Horace Mann Elementary second graders got a hands-on toy-building lesson from “Mr. Toymaker,” Rick Hartman.
High School Guide
The LWSD High School Guide provides information that will help high school students and their families understand what is required to earn a Lake Washington high school diploma. This guide is an important start to the process: your high school's course catalog will provide more information. Your high school counselor will be an important partner and will be able to answer questions you may have after reviewing this guide.
Students must fulfill the graduation requirements that are in place when they first enter ninth grade, unless the state legislature votes to reduce those requirements. The requirements will not increase once a student has started ninth grade. The requirements do not change even if the student’s graduation year changes.
Students must fulfill the following three requirements for graduation:
- Earn required high school credits
- Complete a "High School and Beyond Plan"
- Pass high school assessments
For details about each requirement, see tabs below:
To earn a Lake Washington School District diploma, students graduating in the class of 2019 and beyond must earn 24 credits. Each credit is equivalent to a full year class. These credits must be distributed among different subject areas, as shown in the "credit requirements at a glance" chart below.
- Credit Requirements at a Glance
- Physical Education Options
- World Language Options
- Arts Options
- Washington State History Requirement
- Seven Period Schedule
- High School Credit for Courses Taken in Middle School
Class of 2019 and Beyond
- Language Art 4.0
- Science 3.0^
- Mathematics 3.0+
- World Languages (same language) 2.0^^^ (2 can be PPR)
- Social Studies 3.0
- Arts 2.0^^^ (1 can be PPR)
- Physical Education (P.E.) 1.5^^
- Health 0.5
- Occupational/Career & Technical Education 1.0
- Electives 4.0
^ 2.0 lab science, 1.0 non-lab science
+Algebra I, Geometry and a third credit of high school mathematics aligning with a student's interests and High School and Beyond plan.
^^ A student may request to be excused from P.E. under certain conditions, per state law and district policy.
^^^ Personalized Pathway Requirements (PPR) are related courses that lead to a specific post-high school career or educational outcome chosen by the student based on the student's interests and High School and Beyond Plan, that may include Career & Technical Education, and are intended to provide a focus for the student's learning.
Credit Requirements for the Class of 2019 and Beyond
The state Career and College-Ready Graduation Requirements took effect with the class of 2019.
The 24-credit requirement is designed to be both rigorous and flexible. The pathway for most students will keep all post-secondary options open, including meeting the college admission requirements for entry into a public four-year institution or pursuing a program of study in a two-year institution or apprenticeship. The requirements are flexible enough to accommodate a program of study leading to a professional or technical certificate or degree through a skills center or Career and Technical Education program.
Key elements that allow for flexibility include:
Seven (7) of the 24 credits are flexible credits; these include 4 elective credits and 3 Personalized Pathway Requirements that are chosen by students based on their interest and their High School and Beyond Plans.
Seventeen (17) of the 24 credits are mandatory core credits, including 3 credits of science, 2 of which must be lab science.
Two (2) of the flexible credits may be waived locally for students with "unusual circumstances," as defined by local district policy.
The 1.5 credit physical education requirement may be met by demonstrating proficiency in the knowledge portion of this requirement through participation in a district-approved and administered assessment. Go to the Physical Education Credit Options page for more information on this option.
For world languages, students may earn a credit based on their performance on an assessment if they have language skills developed at home, through language programs in the community or online, or time spent living abroad. Students may also elect to pursue credit in areas other than world language if the choice is based on a career-oriented course of study identified in the student's High School and Beyond Plan. Go to the World Language Credit Options page for more information on this option.
One of the two Arts credits can be met through an alternate course identified in a student's high school and beyond plan that is deemed necessary to attain the post-secondary career or educational goals chosen by the student.
The state requires students to take and pass Washington State History to graduate. That requirement is completed in eighth grade. The school documents the fulfillment of this requirement by posting on the transcript "WASHINGTON STATE HISTORY MET".
Students who attended eighth grade in another district in this state or another state and did not meet the requirement will need to work with their counselor on a plan to complete this requirement before graduation. The only exception is for students who moved to the district in 11th and 12th grades. They should work with their counselor to complete a waiver form. They will not be required to take Washington State History.
As part of their four-year program of study, all students are expected to register for and take seven credit bearing courses each semester. A senior who is on track to satisfy all credit requirements for graduation may complete an application for Early Dismissal or Late Arrival. Requests for a class schedule with less than seven credit bearing courses will be reviewed with extenuating considerations in mind, which may include but are not limited to the following:
- Medical need with documentation
- Educational opportunities outside the school/district consistent with the student’s High School and Beyond Plan.
A class schedule with less than seven credit bearing courses will only allow for a late arrival or early dismissal. It is necessary to gain approval from the student’s counselor and parents for late arrival or early dismissal and have a copy of the approval on file in the counseling office.
If requested by the student and his or her family, a student who has completed high school courses before attending high school shall be given high school credit which shall be applied to fulfilling high school graduation requirements if the academic
level of the course exceeds the requirements for seventh and eighth grade classes and the course would qualify for high school credit, because the course is similar or equivalent to a course offered at a high school in the district.
- High School level Math courses in middle schools include: Algebra I and Geometry
- High School level World Language courses in middle schools include: World Language I taken in 8th grade (for example, Spanish I, Japanese I, etc.) Students cannot earn high school credit by taking exploratory middle school language courses that do not meet Year 1 World Language standards.
High School credit for these designated middle school courses may be requested once the student is in high school. Once the grades for high school level courses taken in middle school are recorded on the high school transcript, the grade and credit cannot be removed and are included in the computation of the student’s cumulative grade point average.
High School and Beyond Plan
Students in Lake Washington should graduate “Future Ready,” with a plan for what they will do following high school.
To graduate, all students must develop a High School and Beyond Plan specifying how they will meet high school graduation requirements and what they will do following high school. Students begin their plan in eighth grade and revise it each year as they progress through middle and high school. The High School and Beyond Plan should include the classes needed to prepare for a postsecondary pathway, such as a two-year or four-year college, technical college, apprenticeship program, certificate program, the workforce or military training.
Through the process of completing a High School and Beyond Plan, students explore their interests, discover potential future careers, and research post-secondary education options. They link their plan for high school course taking with their future goals. Students review and revise their High School and Beyond Plans annually, in cooperation with parents / guardians and school staff.
Why is the High School and Beyond Plan (HSBP) important?
The High School and Beyond Plan helps students connect their high school course taking with their future goals. The process helps students choose coursework and activities that are relevant to their goals and ensures that students are tracking the requirements for high school graduation and entry into postsecondary programs.
What are the components of a High School and Beyond Plan?
The major components of the plan include:
Identification of career goals
Identification of educational goals related to the student’s career goals
- Completion of a four-year plan for course-taking that fulfills graduation requirements and aligns with educational and career goals
High School Assessments
State test requirements
High school students must pass tests, or state-approved alternatives, to be eligible to graduate. Required tests vary by expected year of graduation. All students must pass the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) in English/language arts and math. Students in the class of 2021 and beyond must also pass the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS). Minimum scores to pass these exams are set by the State Board of Education.
Smarter Balanced Assessment Scores and Higher Education Agreements
Washington’s 2- and 4-year public colleges have published statements regarding the use of Smarter Balanced test scores and preparation for entrance into their institutions.
Washington’s Council of Presidents, representing public four-year colleges and universities in Washington State, has issued a statement about a student’s path towards college preparation. Read more about the Council of Presidents’ statement.
Likewise, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) has issued a statement regarding placement options for students entering a 2-year institution. Read more about the SBCTC’s agreement.
* Unless a student is determined to have significant cognitive disabilities, or transferred into Washington public schools in 11th or 12th grade, he or she must attempt state assessments at least once before qualifying for alternatives in each content area: https://www.k12.wa.us/student-success/graduation/graduation-alternatives
+ Students must meet the exit exam minimum score to graduate.
Special Education students
Students with an Individualized Education Program may earn a Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA), an alternative to the Certificate of Academic Achievement, if deemed appropriate by their IEP team. Graduation requirement options that might be considered by the team are listed on the OSPI website.
There are three options to take advantage of what are called Certificate of Academic Achievement Options (CAA): GPA Comparison, College Admission and AP Test Scores Option or Dual Credit Course Option. Students who do not meet the standard on the SBA may want to review these options.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can the Physical Education (P.E.) credit be waived?
- Can a student be excused from earning Health credit?
Minimum state and district graduation requirements require that all students earn one and one half (1.5) credits in the area of fitness, which shall be met by course work in physical education. However, in accordance with RCW 28A.230.050, individual students may be excused from participating in P.E. otherwise required on account of physical disability, employment, or religious belief, or because of participation in directed athletics or military science and tactics or for other good cause. Such excused students shall be required demonstrate proficiency / competency in the knowledge portion of the fitness requirement, in accordance with WAC 180-51-066 and written district policy.
- Can the World Language credit be waived?
- If a student takes and passes a World Language course in the 8th grade, does that count for 1.0 high school credit?
- Can a student earn competency/proficiency credit in World Language through participation in “Washington World Language Assessment Days”?
A student may elect to pursue credit in areas other than World Language if the choice is based on a career-oriented course of study identified in the student’s High School and Beyond Plan. To do so, the student’s parent / guardian (or designee) must agree that credit in other areas is more appropriate than World Language because it better serves the student’s career goals. A meeting must be held with the student, the parent / guardian (or designee), and a high school representative to discuss and sign a form acknowledging they understand the World Language requirement is a college-entrance requirement and that they believe that other alternate course selections are more appropriate given the student’s education and career goals.
If requested by the student and his or her family, a student who has completed high school courses before attending high school shall be given high school credit which shall be applied to fulfilling high school graduation requirements the academic level of the course exceeds the requirements for seventh and eighth grade classes and the course would qualify for high school credit, because the course is similar or equivalent to a course offered at a high school in the district. Students taking 8th grade World Language classes offered at middle schools in Lake Washington School district that meet Year 1 World Language standards may be awarded high school credit for the course. Students cannot earn high school credit by taking exploratory middle school language courses that do not meet Year 1 World Language standards.
Yes, students who have some proficiency in a world language may seek to earn credit by taking an assessment that measures that proficiency. Students who wish to pursue this option must sign up to participate in a district-sponsored World Language Assessment Day. Through this program, students complete an assessment to determine language proficiency. If students demonstrate at least a Novice Mid proficiency level, they receive a letter indicating proficiency levels and the number of high school credits earned. The district will award one or more credits based on the student demonstrating an overall proficiency level according to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines, as follows:
- Novice Mid – 1 credit
- Novice High – 2 credits
- Intermediate Low – 3 credits
- Intermediate Mid – 4 credits
Multiple testing opportunities are offered each year for all LWSD students in grades 9-12. The cost of a first attempt is free. Information about dates and registration can be found here.
- What are the Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Occupational Education (OCC. Ed.) credit requirements?
- Can the Career and Technical Education (CTE) credit requirement be waived?
- What is the “two-for-one” policy for Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses?
One credit in career and technical education is required for graduation. A career and technical education (CTE) credit means a credit resulting from a course in a CTE program or occupational education credit as contained in the CTE program standards of the office of the superintendent of public instruction.
"Occupational education" means credits resulting from a series of learning experiences designed to assist the student to acquire and demonstrate competency of skills under student learning goal four and which skills are required for success in current and emerging occupations. At a minimum, these competencies shall align with the definition of an exploratory course as contained in the CTE program standards of the office of the superintendent of public instruction.
The “two-for-one” policy enables students who take CTE-equivalent courses to satisfy two graduation requirements while earning one credit for a single course; hence, “two-for-one.” The purpose of this policy is to create flexibility for students to choose more elective courses or to address other graduation requirements. A CTE-equivalent course consists of two courses: one CTE, one academic. One of those courses is placed on the student’s transcript for credit. Students generally choose which course they want placed on the transcript, and this choice is driven by their High School and Beyond Plan. The second course, which is not placed on the transcript, may be “checked off” as a “met requirement” by local counseling staff. Which course is put on the transcript and which one is locally “checked off” will continue to be determined by the student, based on their post high school goals. The “two-for-one” policy does not change the total number of credits the student needs to graduate. Specifically:
- Students who earn a graduation requirement credit through a CTE course determined to be equivalent to a non-CTE course will not be required to earn a second credit in the non-CTE course subject. The single CTE course meets two graduation requirements.
- Students who earn a graduation requirement credit in a non-CTE course determined to be equivalent to a CTE course will not be required to earn a second credit in the CTE course subject. The single non-CTE course meets two graduation requirements.
- Students satisfying the requirement in (a) or (b) of this subsection.