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Graduation Requirements

  1. South Dakota High School Diploma Requirements
    To meet the minimum South Dakota state graduation requirements, students must complete 22 units of credit in accordance with the course requirements as outlined in this policy.
    Students completing high school during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years shall have the option to graduate under the requirements listed under section 1 or section 2 below. Beginning the 2020-21 school year, all students will have a personal learning plan meeting the graduation requirements listed under section 1. During the transition period, each student’s personal learning plan may be adjusted from the requirements below as long as the student’s plan meets the state’s requirements for graduation at the time the student graduates including the use of any applicable waivers.
    1. South Dakota High School Diploma Requirements (applies to all students graduating during the 2020-21 school year and beyond; option for students graduating during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years)

Within Units Required Students must include the following coursework:

Four units of Language Arts Three units of Lab Science: One unit of the following in any combination:
  1. 1 unit of Writing
  2. .5 unit of Speech/ Debate
  3. 1 unit of Literature (including .5 Am. Lit.)

Three units of Mathematics

  1. 1 unit Algebra I
  1. 1 unit Biology
  2. (approved advanced computer science course may sub. for 1 unit, except biology)

Three units of Social Studies

  1. 1 unit U.S. History
  2. .5 unit U.S. Government

Five and one-half units electives

  1. approved Career and Technical Education (CTE)
  2. World Language
  3. Capstone Experience

One unit (1.0) of Fine Arts

One-half (.5) unit of Personal Finance or Economics

One-half (.5) unit of Physical Education

One-half (.5) unit of Health** or health integration**

Within the coursework outlined under South Dakota High School Diploma Requirements, a student may earn one (or more) of the three advanced endorsements that are in alignment with the student’s personal learning plan. Students are not required to earn an endorsement.

  • Advanced Endorsement: Indicates a student has pursued coursework consistent with entrance requirements for postsecondary education at a university.
  • Advanced Career Endorsement: Indicates a student has career experience in a concentrated area, based on academic and/or workplace experience and a related credential.
  • Advanced Honors Endorsement: Indicates a student has pursued advanced rigorous, academic coursework consistent with SDCL §13-55-31.1 (High school course requirements for opportunity scholarship eligibility).

 

Advanced Endorsement
Indicates a student has pursued coursework consistent with entrance requirements for postsecondary education at a university. The Advanced Endorsement does not meet high school course requirements for the opportunities scholarship eligibility. Student cannot substitute a Science unit with advanced computer science course.

Four units of Language Arts Three units of Science One unit of the following in any combination:
  1. 1 unit of Writing
  2. .5 unit of Speech or Debate
  3. 1 unit of Literature (including .5 Am. Lit.)

Three units of Mathematics

  1. 1 unit Algebra I
  2. 1 unit Geometry
  3. 1 unit Algebra II
  1. 1 unit Biology
  2. 2 units other lab sciences

Three units of Social Studies

  1. 1 unit U.S. History
  2. .5 unit U.S. Government

Five and one-half units electives

  1. approved Career and Technical Education (CTE)
  2. World Language
  3. Capstone Experience

One unit (1.0) of Fine Arts

One-half (.5) unit of Personal Finance or Economics

One-half (.5) unit of Physical Education

One-half (.5) unit of Health** or health integration**

 

Advanced Career Endorsement
Indicates a student has career experience in a concentrated area, based on academic and/or workplace experience and related credential.

Four units of Language Arts Three units of Science Two units of the following or a combination of the two:
  1. 1 unit of Writing
  2. .5 unit of Speech or Debate
  3. 1 unit of Literature (including .5 Am. Lit.)

Three units of Mathematics

  1. 1 unit Algebra I
  1. 1 unit Biology

Three units of Social Studies

  1. 1 unit U.S. History
  2. .5 unit U.S. Government

Four and one-half units electives

  1. Approved CTE units from the same career cluster OR
  2. Capstone Experience

AND

Attainment of an industry-recognized credential OR National Career Readiness Certificate of Silver or higher.

One unit (1.0) of Fine Arts

One-half (.5) unit of Personal Finance or Economics

One-half (.5) unit of Physical Education

One-half (.5) unit of Health** or health integration**

Advanced Honors Endorsement
Indicates a student has pursued advanced rigorous, academic coursework consistent with SDCL § 13-55-31.1 (High school course requirements for the opportunity scholarship eligibility) All high school coursework completed with a “C” or higher. Student cannot substitute a Science unit with advanced computer science course.

Four units of Language Arts Four units of Science Two units of the following or a combination of the two:
  1. 1 unit of Writing
  2. .5 unit of Speech or Debate
  3. 1.5 unit of Literature including .5 Am. Lit.
  4. .5 unit Lang. Arts elective

Four units of Mathematics

  1. 1 unit Algebra I
  2. 1 unit Geometry
  3. 1 unit Algebra II
  4. 1 unit Advanced Math
  1. 1 unit Biology
  2. 1 unit any Physical Science
  3. 1 unit Chemistry or Physics
  4. 1 unit Science electives

Three units of Social Studies

  1. 1 unit U.S. History
  2. .5 unit U.S. Government
  3. .5 unit Geography
  4. .5 unit World History
  5. .5 unit Social Studies elective

Two and one-half units electives

  1. approved Career and Technical Education (CTE)
  2. OR
  3. Modern or classical Language (including U.S. Sign Language); units must be in the same language

One unit (1.0) of Fine Arts

One-half (.5) unit of Personal Finance or Economics

One-half (.5) unit of Physical Education

One-half (.5) unit of Health** or health integration**

 

2. South Dakota High School Diploma Requirements (alternative option for students graduating during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years)

A student’s Personal Learning Plan must document a minimum of 22 credits that include the following:

Four units of Language Arts Three units of Lab Science One unit of the following in any combination:
  1. 1.5 units of Writing
  2. 1.5 units of Literature; must include .5 unit of American Literature
  3. .5 unit of Speech or Debate
  4. .5 unit Language Arts elective

Three units of Mathematics

  1. 1.0 unit of Algebra I
  2. 1.0 unit of Algebra II*
  3. 1.0 unit of Geometry*
  1. 1.0 unit of Biology
  2. 1.0 unit of any physical science
  3. 1.0 unit of Chemistry or Physics*

Three units of Social Studies

  1. 1.0 unit of U.S. History
  2. .5 unit of U.S. Government
  3. .5 unit of World History
  4. .5 unit of Geography
  5. .5 unit selective
  1. approved Career and Technical Education (CTE)
  2. Capstone Experience or Service Learning
  3. World Language

One unit (1.0) of Fine Arts One-half (.5) unit of Personal Finance or Economics

One-half (.5) unit of Physical Education

One-half (.5) unit of Health** or health integration**

* With school and parent/guardian approval, a student may waive this course in favor of a more appropriate course. A student may waive Algebra II or Geometry; the student cannot waive both. A student is still required to take three units of Math. If a student waives Chemistry or Physics, the student must still take three units of Lab Sciences.

** Students will be required to take .5 unit of health at any time grades 6-12. Students completing at least .5 units of health in middle school will have met the high school graduation requirement, a notation will be made on the transcript and high school credit will not be awarded.

Students will be required to take one credit from a menu of courses that includes career and technical education, world language and a capstone experience or service learning. Core content credit may be earned through an approved Career and Technical Education course.

A student identified as limited English proficient may be excused from taking required units of credit if the student’s parent or legal guardian and school counselor or administrator agree and the waiver is documented.

Additional requirements for the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship are noted in the High School Course Selection Guide.

Definitions:
Personal learning plan - a plan based on a student’s skills and interests that identifies the specific coursework a student needs to reach the student’s academic and career goals.

Service learning - Service learning is a meaningful and relevant activity that addresses needs important to the community being served. Students explore the context of societal issues relevant to the service.

Capstone experience - a culminating high school experience designed to integrate knowledge, skills, and concepts gained from a student’s program of study. Capstone experiences include:

  1. Senior experience that requires students to complete a research project, design and develop a product, assemble a portfolio, and complete an oral presentation before a panel;
  2. Entrepreneurship experience that requires students to research a new business opportunity, develop a business plan, assemble a portfolio, and complete an oral presentation before a panel;
  3. Youth internship that allows students to gain hands-on experience at a business, develop employability skills, learn technical skills, and complete a portfolio; and
  4. Preapprenticeship, a contractual partnership between an employer and a student that allows students to gain initial training in a particular industry and formal classroom-related instruction.

B. Credit by Exam (Course Equivalency Exam)

For courses approved by the Department of Education through a waiver process initiated by the District, the District will offer credit by exam.

Tests will be developed around course standards and the student must pass the exam with at least 85 % proficiency on the first attempt for credit to be issued. Credit may be included on the student transcript as a "pass" grade only upon achieving 85% proficiency or above and may not be calculated as a part of a student's cumulative grade point average. Failed attempts on the course equivalency exam may not be included on a student's transcript and may not be calculated as a part of a student's cumulative grade point average. If a student wishes to have a letter grade for the test out included on the student's transcript as a means of scholarship eligibility or entrance into a postsecondary institution, a formal request may be made to the school to have a course grade included. The course grade is a letter grade assigned by the District that corresponds to the student's test score on the course equivalency exam. The course grade may not be calculated as a part of the student's cumulative grade point average. A roster of participants, including the students' name, grade in school, district attendance center, and percentage on the completed exam before the start of the next school year will be reported to the Department of Education. The District will proctor and score the exam.

All credits received by exam will apply toward the 22 credit requirement.

C. Transfer Credits

Transfers from Accredited Schools

A student transferring into the District will be awarded credit for any courses taken from any school accredited by the South Dakota Department of Education or by the regional accrediting agencies. The credit will be accepted towards a specific graduation requirement if the state code matches, or if a course content analysis is completed and the content of the course taken matches the District’s adopted curriculum standards. The curriculum standards are available on the District’s website.

One or more graduation requirements may be waived for senior students transferring from another state, who have met the standards in that state, and who are unable to meet the graduation requirements set by the South Dakota because of time and scheduling constraints but not due to course failure.

Dual Credit Opportunities

Students seeking dual credit to apply towards both high school graduation and credit to an institution of higher education or a post-secondary technical institute must first obtain permission from the Building Principal/Program Administrator prior to enrolling in the course(s). If approved, the course will be recorded on the student’s transcript and the course score shall be used to calculate academic standing. The credit will be accepted towards a specific graduation requirement if a course content analysis is completed and the content of the course taken matches the District’s adopted curriculum standards, otherwise the credit shall be accepted as an elective.

Transfers from Unaccredited Schools or Alternative Instruction

Placement and awarding of credit will be as determined by Policy JG – “Transfers from Non-Accredited Schools.”

Credits received outside the school term

Credits earned by a student for courses taken from another school and outside the regular school term will be accepted if the outside school is accredited by the South Dakota Department of Education, or the regional accrediting agencies, and the student notifies a school counselor of the credits sought prior to taking the course.

The credit will be accepted towards a specific graduation requirement if the state code matches or if a course content analysis is completed and the content of the course taken matches the District’s adopted curriculum standards. The curriculum standards are available on the District’s website. Otherwise, the credits earned by the student for the transfer courses will count as elective credits. The school shall notify the student in writing to explain the reason the credits will not count towards a specific graduation requirement and provide the student a copy of this policy and the applicable curriculum standards.

Credits received from certified treatment centers

Credits earned by a student while participating in a certified treatment center, if not accredited by the South Dakota Department of Education, or by the regional accrediting agencies, shall be reviewed by the Director of Curriculum and Instructional Services, or designee, to determine whether the credits can be accepted, or whether the student should follow the procedure for transfers from non-accredited school.

Credits received from institutions outside the United States

Student transcripts received from institutions outside the United States will be translated if necessary. A course content analysis will be completed and credits will be awarded accordingly.

D. Advanced Placement Scholar Diploma

The Sioux Falls School District will award an Advanced Placement Scholar Diploma to all students meeting the following criteria:

  • earned an overall grade point average of 3.5 at the end of the first semester of their senior year.
  • passed advanced placement classes in three out of four disciplines offering advanced placement courses.
  • attempted at least three advanced placement examinations.

If high school students take an advanced placement exam and receive a score of three or higher, it counts as one of the three exams needed, even if they were not enrolled in the advanced placement course.

Students will be recognized at graduation and will have the distinction noted on their diplomas and transcripts.

E. Courses for High School Credit Prior to Ninth Grade

Students who take high school courses prior to ninth grade will receive high school credit within the subject area if the course is taught by a teacher with applicable certification, it meets the seat time requirements. Upon successful passage of the course, the letter grade will be posted on the student’s transcript and the course will be calculated as part of the student’s cumulative grade point average. A roster of participants, including the students’ name, grade in school district attendance center will be reported to the Department of Education before the start of the following school year.

F. Graduation – Special Education Students

The School Board is committed to all students taking courses that challenge their individual skills. It also recognizes the District’s responsibility to provide a free appropriate public education to each student with disabilities based on their individual needs. The Individual Education Plan (IEP) teams will develop a course of study for each student with an IEP to be reviewed a minimum of annually. The course of study will outline the student’s coursework toward the South Dakota High School Diploma Requirements and inform decisions based on the individual student’s needs including measurable postsecondary goals. The IEP team will determine, document, and ensure parent is informed at least one year in advance that the student will graduate with a regular diploma or continue eligibility for special education services until the earlier of when the student completes his/her secondary school program or the 30th of June following the student’s 21st birthday. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) does not guarantee that every student with a disability will receive a regular high school diploma.

G. Graduation Ceremony and Diploma

The School District is committed to acknowledging academic achievement and to awarding a high school diploma to those students who have completed the required coursework for high school graduation. High school students with sixteen credits at the end of the first semester of their senior year may participate in the graduation ceremony. Extenuating circumstances may be appealed to the Superintendent according to Policy KE Public Concerns and Complaints.

Each school will be responsible for setting dress and decorum standards for graduates participating in the graduation ceremony. Students are permitted to wear traditional tribal regalia or objects of cultural significance, to be limited to an eagle feather or eagle plume.

Other Related Policies/Regulations:

IKA/IKA-R – Grading/Recovery Systems
JG – Transfers from Non-Accredited Schools

 

Legal References:

SDCL
13-27-3 Child excused if provided alternative instruction
13-33-19 Recommended high school program and basic high school program
13-33-30 Accredited schools required to accept transfer credits for courses taken from other accredited schools outside regular school term—Conditions
13-55-31.1 High school course requirements for opportunity scholarship eligibility

ARSD
24;05:27:12 Graduation requirements
24:43:08:12 Adding waived course credits to high school transcripts
24:43:11:01 Number of required credits for graduation from high school – personal learning plan required
24:43:11:02 Specific units of credit required for high school graduation
24:43:11:07 Required high school unit offerings
24:43:11:09 Course equivalency exam

 

Regulation   Board Action (formerly 5127)
Approved: 05-28-68 13052  
Amended: 11-18-74 15965  
Amended: 07-23-79 18419  
Amended: 03-09-81 19522  
Amended: 05-02-83 20808  
Amended: 12-10-84 21808  
Amended: 12-11-89 25127J  
Revised: 11-25-96 28662  
Revised: 04-13-98 29031  
Revised: 09-10-01 29943  
Revised: 03-10-03 33466  
Revised: 03-14-05 34058  
Revised: 05-08-06 34412  
Revised: 05-10-06 34421  
Revised: 03-24-08 35002  
Revised: 11-23-09 35554  
Revised: 08-12-13 36694  
Revised: 10-12-15 37307  
Revised: 11-14-16 37631  
Revised: 10-08-18 38137
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