Section I: parental rights and responsibilities 3 parental involvement 3

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After the ninth grade, students are classified according to the number of credits earned toward graduation.

Credits Earned Classification

5.5 Grade 10 (Sophomore)

12 Grade 11 (Junior)

18 Grade 12 (Senior)


Grading guidelines for each grade level or course will be communicated and distributed to students and their parents by the classroom teacher. These guidelines have been reviewed by each applicable curriculum department and have been approved by the campus principal. These guidelines establish the minimum number of assignments, projects, and examinations required for each grading period. In addition, these guidelines establish how the student’s mastery of concepts and achievement will be communicated (i.e., letter grades, numerical averages, checklist of required skills, etc.). Grading guidelines also outline in what circumstances a student will be allowed to redo an assignment or retake an examination for which the student originally made a failing grade. Procedures for a student to follow after an absence will also be addressed.

State law requires a student’s score on an end-of-course (EOC) assessment to count as 15 percent of the student’s final grade for the course.

Also see Report Cards/Progress Reports and Conferences on page 48 for additional information on grading guidelines. See Graduation below, Course Credit on page 22, and Standardized Testing on page 53 for additional information regarding EOC assessments.


Requirements for a Diploma

To receive a high school diploma from the District, a student must successfully:

Complete the required number of credits;

Complete any locally required courses in addition to the courses mandated by the state; and

Depending on the year in which the student is scheduled to graduate, pass a statewide exit-level exam or achieve the required cumulative scores on end-of-course (EOC) assessments.

The exit-level test, currently required for students in grade 11, covers English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies and requires knowledge of Algebra I and Geometry; Biology and Integrated Chemistry and Physics; English III; and early American and United States History, World History, and World Geography. Students in grade 11 during the 2012–2013 school year must pass the exit-level test to graduate. A student in grade 12 during the 2012-2013 school year who has not passed the exit-level test will have opportunities to retake it.

Also see Standardized Testing on page 57 for more information.

Beginning with students who entered grade 9 in the 2011–2012 school year, EOC assessments are administered for the following courses and replace the exit-level test mentioned above: English I, English II, English III, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, World Geography, World History, and United States History. Students graduating under the Minimum Program must take EOC assessments only for courses in which they are enrolled and for which there is an EOC assessment. Each student will be required to achieve certain scores on the applicable EOC assessments to graduate, depending on the graduation program in which the student is enrolled. A student who has not achieved sufficient scores on the EOC assessments to graduate will have opportunities to retake the assessments.

If a student fails to perform satisfactorily on an EOC assessment, the District will provide remediation to the student in the content area for which the performance standard was not met.

Also see Grading Guidelines above and Standardized Testing on page 53 for more information.

Graduation Programs

The District offers the graduation programs listed below. All students entering grade 9 are required to enroll in the Recommended Program or Advanced/Distinguished Achievement Program. Permission to enroll in the Minimum Program will be granted only if a written agreement is reached among the student, the student’s parent or person standing in parental relation, and the counselor or appropriate administrator. In order for a student to take courses under the Minimum Program, the student must be at least 16 years of age; have completed at least two credits each in English language arts, math, science, and social studies courses that are required for graduation; or have failed grade 9 one or more times. [See Policy EIF(LEGAL).]

Effective with ninth graders in the 2011–2012 school year and thereafter, in addition to the credit and course requirements for each program, performance on EOC assessments will be linked to a student’s graduation program. To graduate, a student must meet a minimum cumulative score set by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for each content area: English, mathematics, science, and social studies. To determine whether the student meets the cumulative score, the student’s EOC assessment scores in each content area will be added together. If the student’s total score on the assessments within the content area is not equal to or greater than the cumulative score set by TEA, the student may retake any of the assessments in that content area until the student achieves the cumulative score. A student who does not make the minimum required score on any individual assessment will be required to retake that assessment.

To graduate on the Recommended Program, a student must perform satisfactorily on the Algebra II and English III EOC assessments, in addition to meeting the cumulative score requirements described above. To graduate on the Advanced/Distinguished Achievement Program, a student must demonstrate advanced academic performance on the Algebra II and English III EOC assessments, commonly referred to as college and career readiness standards, in addition to successfully meeting performance standards on the other EOC assessments. If this standard is not met, the student will graduate under the Recommended Program, regardless of whether the student has met all other requirements for graduation under the Advanced/Distinguished Achievement Program.

All students must meet the following credit and course requirements for graduation under the programs listed:


Number of credits Minimum Program

Number of credits
Recommended Program

Number of credits
Distinguished Achievement Program

English/Language Arts









2 or 3



Social Studies

3 or 4



Physical Education








Language other than English



Fine Arts

1 (effective for grade 9 in 2010–2011 school year and thereafter)




7.5 credits (prior to 2010–2011)

6.5 credits (2010–2011 and thereafter)

5.5 credits

4.5 credits


Completion of 4 Advanced Measures*


26 credits

26 credits

26 credits

* A student who is unable to participate in physical activity due to a disability or illness may be able to substitute a course in English language arts, mathematics, science, or social studies for the required credit of physical education. This determination will be made by the student’s ARD committee, Section 504 committee, or other campus committee, as applicable.

** A student graduating under the Advanced/Distinguished Achievement Program must also achieve a combination of four of the following advanced measures:

  1. An original research project or other project that is related to the required curriculum. These projects must be judged by a panel of professionals or conducted under the direction of a mentor and reported to an appropriate audience. Please note that no more than two of the four advanced measures may be received from this option.

Test data where a student receives:

A score of three or above on an Advanced Placement (AP) exam;

A score of four or above on an International Baccalaureate (IB) exam; or

A score on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) that qualifies the student for recognition as a commended scholar or higher by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation, as part of the National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) of the College Board, or as part of the National Achievement Scholarship Program of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The PSAT/NMSQT score will count as only one advanced measure regardless of the number of honors received by the student.

College academic courses, including those taken for dual credit, and advanced technical courses, including locally articulated courses, provided the student scores the equivalent of a 3.0 or higher.

Information regarding specific courses required or offered in each curriculum area, along with a description of advanced measures available to students in the Advanced/Distinguished Achievement Program from the options listed above, will be distributed to students each spring in order to enroll in courses for the upcoming school year.

Please be aware that not all courses are offered at every secondary campus in the District. A student who wants to take a course not offered at his or her regular campus should contact the counselor about a transfer or other alternatives. If the parents of at least 22 students request a transfer for those students to take a course in the required curriculum other than fine arts or CTE, the District will offer the course for the following year either by teleconference or at the school from which the transfers were requested.

Certificates of Coursework Completion

A certificate of coursework completion will not be issued to a student who has successfully completed state and local credit requirements for graduation but has not yet demonstrated satisfactory performance on the state-mandated tests required for graduation.

Students with Disabilities

Upon the recommendation of the admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee, a student with disabilities who receives special education services may be permitted to graduate under the provisions of his or her IEP.

A student who receives special education services and has completed four years of high school, but has not met the requirements of his or her IEP, may participate in graduation ceremonies and receive a certificate of attendance. Even if the student participates in graduation ceremonies to receive the certificate of attendance, he or she may remain enrolled to complete the IEP and earn his or her high school diploma; however, the student will only be allowed to participate in one graduation ceremony.

[See Policy FMH(LEGAL).]

Please also be aware that if an ARD committee places a student with a disability on a modified curriculum in a subject area, the student will be automatically placed in the Minimum Program, in accordance with state rules.

If a student receiving special education services is scheduled to graduate under the Minimum Program or in accordance with the provisions of his or her IEP, the student’s ARD committee will determine whether the general EOC assessment is an accurate measure of the student’s achievement and progress, and, if so, whether successful performance is required for graduation, or whether an alternative assessment is more appropriate. STAAR Modified and STAAR Alternate are the alternative assessments currently allowed by the state. [See STANDARDIZED TESTING for additional information.] If a student takes the STAAR Modified or STAAR Alternate EOC assessment, the score on the EOC assessment will not be used as 15 percent of the final course grade, and is not required to be used toward the student’s cumulative score for graduation.

Graduation Activities

Graduation activities will include:

    • Baccalaureate

    • Commencement

    • Project Graduation

To participate in the WHS graduation ceremony, a student must have completed all required academic credits and have passed all sections of the state mandated exit-level exam.

Graduation Speakers

Certain graduating students will be given an opportunity to have speaking roles at graduation ceremonies. A student must meet local eligibility criteria, which may include requirements related to student conduct, to have a speaking role.

Students eligible for speaking roles will be notified by the principal and given an opportunity to volunteer.

[For student speakers at other school events, see Student Speakers on page 56.]

[See FNA(LOCAL) and the Student Code of Conduct.]

Graduation Expenses

Because students and parents will incur expenses in order to participate in the traditions of graduation—such as the purchase of invitations, senior ring, cap and gown, and senior picture—both the student and parent should monitor progress toward completion of all requirements for graduation. The expenses often are incurred in the junior year or first semester of the senior year. [See Student Fees on page 32.]

Scholarships and Grants

Students who have a financial need according to federal criteria and who complete the Recommended Program or Advanced/Distinguished Achievement Program may be eligible under the T.E.X.A.S. Grant Program for tuition and fees to Texas public universities, community colleges, and technical schools, as well as to private institutions.

Contact the counselor for information about other scholarships and grants available to students.


[See Dating Violence, Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation on page 25.]

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