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Newport-Mesa USD |  BP  6146.1  Instruction

High School Graduation Requirements   

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Cautionary Notice: As added and amended by SBX3 4 (Ch. 12, Third Extraordinary Session, Statutes of 2009) and ABX4 2 (Ch. 2, Fourth Extraordinary Session, Statutes of 2009), Education Code 42605 grants district flexibility in "Tier 3" categorical programs. The Newport-Mesa Unified School District has accepted this flexibility and thus is deemed in compliance with the statutory or regulatory program and funding requirements for these programs for the 2008-2009 through 2012-2013 fiscal years. As a result, the district may temporarily suspend certain provisions of the following policy or regulation that reflect these requirements. For further information, please contact the Superintendent or designee.

The Governing Board 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, met all other specific graduation requirements listed below, and who have successfully passed the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE).

The 230 units of credit shall include the following:

Subject/Credits/Specific Requirements

English 40 Credits

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

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

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

Math 20 Credits

* Successful completion of first-year Algebra is required for graduation from high school.

* Passing Algebra prior to high school attendance fulfills the Algebra requirement but no high school credit will be granted.

Applied Skills 5 Credits

* 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 Science or Math with 10 credits minimum.

Science 20 Credits

* 10 credits in Life Science, and

* 10 credits in Physical Science

Humanities 10 Credits

World Languages,

Visual or Performing Arts

* World Languages,

* American Sign Language,

* Communication Skills/Speech,

* Visual or Performing Arts.

Social Studies 30 Credits

Must include the following:

* One year of World History or European History;

* One year of United States History;

* One semester of American Democracy and one semester of Economics

Health Education 5 Credits

* Includes all State requirements.

Physical Education 20 Credits

* Must be taken in the first two semesters of high school.

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

Electives 80 Credits

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


* Beginning with the graduating class of 2015, this requirement may only be met by passing the Technology Literacy Assessment test.

* For the graduating Classes prior to the class of 2015, this requirement may be met by completion of a course (minimum 1 quarter), demonstration, or by passing the Technology Literacy Assessment test.

* Passing the Technology Literacy Assessment test prior to entering high school fulfills this requirement.

Community Service (See Exhibit E(2) 6146.1)

The community service requirement must include at least the following components:

* At least 40 service hours in total (recommended that students do 10 hours each year.)

* Each school will record the community service hours completed by each of their students.

* Work must be done for a non-profit organization.

* All work will be completed outside the school day, and students may not receive classroom or academic credit or monetary compensation.

* Work to help family members or other relatives does not qualify as district community service.

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

* Students may receive credit for services they are already performing for non-profit agencies.

Project Demonstration/Performance Requirement (See Exhibit E(1) 6146.1)

The Senior Project requirements must include at least the following components:

* The Senior Project will affirm attainment of the school ESLRs and culminate in the senior year.

* The Senior Project will include a "hands-on" project, demonstration, or exhibition.

* The Senior Project will include a written assignment correlated with the project, demonstration, or exhibition.

* The Senior Project will include an oral presentation focusing on the project, demonstration, or exhibition.

* Each school will establish and publish specific parameters for the Senior Projects.

* Each school shall develop procedures for the approval of project activities.

Alternate Ways to Meet Graduation Requirements

* 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.

* 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 or children of military families in accordance with Education Code 51225.3 and 49701.

(cf. 6173.1 - Education for Foster Youth)

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

High School Exit Examination

As a condition of high school graduation, each student completing grade 12 shall have successfully passed the state exit examination in language arts and mathematics unless he/she receives a waiver or exemption. (Education Code 60851, 60859)

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

(cf. 6159 - Individualized Education Program)

(cf. 6162.52 - High School Exit Examination)

Supplemental instruction shall be offered to any student in grade 7-12 who does not demonstrate "sufficient progress," as defined in BP 6179 - Supplemental Instruction, toward passing the exit exam. (Education Code 37252, 60851)

(cf. 5148.2 - Before/After School Programs)

(cf. 6176 - Weekend/Saturday Classes)

(cf. 6177 - Summer School)

(cf. 6179 - Supplemental Instruction)

Students who have not passed one or both parts of the exit exam by the end of grade 12 shall have the opportunity to receive intensive instruction and services for up to two consecutive academic years after completion of grade 12 or until they have passed both parts of the exam, whichever comes first. (Education Code 37254)

(cf. 1312.4 - Williams Uniform Complaint Procedures)

(cf. 5145.6 - Parental Notifications)

(cf. 6164.2 - Guidance/Counseling Services)

Legal Reference:


35186 Williams Uniform Complaint Procedures

37252 Supplemental instructional programs

37254 Supplemental instruction based on failure to pass exit exam by end of grade 12

37254.1 Required student participation in supplemental instruction

47612 Enrollment in charter school

48200 Compulsory attendance

48412 Certificate of proficiency

48430 Continuation education schools and classes

48645.5 Acceptance of coursework

49701 Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children

51224 Skills and knowledge required for adult life

51224.5 Algebra instruction

51225.3 Requirements 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

52378 Supplemental school counseling program

56390-56392 Recognition for educational achievement, special education

60850-60859 High school exit examination

66204 Certification of high school courses as meeting university admissions criteria


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, California High School Exit Examination:


adopted: February 23, 2010 Costa Mesa, California