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"
- Graduation Pathway Options
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.
Unless requested otherwise by the student and the student's family, a student who has completed high school courses before attending high school shall automatically be given high school credit, which shall be applied to fulfilling high school graduation requirements if:
- The course was taken with high school students, if the academic level of the course exceeds the requirements for seventh and eighth grade classes, and the student has successfully passed by completing the same course requirements and examinations as the high school students enrolled in the class; or
- 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 as determined by the school district Board of Directors.
At the request of the student and the student’s parent/guardian, high school credit earned before high school may be transcribed with a non-numerical grade. A non-numerical grade will not be included in the student’s high school grade point average calculations. High school credit earned prior to high school and transcribed with a non-numerical grade will apply to fulfilling high school graduation requirements.
A student and the student’s parent/guardian must inform the school before the end of the 11th grade if they do not want credit for the course(s) taken before attending high school or if they want to request that credit be transcribed with a non-numerical grade.
Students who have taken and successfully completed high school courses under the circumstances in this section shall not be required to take an additional competency examination or perform any other additional assignment to receive credit.
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, aided by a skills and career interest inventory assessment.
- Identification of educational goals.
- Four-year plan for course-taking plan that fulfills state and local graduation requirements and aligns with the student's career and educational goals and individualized Personalized Pathway.
- Resume or activity log by end of 12th grade.
- For students who have not met standard on a state assessment, interventions and academic support, courses (or both), that enable students to meet the high school graduation requirements.
- Updates to reflect assessment results, student progress, changing student interest, goals, or needs.
- Any certificates of course completion for Career and Technical Education equivalency courses completed by a student.
Graduation Pathway Options
Beginning with the Class of 2020, students must meet at least one of these pathway options to graduate:
- State Assessment: Meet or exceed the graduation scores in the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA) in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics or in WA-AIM (Washington Access to Instruction & Measurement).
- Dual Credit: Earn at least one high school credit in ELA and at least one high school credit in math in dual credit courses (Running Start, College in the High School, and/or Career and Technical Education dual credit courses).
- AP/Cambridge: For both ELA and math, earn a 3 or higher on certain Advanced Placement (AP) or an E on certain Cambridge International exams, or pass the course with at least a C+.
- SAT/ACT: Meet or exceed the graduation scores set by SBE in the math and ELA portions of the SAT or ACT.
- Transition Course: Pass a transition course in ELA and math (for example, a Bridge to College course) which allows a student to place directly into a credit-bearing college level course.
- Combination: Meet any combination of at least one ELA and one math option of those options listed in 1-5.
- Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB): Meet standard on the ASVAB by scoring at least the minimum established by the military for eligibility to serve in a branch of the armed services.*
- CTE Sequence: Complete a sequence of Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses.*
*Note: Students who pursue these pathways (ASVAB or CTE) do not need to meet English and math requirements separately. English and math content are embedded in both pathways – and a student who meets either the ASVAB standard or the CTE pathway requirements has met the graduation pathway requirement.
- State Assessment
- Dual Credit
- Transition Course
- Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)
- CTE Sequence
Smarter Balanced Assessment
To meet this graduation pathway option, students need to earn at least the graduation score on the high school English Language Arts (ELA) and math Smarter Balanced Assessment of:
- Score on ELA – 2548
- Score on math – 2595
The scores for graduation, identified by the State Board of Education in August 2015, were based on previous tests used for graduation and are below the level identified by the Smarter Balanced Consortium as on-track for career and college readiness – Level 3.
If determined to be appropriate by their Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, students with an IEP may meet this graduation pathway option with the WA-AIM state assessment. The graduation scores identified by the State Board of Education (in August 2015) for the WA-AIM are:
- Score on ELA – 104
- Score on math – 103
Students must earn at least one high school credit in English and one high school credit in math to meet this graduation pathway option. Dual credit courses that qualify for this pathway are courses that meet core high school graduation credit in English and math, and that allow students to earn college credit at the 100-level or higher (the college course number must be 100 or higher). Dual credit programs include:
- College in the High School
- Running Start
- Career and Technical Education (CTE) Dual Credit
Students do not have to pay fees or claim college credit to meet this pathway, but they must meet the state or local program criteria or articulation agreement requirements (such as earning a particular grade). For CTE dual credit courses to meet this pathway requirement, the course must have a state or local course equivalency to meet high school subject area graduation requirements in English or math.
To meet this graduation pathway option, the student must pass specified courses with a C+ (2.3) grade or higher in AP or Cambridge International course; or pass the associated assessment at a specified level. Students must pass at least one course or exam in English language arts and one course or exam in math.
The AP courses that meet this option in English language arts are:
- English Language and Composition
- English Literature and Composition
- United States History
- World History
- United States Government and Politics
- Comparative Government and Politics
- The AP courses that meet this option in math are:
- Computer Science A
- Computer Science Principles
Students must earn a C+ (2.3) grade or higher each term in one of these courses, or score a 3 or higher on the exam associated with these courses.
Cambridge International (at Juanita High School)
Cambridge International courses that meet this option in English language arts are Cambridge Advanced or Cambridge Advanced Subsidiary courses in:
- Courses in Individuals and Societies
- English language
- Literature and English
- English General Paper
- Global Perspectives and Research
Cambridge International courses that meet this option in math are any of the Cambridge Advanced or Cambridge Advanced Subsidiary courses in math or further math. Students must earn a C+ (2.3), or higher each term in one of these courses, or score an E (the minimum passing score in Cambridge exams) or higher on the exam associated with these courses.
To meet this pathway, students need to earn at least the graduation score established by the Board on the SAT and ACT. It is recommended that students take these tests with the writing option, since some institutions of higher education require the tests with writing for admissions. The available options and the graduation scores are listed below. A graduation cut-score on the ACT (no Writing) is not available at this time.
|SAT with Essay
|ACT with Writing
|ACT (no writing)
|English Language Arts
For the purposes of graduation pathway options, transition courses are English and math courses that, based on their final grade, allow students to place directly into credit-bearing college level courses (courses with college course numbers of 100 or above), as based on policies and criteria of school districts and applicable institutions of higher education. Bridge to College courses are transition courses. Other courses may qualify based on local placement agreements between districts and higher education entities. Transition courses must meet core high school graduation requirements in English and math.
Students may use different pathway options to meet the requirements for English and math. For example, a student may meet the English graduation pathway option using the state assessment, and the math graduation pathway option using a transition course. The graduation pathway options that may be used in combination are:
- Smarter Balanced Assessment
- Dual Credit
- Advanced Placement (AP)
- International Baccalaureate (IB)
- Transition Courses
To meet the ASVAB graduation pathway option, students must meet the minimum score on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) to be eligible to serve in a branch of the armed services at the time the student takes the test. The AFQT is a component of the ASVAB (not a separate test). Satisfying this graduation pathway option meets requirements in both English and math.
The current score students must meet (this score will be confirmed and updated here at least annually by September 1. Students may choose to meet either the minimum score the year a student take the ASVAB or the score established by any branch of the military posted here on a later date prior to the student turning 21 years of age.):
Date posted: November 7, 2019
To meet the graduation pathway option, the student must take the ASVAB while in high school. (The military has age and other restrictions concerning the acceptance of the ASVAB, so students considering a military career should look into military entrance requirements. See more information.)
A student may meet this graduation pathway option by completing a sequence of CTE courses, which align with the student’s High School and Beyond Plan. Satisfying this graduation pathway option meets requirements in both English and math. A course that is used as part of a CTE sequence may also be used to meet subject area graduation requirements in CTE or in other subject areas through CTE course equivalencies.
To meet this pathway students must complete a 2-credit sequence of courses that meet the following minimum criteria:
- Lead to a state or nationally recognized certificate or credential, or allow students to earn dual credit through CTE Dual Credit, Advanced Placement, or other agreement or program.
- Be comprised of a sequenced progression of multiple courses that are technically intensive and rigorous.
- Lead to workforce entry, a state or nationally approved apprenticeship, or postsecondary education in a related field.
- The sequence of courses may be in a single CTE program area, or in more than one program area.
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.