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Santa Paula USD |  BP  6146.1  Instruction

High School Graduation Requirements   

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The Board of Education 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)

Course Requirements

To obtain a high school diploma, students shall complete 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) 40 credits

2. Three courses in mathematics (Education Code 51225.3) 30 credits 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) Students may be awarded up to one mathematics course credit for successful completion of an approved computer science course that is classified as a "category c" course based on the "a-g" course requirements for college admission. (Education Code 51225.3, 51225.35)

3. Two courses in science, including one course in biological and one course in physical sciences (Education Code 51225.3) Three courses are recommended. 20 credits

4a. Three courses 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) 30 credits

4b. One semester College and Career Readiness course to be taken in Grade 9 5 credits

5. Two courses in visual or performing arts, foreign language, including American Sign Language. One career technical education (CTE) course may substitute as described below. (Education Code 51225.3) 20 credits One CTE course may be taken in lieu of one course in visual or performing arts or foreign language. For purposes of satisfying the requirement specified in this subparagraph, a course in American Sign Language shall be deemed a course in foreign language. "A course in career technical education" means a course in a district-operated career technical education program that is aligned to the career technical model curriculum standards and framework adopted by the state board, including courses through a regional occupational center or program operated by a county superintendent of schools or pursuant to a joint powers agreement.

6. One semester health course (all students must pass a one-semester health course) 5 credits

7. Two courses in physical education, unless the student has been otherwise exempted pursuant to other sections of the Education Code (Education Code 51225.3) 20 credits

8. Elective courses 60 credits

Total number of credits for graduation: 230

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.

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)

In addition, the district may retroactively grant high school diplomas to: (Education Code 48204.4, 51430, 51440)

1. 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.

2. Former students who were interned by order of the federal government during World War II or who are honorably discharged veterans of World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War, provided that they were enrolled in a district school immediately preceding the internment or military service and did not receive a diploma because their education was interrupted due to the internment or military service in those wars

Deceased former students who satisfy these conditions may be granted a retroactive diploma to be received by their next of kin.

3. Veterans who entered the military service of the United States while in grade 12 and who had satisfactorily completed the first half of the work required for grade 12 in a district school

Honorary Diplomas

The Board may grant an honorary high school diploma 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)


1. The 2.0 GPA Graduation Ceremonies Requirement for Santa Paula High School will be based on a cumulative grade point average of 2.0000 on a 4.0000 scale with an unweighted GPA along with a minimum 230 credits.

2. Students who have met the 230 credits requirement and have met the 2.0 un-weighted GPA on the 4.0 scale will be allowed to participate in the Graduation Ceremonies.

3. Students who have met the 230 credits requirement but have not met the 2.0 un-weighted GPA (0.0 ¬ó 1.9) on the 4.0 scale will not be allowed to participate in the Graduation Ceremonies

4. Each pupil shall be expected to complete 230 high school credits in courses prescribed by the Board of Trustees in order to qualify to receive a diploma from the Santa Paula Unified High School District. The pupil must earn a 2.0 overall unweighted grade point average on a scale of 4.0 GPA for all coursework taken in the district's high school in order to be eligible to participate in graduation ceremonies. This includes all coursework taken outside the district after the first date of enrollment. Courses may be repeated in order to replace a D or F grade for the purpose of meeting graduation requirements. The only coursework that will not be included in the calculation will be:

a. High school work taken outside the district prior to the first date of enrollment in high school in the Santa Paula Unified School District.

A cumulative "Graduation Ceremonies" GPA shall be computed on eight semester grading periods. The second semester of the senior year shall be included when computing the "Graduation Ceremonies" GPA.

Legal Reference:


47612 Enrollment in charter school

48200 Compulsory attendance

48204.4 Parents/guardians departing California against their will

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 Student 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

51225.6 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

4600-4670 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 14, 2019 Santa Paula, California

revised: December 16, 2019