed in grades 10, 11 or 12.

If not enrolled in physical education, students in grades 10 or 11 will enroll in a full schedule of classes, as defined by the high school of attendance.

7. Earn 5 units of Health Education credit.


Students will be limited to no more than 10 units per year during grades 10-12, with a maximum of 20 units during high school from the following combination of non-subject matter offerings:

Applied Office Practice

Teacher Assistant

Laboratory Assistant

School Service

1. Only students who have successfully completed the credit and curriculum requirements prior to graduation ceremonies will be allowed to participate in these ceremonies.

2. Student receiving an F grade in the spring semester of their senior year because of insufficient work due to excessive absences from class may not be allowed to participate in the graduation ceremonies.

a. Parents/guardians and students will be notified in writing by mail of this requirement.

b. Notification must allow students sufficient time to make up missed work in order to receive a passing grade.

Exemptions and Waivers

A foster youth, homeless student, or former juvenile court school student who transfers into the district any time after completing his/her second year of high school shall be required to complete all graduation requirements specified in Education Code 51225.3 but shall be exempt from any additional district-adopted graduation requirements, unless the Superintendent or designee makes a finding that the student is reasonably able to complete the requirements in time to graduate by the end of his/her fourth year of high school. Within 30 days of the transfer, any such student shall be notified of the availability of the exemption and whether he/she qualifies for it. (Education Code 51225.1)

(cf. 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedures)

(cf. 5145.6 - Parental Notifications)

(cf. 6173 - Education for Homeless Children)

(cf. 6173.1 - Education for Foster Youth)

(cf. 6173.3 - Education for Juvenile Court School Students)

In addition, the Superintendent or designee shall facilitate the on-time graduation of children of military families by waiving specific course requirements for graduation if the student has satisfactorily completed similar coursework in another district. (Education Code 49701)

(cf. 6173.2 - Education for Children of Military Families)

Retroactive Diplomas

Until July 31, 2018, any student who completed grade 12 in the 2003-04 school year or a subsequent school year and has met all applicable graduation requirements other than the passage of the high school exit examination shall be granted a high school diploma. (Education Code 60851.6)

Legal Reference:


47612 Enrollment in charter school

48200 Compulsory attendance

48412 Certificate of proficiency

48430 Continuation education schools and classes

48645.5 Acceptance of coursework

48980 Required notification at beginning of term

49701 Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children

51224 Skills and knowledge required for adult life

51224.5 Algebra instruction

51225.1 Exemption from district graduation requirements

51225.2 Pupil in foster care defined; acceptance of coursework, credits, retaking of course

51225.3 High school graduation

51225.35 Mathematics course requirements; computer science

51225.36 Instruction in sexual harassment and violence; districts that require health education for graduation

51225.5 Honorary diplomas; foreign exchange students

51225.6 Compression-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation

51228 Graduation requirements

51240-51246 Exemptions from requirements

51250-51251 Assistance to military dependents

51410-51412 Diplomas

51420-51427 High school equivalency certificates

51430 Retroactive high school diplomas

51440 Retroactive high school diplomas

51450-51455 Golden State Seal Merit Diploma

51745 Independent study restrictions

56390-56392 Recognition for educational achievement, special education

60850-60859 High school exit examination

60851.5 Suspension of high school exit examination

60851.6 Retroactive diploma; completion of all graduation requirements except high school exit examination

66204 Certification of high school courses as meeting university admissions criteria

67386 Student safety; affirmative consent standard


1600-1651 Graduation of students from grade 12 and credit toward graduation

4600-4687 Uniform complaint procedures


O'Connell v. Superior Court (Valenzuela), (2006) 141 Cal.App.4th 1452

Management Resources:



California Department of Education, High School:

University of California, List of Approved a-g Courses:


adopted: August 3, 1992 Hayward, California

revised: June 25, 2001

revised: August 22, 2001

revised: April 18, 2018