IKF – High School Graduation

High School Graduation 

Students earn a high school diploma through the successful completion of a course of study that includes the 26 subject credits and/or related competencies required by the District for graduation. Methods for earning credit are outlined in Board policy IK, while competencies are defined in Board policy ILBAA.

This policy outlines the specific requirements before a student will receive a diploma or other graduation credential.  The Board reserves the right to impose additional academic requirements necessary to graduate and or receive a diploma.

A. Credit Requirements

  1. Awarding of Credit. Credit will be awarded in accordance with Board policy IK, Earning of Credit. Additionally, a unit of credit or fraction thereof shall be given upon satisfactory completion of a course or learning experience in compliance with the district-specified curriculum and assessment standards. In some cases, course credit may also be awarded based on demonstrated mastery of the required competencies for the course. Assessment of mastery will be the responsibility of the Principal, and will be in accordance with Board policy ILBAA, High School Competency Assessments.  Credit will be awarded only once for a specific required course with the same content during the secondary school experience.
  2. Required Subjects and Credits.  A minimum of twenty-six (26) credits are required to graduate and earn a high school diploma, as outlined below. Effective starting with the class of 2023.
English 4 credits
Social Studies (including 1 in US History, .5 in US/NH Gov., .5 in Economics, 1 in Global Studies) 3 credits
Science (1 in Biological, 1 in Physical) 3 credits
Mathematics (including Algebra I)* 4 credits
Physical Education 1 credit
Health 1 credit
Digital Literacy/Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) .5 credit
Arts Education .5 credit
Elective Offerings 9 credits
Total: 26 credits

*Starting with the Class of 2023, students must complete 4 credits of Math, including Algebra I. Students must also be enrolled in a math class every semester until the Algebra I requirement is met. Students who have successfully completed the Algebra I credit prior to entering high school will be deemed to have met the Algebra I requirement. The Algebra I requirement may be waived by the Special Education Director through the IEP process.

  1. Alternative Credit Options. The Principal may approve the granting of credit earned through alternative methods outside of regular classroom-based instruction. Such alternative methods of instruction may include extended learning opportunities, distance education, alternative learning plans, or others approved by the Superintendent or designee. Awarding of credits to be applied toward high school graduation requirements will be determined by the high school Principal on a case-by-case basis. Such credit will be granted pursuant to the provisions of Board policy IMBC, Alternative Credit Options and other applicable Board policies.

B. Passage of Civics Exam

The district will develop a competency assessment of United States government and civics, consistent with pertinent and applicable law.  This assessment will be administered to students as part of the high school course in history and government of the United States and New Hampshire.  Students must attain a passing grade on this assessment to be eligible to receive a high school diploma or other graduation certificate.

Effective for students graduating in 2024, the district will also administer the 128 question civics (history and government) naturalization examination developed by the 2020 United States Citizen and Immigration Services (“U.S. Citizenship Test”). This exam may be modified for a student with a disability in accordance with the student’s individualized education program. Students must earn a grade of 70 percent or better to be eligible to receive a high school diploma or other graduation certificate.

Under RSA 189:11, II, the Superintendent will submit the composite results of either the locally developed civics competency assessment or the U.S. Citizenship Test to the N.H. Department of Education.

C. Federal Student Aid Application

Effective starting with the Class of 2024, as a requirement for receiving a high school diploma, each student who is at least 18 years of age or legally emancipated, or the parent/guardian of such a student who is under 18 years of age, shall either:

  1. file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with the U.S. Department of Education; or
  2. file a waiver on a form created by the N.H. Board of Education with the District indicating that the parent/guardian or, if applicable, the student, understands what FAFSA is and has chosen not to file an application.

The District shall provide to each student and, if applicable, the parent/guardian, any support or assistance necessary to comply with the requirement above.

The District shall award a high school diploma to any student who is unable to meet the requirement above if the student has met all other graduation requirements and the building Principal attests that the District has made a good faith effort to assist the student or parent/guardian in filing an application or waiver.

The Board supports early graduation as a means to earn a high school diploma (see Board policy IKFA.  Parental involvement for students under the age of 18 is required.  The high school principal shall approve such requests if he/she determines that all state and local graduation requirements will be met and that early graduation is related to career and/or educational plans of the student making the request.  Upon approval by the high school principal, the minimum 4-unit requirement per year for enrolled students shall be waived and the student shall be awarded a high school diploma.

D. Alternative Learning Plans

As an alternative to satisfying the provisions of this policy and related State requirements, students may also graduate from high school and obtain either a high school diploma or its equivalent by participating in an alternative learning plan or program. The provisions of Board policy IHBI, Alternative Learning Plans, shall apply in such an event.


Legal References:

RSA 189:11
RSA 193:26-a, Graduation Requirements: Free Application for Federal Student Aid
N.H. Dept. of Education Administrative Rule – Ed 306.27

Category: R

See also ILBAA, IMBC

1st Reading: February 1, 2022
2nd Reading: February 15, 2022
Adoption: February 15, 2022