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Viewing Policy: BP 6146.1 – High School Graduation Requirements


Board Policy 6146.1: High School Graduation Requirements

Original Adopted Date: 05/11/2006 | Last Revised Date: 11/30/2017 | 6/10/2021



The San Benito County Board of Education (Board) desires to prepare all students to successfully complete the high school course of study and obtain a diploma that represents their educational achievement and increases their opportunities for postsecondary education and employment.

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. Three courses in English (Education Code 51225.3)


  1. Two courses in mathematics (Education Code 51225.3)

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)


  1. Two courses in science, including biological and physical sciences (Education Code 51225.3)


  1. 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)
  2. One course in visual or performing arts, world language, or career technical education (CTE). For purposes of this requirement, a course in American Sign Language shall be deemed a course in world language.  (Education Code 51225.3)

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.  (Education Code 51225.3)


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

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.

Exemptions from SBCOE-Adopted Graduation Requirements

San Benito County Office of Education (SBCOE) Alternative Education students are required to complete graduation course requirements specified above, including the requirements imposed by Education Code 51225.3 and those adopted by the Board. However, a foster youth, homeless student, former juvenile court school student, child of a military family, or migrant student who transfers into the SBCOE or between SBCOE schools any time after completing the second year of high school, or a newly arrived immigrant student who is in the third or fourth year of high school and is participating in a newcomer program, shall be exempted from any graduation requirements adopted by the Board that are in addition to statewide course requirements. This exemption shall not apply if 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 the fourth year of high school. Within 30 days of the transfer or of the commencement of participation in a newcomer program, as applicable, the Superintendent or designee shall notify any eligible student of the availability of the exemption and whether the student qualifies for it.  (Education Code 51225.1)

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 SBCOE may retroactively grant high school diplomas to former students who:  (Education Code 48204.4, 51430, 51440)

  1. 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 SBCOE 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.


  1. Were interned by order of the federal government during World War II or are honorably discharged veterans of World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War, provided that they were enrolled in a SBCOE 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.


  1. Are 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 SBCOE school
  2. Were in their senior year of high school during the 2019-20 school year, were in good academic standing and on track to graduate at the end of the 2019-20 school year as of March 1, 2020, and were unable to complete the statewide graduation requirements as a result of the COVID-19 crisis





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 student’s home country following the completion of one academic school year in the SBCOE


  1. A student who is terminally ill

The honorary diploma shall be clearly distinguishable from the regular diploma of graduation awarded by the SBCOE. (Education Code 51225.5)