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Newport-Mesa USD |  BP  6146.1  Instruction

High School Graduation Requirements   

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The Board of Education is dedicated to the concept that each student's educational progress and qualifications for graduation be judged on his/her competency and capacity to learn and make reasonable progress in designated skill and knowledge areas. In addition, successful completion of course and course unit equivalents and length of time for instruction will be required.

Graduation will be authorized by the Board and a diploma will be granted to all students who have acquired 230 units of credit from the adopted Course of Study during grades 9-12, and met all other specific graduation requirements listed below.

The 230 units of credit shall include the following:

Subject/Credits/Specific Requirements

English 40 Credits

1. Must be enrolled in a content-standards based English course every semester of high school attendance.

2. A maximum of 30 credits may be earned by passing English Language Development (ELD) courses.

3. 10 of the 40 credits must be satisfied by passing Composition-Literature 4AB or equivalent.

Math 20 Credits

1. Successful completion of Math 1 (Algebra content) is required for graduation from high school.

2. Passing Math 1 or Enhanced Math 1 prior to high school attendance fulfills the Math 1 (Algebra content) requirement but no high school credit will be granted.

Applied Skills 5 Credits

1. Applied skills includes any course that is part of a Career Technical Education (CTE) pathway, an occupation related course, ROP courses, or a third year of higher level Science or Math with 10 credits minimum.

Science 20 Credits

1. 10 credits in Life Science, and

2. 10 credits in Physical Science

Humanities 10 Credits

World Languages, Visual or Performing Arts

1. World Languages,

2. American Sign Language,

3. Communication Skills/Speech,

4. Visual or Performing Arts.

Social Studies 30 Credits

1. One year of World History or European History;

2. One year of United States History;

3. One semester of American Democracy and one semester of Economics

Health Education 5 Credits

1. Includes all State requirements.

Physical Education 20 Credits

1. Must be enrolled in physical education in the first two semesters of high school.

2. The remaining two semesters may be taken at any time during grades 10, 11, or 12.

Electives 80 Credits

1. Additional courses taken in required areas beyond the required credits will automatically be counted as electives.

Experiential Learning Project:

Effective 2017-18, with the entering freshman class, the Experiential Learning Project (ELP) will culminate in the senior year and offer the student an opportunity to explore an area of passion or interest that connects their learning to experiences outside of the classroom. The ELP may begin at any time in a student's high school career, but must be completed in their senior year. Each student shall have an approved advisor/mentor who will guide students through their experiential project journey. The advisor/mentor could be a counselor, teacher, classified employee, administrator or a person mutually agreed to by the student and the school. All mentors will be required to comply with the District's volunteer process.

Project Requirements:

1. Students will complete a minimum of 20 "ELP hours" by their senior year. This will be agreed to by the student and their advisor, counselor or designated instructor and will demonstrate learning connected to the student's college and/or career goals, their coursework and/or the Demonstration/Performance Requirement. (See requirements 7, 8, 9)Each school will record the ELP hours completed by each of their students as part of the student's coursework and/or the Demonstration/Performance Requirement. (See requirements 7, 8, 9)

2. Work should be completed outside the school day. Students may use compensated work (such as a part-time job) for the Demonstration/Performance Requirement with prior approval of their advisor, counselor or designated instructor. (See requirements 7, 8, 9) With special permission and under certain circumstance, students may do experiential learning during the school day and on a school campus.

3. Work to help family members or other relatives will require approval by the school's administration or designee to qualify for the Demonstration/Performance Requirement.

4. The parent of each student must complete a district approval/liability waiver form.

5. Students may receive credit for services they are already performing for non-profit agencies with site principal or designee approval.

6. The ELP will culminate in a project, demonstration or exhibition, inclusive of the following elements:

a. A written assignment correlated with the project, demonstration or exhibition.

b. An oral presentation focusing on the project, demonstration or exhibition.

7. Each school will establish and publish specific parameters consistent with Board policy and administrative regulations for the ELP. The school site parameters for the completion of the project will be governed by site specific, District and Board approved rubrics.

8. Each school shall develop procedures for the approval of project activities. Project activities may include, but are not limited to, service-based learning, internships, applicable work experience, and ROP coursework.

Alternate Ways to Meet Graduation Requirements

1. Alternate ways to meet graduation requirements will be accepted if the course of study includes the State subject content standards and has been adopted by the Board of Education.

2. Requests to meet graduation requirements through alternative course work must be approved in advance.

Total Credits = 230

The Superintendent or designee shall exempt or waive specific course requirements for foster youth, homeless students or children of military families in accordance with Education Code 51225.3 and 49701.

(cf. 6173 - Education for Homeless Children)

(cf. 6173.1 - Education for Foster Youth)

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

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

51228 Graduation requirements

51240-51246 Exemptions from requirements

51250-51251 Assistance to military dependents

51410-51412 Diplomas

51420-51427 High school equivalency certificates

51450-51455 Golden State Seal Merit Diploma

51745 Independent study restrictions

56390-56392 Recognition for educational achievement, special education

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


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: July 5, 2017 Costa Mesa, California