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Novato USD |  BP  6146.1  Instruction

High School Graduation Requirements   

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The Board of Education desires to prepare each student to obtain a high school diploma because graduation from high school provides students with opportunities for postsecondary education and/or employment,

The Board of Education strongly encourages all students to complete the high school requirements that meet the college entrance requirements for the University of California and California State University (A-G requirements).

The Superintendent shall insure that parents are properly notified of these graduation requirements and will establish procedures for students and parental counseling in instances where a student is not making timely progress toward meeting graduation requirements.

(cf. 1203.3 - School-Based Student Motivation and Maintenance Program)

(cf. 5123 - Promotion/Acceleration/Retention)

(cf. 5127 - Graduation Ceremonies and Activities)

(cf. 5147 - Dropout Prevention)

(cf. 5149 - At-Risk Students)

(cf. 6164.2 - Guidance/Counseling Services)

(cf. 6146.5 - Elementary/Middle School Graduation Requirements)

Course Requirements

To obtain a diploma of graduation from high school, students shall complete at least the following courses in grades 9 through 12, with each course being one year unless otherwise specified: (Education Code 51225.3)

1. Four years in English (Education Code 51225.3)

(cf. 6142.91-Reading/Language Arts)

2. Two years in mathematics (Education Code 51225.3)

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

(cf. 6142.92-Mathematics Instruction)

(cf. 6152.1 - Placement in Mathematics Courses)

3. Two years in science, including biological and physical sciences (Education Code 51225.3)

(cf. 6142.93-Science Instruction)

4. Three years in social studies, including United States history and geography; world history, culture and geography; a one-semester course in American government and civics; and a one-semester course in economics (Education Code 51225.3)

(cf. 6142.3 - Civic Education)

(cf. 6142.94 - History-Social Science Instruction)

5. One year in visual or performing arts, world language, Career Technical Education or American Sign Language (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 years in physical education (unless the student has been exempted pursuant to other sections of the Education Code (Education Code 51225.3)

(cf. 6142.7-Physical Education)

(cf. 6142.1 - Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention Instruction)

(cf. 6142.4 - Service Learning/Community Service Classes)

(cf. 6142.8 - Comprehensive Health Education)

Additional Course Requirements Beyond State Requirements (Education Code 51225.3)

7. One freshman course in health education (semester course). (Parents may opt out of the full course.)

(cf. 6142.1 - Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention Instruction)

(cf. 6142.4 - Service Learning/Community Service Classes)

(cf. 6142.8 - Comprehensive Health Education)

8. One freshman course in College and Career Readiness, Get Focused¬ÖStay Focused! (semester course).

9. One additional year of Career Technical Education or practical arts or visual or performing arts or world language for a total of two years.

10. One additional year in science, including biological and physical sciences for a total of three years.

All students in grades 9 through 12 shall complete the Novato Unified School District course of study in order to receive a diploma of graduation. (Education Code 51225.3) This course of study includes the additional Board requirements as listed for a total of 220 units.

State Requirements

English - 4 years

NUSD Board Requirements - 4 years/40 credits

Mathematics - 2 years including Algebra I

NUSD Board Requirements - 2 years/20 credits

*In addition, students must meet content standards for Algebra I (Education Code 51224.5)

Science - 3 years

NUSD Board Requirements - 3 years/ 30 credits (include Biological and physical Sciences)

Social Science - 3 years

Including United States History and geography; world history, culture and geography; a one semester course in American Government and Civics, and a one semester course in economics

NUSD Board Requirements - 3 years/30 credits

Visual or performing arts - 2 years of either visual or performing arts, world language, Career Technical Education or American Sign Language

NUSD Board Requirements - 2 year/20 credits

Physical Education - 2 years (Unless student exempted pursuant to Education Code 5124.1)

NUSD Board Requirements - 2 years/20 credits

Required Electives:

Health - 0 - (Opt out available for this course)

NUSD Board Requirements - 1/2 year/5 credits

Get Focused Stay Focused

NUSD Board Requirements - 1/ 2 year/5 credits


NUSD Board Requirements - 5years/50 credits

NUSD Board Requirements Total- 220 Credits

(cf. 5118 - Transfers)

(cf. 5125 - Student Records)

(cf. 6011 - Academic Standards)

(cf. 6146.3 - Reciprocity of Academic Credit)

Students in grades 9-12 shall be enrolled in at least five courses each semester or the equivalent number of courses per quarter. This requirement shall not apply to pupils enrolled in regional occupational programs, courses at accredited postsecondary educational institutions, independent study, special education programs where the student's individualized program (IEP) establishes a different number of courses, continuation education classes, approved work experience education programs, or any other course of study authorized by the Board which is equivalent to the approved high school course of study. (Education Code 46145)

Algebra I Content Standards

As a condition of high school graduation, each student completing grade 12 shall have successfully completed Algebra I (or its equivalent). (Education Code 51224.5)

Community Service Requirements:

All students will complete 40 hours of approved community service learning. Students must also successfully complete all required documentation and reflective writing based upon their community service experience.

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

(cf. 6159 - Individualized Education Program)

(cf. 6177 - Summer School)

(cf. 6176 - Weekend/Saturday Classes)

(cf. 6177 - Summer School)

(cf. 6179 - Supplemental Instruction)

(cf. 1312.4 - Williams Uniform Complaint Procedures

(cf. 5145.6 - Parental Notifications)

(cf. 6164.2 - Guidance/Counseling Services

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)

Exemptions and Waivers

A foster youth, homeless student, or former juvenile court school student, child of a military family, migrant student, or newly arrived immigrant student participating in a newcomer program who transfers into the district any time after completing the 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

The district may retroactively grant a high school diploma to any student who completed grade 12 in the 2003-04 through 2014-15 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 51413)

In addition, the district may retroactively grant high school diplomas to persons who departed California against their will while in grade 12 and did not receive a diploma because the departure interrupted their education, provided that they were in good academic standing at the time of the departure

Persons may be considered to have departed California against their will if they were in custody of a government agency and were transferred to another state, were subject to a lawful order from a court or government agency that authorized their removal from California, were subject to a lawful order and were permitted to depart California before being removed from California pursuant to the lawful order, were removed or were permitted to depart voluntarily pursuant to the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, or departed due to other circumstances determined by the district that are consistent with the purposes of Education Code 48204.4.

In determining whether to award a diploma under these circumstances, the Superintendent or designee shall consider any coursework that may have been completed outside of the United States or through online or virtual courses.

The district may retroactively grant a high school diploma to a former student who was interned by order of the federal government during World War II or who is an honorably discharged veteran of World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War, provided that he/she was enrolled in a district school immediately preceding the internment or military service and he/she did not receive a diploma because his/her education was interrupted due to the internment or military service. (Education Code 51430)

In addition, the Board may retroactively grant a diploma to a deceased former student who satisfies the above conditions. The diploma shall be received by the deceased student's next of kin. (Education Code 51430)

In addition, the district may grant a diploma to a veteran who entered the military service of the United States while he/she was a district student in grade 12 and who had completed the first half of the work required for grade 12. (Education Code 51440)

Honorary Diplomas

The Board may grant honorary high school diplomas to: (Education Code 51225.5)

1. An international exchange student who has not completed the course of study ordinarily required for graduation, and who is returning to the home country following the completion of one academic school year in the district

(cf. 6145.6 - International Exchange)

2. A student who is terminally ill

The honorary diploma shall be clearly distinguishable from the regular diploma of graduation awarded by the district. (Education Code 51225.5)

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

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: April 6, 2010 Novato, California

revised: October 1, 2013

revised: November 1, 2016

revised: May 2, 2017

revised: February 12, 2019