Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

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Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

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It is the policy of the Highline School Board to award a regular high school diploma to every student enrolled in the district who meets the district’s graduation requirements.  Only one diploma will be awarded with no distinctions being made between the various programs of instruction that may have been pursued.  Graduation requirements in effect when a student first enrolls in high school shall be in effect until that student graduates unless such period is in excess of ten years. 

Graduation requirements comprise three areas:  mandatory minimum credit requirements or specific competency/proficiency requirements for credit waiver schools; required state assessments or exams; and other state-required activities.

 I. Credit Based Graduation Requirements

a. Minimum Credit Requirements

Highline Public Schools has established the following credit requirements to ensure that all graduates are ready for postsecondary success upon graduation; the district will establish a process for determining proficiency/mastery for credit-bearing courses of study.


Credits Required


English/Language Arts





Courses are algebra 1 + geometry + either algebra 2 or a 3rd credit of math that is based on a career oriented program of study identified in the student’s HSBP and the student, parent/guardian and school representative meet, discuss the plan, & sign the consent form.



Two of the three science credits must be lab science courses.


Social Studies


1 credit of US history; 1 credit of contemporary world history, geography, and problems (or an equivalent course); 0.5 civics; 0.5 social studies elective. 




One of the two credits may be a Personalized Pathway Requirement -   (PPR).


Health & Fitness


1.5 Fitness and 0.5 Health.  One class must include training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use of automatic external defibrillators (AED).


Career & Technical Education (CTE)


Beginning with the class of 2016, CTE courses that are locally determined to be equivalent to non-CTE courses may be used to meet two graduation requirements.


World Language


One or two credits may be a Personalized Pathway Requirement (PPR).





Total Credits Required


(Note: Highline Public Schools received a two-year temporary waiver from high school graduation requirements from the State Board of Education and began implementing the “Career- and College-Ready Graduation Requirements” with the class of 2021.) 

b.  High School Credit Earned in Middle School
Unless requested by the student and their family,  a student who has completed high school courses while in middle school shall be given high school credit towards fulfilling graduation requirements if:

                                          i.    The course was taken with high school students and the student successfully passed the same course requirements and examinations as the high school students enrolled in the class; or

                                        ii.    The course taught at the middle school level has been determined by the district to be similar or equivalent to a course taught at the high school level.


c.  High School Credit Earned Outside of Highline Public Schools
Under certain circumstances, students may earn credit from other agencies or online programs.  Upon request, a student who has completed courses outside of Highline Public Schools may receive credit for those courses if:

                                          i.    A student may receive up to 4 credits from outside agencies or programs (World Language credits by proficiency are not included in the total of 4 allowed)

                                        ii.    The student must receive approval from the Principal or designee in advance if the course is not from an accredited institution or organization


d.  International Baccalaureate Programme Diploma
A student who fulfills the requirements of the International Baccalaureate Programme (IB) offered at Mount Rainier High School is considered to have met the state high school graduation credit requirements so long as the student:

                                          i.    Will receive a certificate of academic achievement by earning the appropriate number of credits required by the district;

                                        ii.    Completes a high school and beyond plan;

                                       iii.    Meets the reading, writing, and math standards on the state assessment; and

                                       iv.    Fulfills the requirements of an International Baccalaureate Programme. This means the student has fulfilled all requirements of an IB Diploma which includes completing and passing all required International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme courses as scored at the local level; passing all internal assessments as scored at the local level; successful completion of all required projects and products as scored at the local level; and completion of the final examinations administered by the International Baccalaureate Organization in each of the required subjects under the Diploma Programme.

II. Graduation Requirements for Credit Waiver Schools

Big Picture and Maritime High Schools have a credit waiver from the State Board of Education, meaning that students do not accrue credits towards graduation.  Therefore, alternative graduation metrics are being identified as evidence that students have mastered their subjects and are ready to graduate.

 a.     Maritime High School

Maritime High School has a competency-based approach and is open to all students in the district.  To graduate from Maritime High School students must complete the instructional sequence in one of three focus areas; show advanced mastery of the seven MHS competencies; and complete a portfolio defense as a culmination of their learning.  Details about these requirements can be found by contacting Maritime High School.

b.    Big Picture High School

Big Picture High School has a competency-based approach and is open to all students in the district.  This school has a non-traditional approach to grading and learning, as compared to other district high schools.  Details about Big Picture’s approach can be found by contacting the school.

III. State Required Assessments or Exams
Each student must attempt the district- and state-required assessments identified for the student’s expected year of graduation. 

IV. Graduation Pathways
Each student must complete one or more graduation pathways.  Please see Procedure 2400 P1 for specific information about Graduation Pathways. 

V. High School and Beyond Plan
Each student must complete a High School and Beyond Plan (HSBP).  The HSBP is a multi-year plan that sets out a student’s goals for during and after high school.  Please see Procedure 2400 P3 for specific information.

VI. Issuance of a Diploma
A student will be issued a diploma after completing the district’s requirements for graduation.  A student shall also be advised that they may receive a final transcript if requested prior to July 1 following graduation.

VII. Issuance of a Certificate
Students in the Class of 2021 who qualify for special education services may earn a Certificate of Individual Achievement as determined by their Individual Education Plan (IEP.) (This requirement expires on August 31, 2024.)

VIII. Seal of Biliteracy
The district will award the Washington Seal of Biliteracy to students who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading and writing in one or more world languages in addition to English.  Students who meet the criteria as established in WAC 392-410-350 will be awarded the seal on their high school diploma and transcript. The district will develop and annually update the process for receiving the seal.

IX. Participation in Graduation Ceremonies
In general, students will only be permitted to participate in graduation ceremonies (allowed to “walk”) if they have met all district graduation requirements.

Students who qualify for special education services and who have an individual education plan (IEP) that permits them to attend school until age 21 may walk in the graduation ceremony with students of his or her age.

In the event that corrective actions are imposed for violations of school rules, the student may be denied participation in graduation ceremonies.  Such exclusion will be regarded as a school suspension.  In such instances, the diploma will be granted.

The Superintendent or designee is authorized to develop procedures for implementing this policy.

District Cross Reference:
Credit by Competency/Proficiency - Policy 2409
Credit by Mastery- Policy 2414

Waiver of Certain High School Graduation Requirements or Credits - Policy 2818
Rights and Responsibilities - Policy 3200
Student Conduct - Policy 3240

WSSDA Cross Reference:
High School Graduation Requirements – Policy 2410

 Legal Reference: 
High school graduation requirements or equivalencies — Reevaluation of graduation requirements — Review and authorization of proposed changes — Credit for courses taken before attending high school — Postsecondary credit equivalencies - RCW 28A.230.090
High school diplomas — Issuance — Option to receive final transcripts — Notice - RCW 28A.230.120
Running start program – Definition - RCW 28A.600.300-400
Defacing or injuring school property — Liability of pupil, parent or guardian — Withholding grades, diploma, or transcripts — Suspension and restitution — Voluntary work program as alternative — Rights protected - RCW 28A.635.060
High school graduation requirements - WAC 180-51
Alternative learning experience requirements - WAC 392-121-182
Special service programs - Running start program - WAC 392-169
Secondary education - WAC 392-348
Courses of study and equivalencies - WAC 392-410

Management Resources:
Policy and Legal News - February 2009; April 2009; June 2010; October 2011; April 2012; September 2013, May 2018

Highline School District 401
Adopted by the Board: August 1984
Revised by the Board: 3.89; 6.00; 6.01; 3.02; 1.07; 6.07; 7.08; 5.09; 6.11; 6.12; 5.14; 7.15; 1.16; 5.16; 6.17; 8.18; 6.19; 6.20; 11.23
Non-Substantive Revisions: 5.17
Classification: Essential