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San Mateo Un HSD |  BP  6146.1  Instruction

High School Graduation Requirements   

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The Board of Trustees desires to prepare all students to obtain a high school diploma so that they can 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)

Graduation Requirements: Total Credits - Comprehensive High School students/High School Diploma

All graduates must complete a minimum of 220 credits of course work.

Specific Courses

English - 40 credits

Social Studies - 35 credits which shall include:

* Modern World History I or European History I AP (10 credits)

* Contemporary World Studies (5 credits) or Ethnic Studies (5 credits)

* United States History I (10 credits)

* American Government (5 credits)

* Economics (5 credits)

Physical Education - 20 credits

There is required enrollment in physical education, during grade 9. The balance of the credits shall be taken in grade 10 or may be deferred to grade 11 or 12 based upon student need.

Science - 20 credits

Including 10 credits biological science and 10 credits physical science, of which 10 credits must meet the "d" requirement on the University of California "a-g" list.

Mathematics - 30 credits

Including Algebra I. Any course below the level of Algebra I does not receive high school math credit.

Mathematics Waiver of Requirement

If a student has passed AP Calculus and the Advanced Placement test and has otherwise met the state requirement for two years of mathematics in high school, the third year district mathematics requirement shall be waived.

World Language Waiver of Requirement

Any student who enters the district with an English proficiency designation of N or L may have the World Language requirement waived. They will not receive credits for the waiver. All other EL students will need to fulfill the World Language requirement for high school graduation. World Language 10 credits to be completed by the end of Grade 10.

Arts: Fine and Performing - 10 credits anytime in grades 9-12.

Career Technical Education (CTE) - 10 credits anytime in grades 9-12

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.

Health - 5 credits

Elective Credits - 40 credits

No more than 30 credits of School Community Service/Work Experience will be allowed toward the 220 minimum credits required for a diploma; and no more than one School Community Service/Work Experience can be taken during any given semester without the approval of the Principal.

Graduation Requirements: Total Credits - Adult School Students/Adult School Diploma

All graduates must complete a minimum of 200 credits of course work.

Specific Courses

English - 40 credits

Social Studies - 30 credits which will include:

* Modern World History I (10 credits)

* United States History I (10 credits)

* American Government (5 credits)

* Economics (5 credits)

Physical Education

Physical Education is not required for an Adult School Diploma per state regulations.

Science - 20 credits which will include:

* Physical Science (10 credits)

* Biological Science (10 credits)

Mathematics - 30 credits

Including 10 credits of Algebra I.

Health - 5 credits

Elective Credits - 75 credits, including, but not limited to, courses in:

* World Languages

* Fine/Performing Arts

Graduation Ceremony Participation

A student who intends to participate in the annual June graduation ceremony shall so indicate to the school's administration.

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, former juvenile court school student, or child of a military family 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. 6173.2 - Education of Children of Military Families)

Optional Five-Year Program for ELD I Students

Given the district graduation requirements, the San Mateo Union High School District makes available a five-year high school program option for some students who enter district schools with no English proficiency (ELD I). The most salient feature of this five-year path is that it offers students an additional year to acquire the English they need and to take the classes required for graduation that they are unable to access as they learn English in ELD I classes.

When an ELD I student enters the district, counselors should create a graduation plan to determine if the student will need a 5th year to graduate. Counselors will create individual learning plans for qualifying students that will be reviewed on an annual basis to assess progress toward graduation. Each student's plan will list the coursework and the sequence necessary to meet District graduation requirements prior to the student's 19th birthday. When a student is approaching 18 years of age and is not behaving appropriately and/or advancing towards graduation, counselors will use these reviews to discuss options for alternative education programs.

All students who are placed on the Five year Plan will still have the option of completing their graduation requirements in four years.

Retroactive Diplomas

Any student who completed grade 12 in the 2003-04 through 2014-15 school year and 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)

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. A deceased former student who satisfies these conditions may be granted a retroactive diploma to be received by his/her 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)

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

551225.6 Compression-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation

51228 Graduation requirements

51240-51246 Exemptions from requirements

51250-51251 Assistance to military dependents

51410-51413 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

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 23, 2018 San Mateo, California