More Ways to Graduation
Several different options are available for students who are looking for more ways to meet graduation requirements. Students and parents may want to explore these options depending on a student’s interests or needs.
- STEM School Signature Programs Open to High School Students
- WANIC Skills Center Programs
- Running Start (taking courses at community colleges)
- College in the High School
- CTE Equivalency Courses/"Two for One" Courses
- LWSD Online Courses
- Outside credit
- Credit retrieval
STEM School Signature Programs Open to High School Students
Every high school in the district offers “Signature Courses” and/or “Signature Programs.” A Signature Course is a 1 period class where students earn 1 credit. A Signature Program is a 2-3 period block of classes where students earn 2-3 credits.
Earn academic credit required for graduation (1-3 credits);
Learn through a thematic, interdisciplinary curriculum connected to a career pathway;
Engage in problem-based learning and industry-based projects; and,
Learn from both teachers and professionals in the field through community and business-based partnerships.
Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Design
- Advanced Physics/Global Engineering
Due to student capacity and space limitations, there are a limited number of openings in each of the school’s Signature Programs for eleventh and twelfth grade students who attend one of the district’s comprehensive high schools. If more students apply for each lab than space is available, selection will be done through a lottery process. Students chosen through the lottery must work with their home school counselor to ensure that attendance in the TESLA STEM Signature Program of their choice fits within their plan to meet district high school graduation requirements. These students will continue to attend courses in their home high school in the other three periods when they are not attending the TESLA STEM High School Signature Program, and/or complete other courses through Running Start. Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from the TESLA STEM High School.
Learn more about the TESLA STEM High School Signature Programs as well as the application process on the TESLA STEM High School website.
WANIC Skills Center Programs
WANIC Skills Center (wanic.lwsd.org) offers high school programs that serve multiple school districts and delivers industry-defined Career and Technical Education programs in fields ranging from firefighting and police work to computer game design and healthcare. Courses are available to prepare for careers in Agriculture, Science & Natural Resources; Art, Media, Communication & Design; Business, Marketing & Management; Engineering, Science & Technology; Health & Human Services; Information Technology. Some courses may also be available in the summer.
Skills Center classes are offered at many local high schools in our area, at DigiPen Institute of Technology, and at the Lake Washington Institute of Technology. Many skills center programs are offered both during and after the regular school day. Students may attend their home high school for part or all of their day and also attend skills center programs to earn additional high school credits at no cost to the student.
Running Start (taking courses at community colleges)
Consult with your high school counselor for application instruction and program approval.
Take literacy and mathematics assessments at the community or technical college, which the student must schedule.
Have junior or senior standing in high school before taking courses through Running Start. For juniors in the Lake Washington School District, this includes completion of 10th grade required course sequence, and meeting state test graduation requirements. For seniors this includes satisfactory completion of 11th grade course sequences.
Meet all LWSD graduation requirements through course work in the high school or through Running Start.
College in the High School
CTE Equivalency Courses/"Two for One" Courses
Some CTE courses help students meet core academic graduation requirements. If a CTE course is determined to be fully equivalent with academic standards of the core requirement, it can be recorded on a student’s transcript using equivalent academic high school designation and title. If a CTE course has designated equivalency, credit for one of the courses will be placed on the student’s transcript. 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 “checked off” is determined by the student, based on their post high school goals as outlined in the High School and Beyond Plan.
CTE Equivalency Courses can be identified by their course code in the CTE section of each school’s course catalog.
The table below shows course codes by subject area:
|CTE course code||Core requirement met|
In addition, students may meet the CTE requirement through a non-CTE course that is determined to be “occupational education,” and equivalent, at a minimum, to a CTE exploratory course. 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.
The CTE Equivalency/“Two-for-One” policy does not change the total number of credits the student needs to graduate.
LWSD Online Courses
- The course is not offered at their school or
- The student is unable to fit the course into their regular 6-period schedule.
These online courses meet both district and state standards as well as maintain the high standards for content and rigor that are available in all LWSD classes. Students access the online class through an internet-connected computer. Coursework and online instruction may occur outside of the school day. Sections of available classes will be offered based upon spring student enrollment requests. Students who select online classes will need to meet with their school counselor in the spring to discuss class availability as well as to determine whether online learning is right for them.
- Online Washington History
Online Washington History is a .5 credit class that provides the knowledge and awareness of the geography, native inhabitants, early settlers, and the forces that drove modernization and statehood. Students will also study Washington’s emergence as a force for economic development and international trade. This class meets the Washington State History graduation requirement.
- Online Health
Online Health is a comprehensive .5 credit health course that provides students with essential knowledge and decision makings skills for a healthy lifestyle. Students will analyze aspects of emotional, social, and physical health and how these realms of health influence each other. Students will apply principles of health and wellness to their own lives. In addition, they will study behavior change and set goals to work on throughout the semester. Other topics of study include substance abuse, safety and injury prevention, environmental health, and consumer health. This class meets the Health graduation requirement.
If you are thinking about taking a class for credit in a non-district school and applying that credit for graduation, check with your school. Your school must approve the course before you enroll to allow it to be applied towards graduation.
The principal may accept credits for high school graduation from a non-district public high school; or an accredited private school; or from a post-secondary institution providing non-college credit. Acceptance of such credit is limited to three credits for courses offered by the district high school. In addition, classes may also be accepted if the student is not able to take the class in his/her high school because of scheduling conflicts, or because the class is not available in his/her high school. To apply for out of district credit, fill out and submit this form before you enroll: Request for Acceptance of Out of District Credit
The professional judgment of the building principal or designee will determine whether a credit meets the district's standard for recognition and acceptance.
If high school has not gone smoothly for you for whatever reason, you may need to look into ways to catch up on your credits earned. Some of the options listed in this section, like online courses or outside courses, may be options you can use to get the credits you need to graduate.
In addition, summer school may be an option to take and pass courses you need for graduation.
Contact your counselor to discuss options for credit retrieval: don’t give up on graduation!