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2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD

Policies and Regulations

School Board of the City of Virginia Beach
Regulation 5-30.1

STUDENTS

Graduation Requirements

  1. Requirements for a Standard Diploma Prior to 2011-12
    1. Students who first enter ninth grade prior to 2011-12 must earn the standard units of credit listed in the chart below to achieve a Standard Diploma. Of the 22 standard credits required, six (6) must be verified credits as follows: two (2) English, one (1) math, one (1) science, one (1) social studies, and one (1) student-selected test.
    2. Credits required for graduation for students who entered the ninth grade prior to 2011-12:

      Discipline Area

      Units of Credit

      Required to be Verified

      English 9, 10, 11, 12

      4

      2

      Mathematics

      3

      1

      (Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall be at or above the level of Algebra and shall include at least two course selections from among: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, or other mathematics courses above the level of Algebra and Geometry.)

       

       

      Laboratory Science

      3

      1

      (Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include course selections from at least two different science disciplines: Earth Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, or Physics. NOTE: Oceanography and Astronomy are in the Earth Science Discipline)

       

       

      History and Social Sciences

      3

      1

      (Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include Virginia and U.S. History, Virginia and U.S. Government, and one world history/geography course.)

       

       

      Health and Physical Education

      2

       

      Fine Arts or Career Technical Education

      1

       

      Electives

      6

       

      (Courses to satisfy this requirement shall include at least two sequential electives.)

       

       

      Student Selected Test

       

      1

      Total

      22

      6

    3. Students completing the requirements for the Standard Diploma may be eligible to receive a Virginia Board of Education Seal or other honor deemed appropriate by the School Board as described in School Board Policy 5-29.
    4. 4. Students who earn a Standard Diploma may participate in commencement exercises.
  2. Requirements for an Advanced Studies Diploma Prior to 2011-12
    1. Students who first enter ninth grade prior to 2011-2012 must earn the standard units of credit listed in the chart below to achieve an Advanced Studies Diploma. Of the 24 standard credits required, nine (9) must be verified credits as follows, two (2) English, two (2) math, two (2) science, two (2) social studies and one (1) student-selected test.
    2. Credits required for graduation for students who entered the ninth grade prior to 2011-2012:

      Discipline Area

      Units of Credit

      Required to be Verified

      English

      4

      2

      Mathematics

      4

      2

      (Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall be at or above the level of Algebra and shall include at least three different course selections from among: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, or other mathematics courses above the level of Algebra II. (Note: The School Board may approve additional courses to satisfy this requirement)

       

       

      Laboratory Science

      4

      2

      (Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include course selections from at least three different science disciplines from among: Earth Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or the completion of science courses for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. NOTE: Oceanography and Astronomy are in the Earth Science Discipline)

       

       

      History and Social Sciences

      4

      2

      (Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include Virginia and U.S. History, Virginia and U.S. Government, and two world history/geography courses.)

       

       

      Foreign Language

      3

       

      (Courses to satisfy this requirement shall include three years of one language or two years of two languages)

       

       

      Health and Physical Education

      2

       

      Fine Arts or Career Technical Education

      1

       

      Electives

      2

       

      Student Selected Test

       

      1

      Total

      24

      9

    3. Students completing the requirements for the Advanced Studies Diploma. may be eligible to receive a Governor's Seal or other honor deemed appropriate by the School Board as described in School Board Policy 5-29.
    4. Students who earn an Advanced Studies Diploma may participate in commencement exercises.
  3. Requirements for a Standard Diploma 2011-12 and 2012-2013
    1. 1. Students who first enter ninth grade in 2011-12 and 2012-13 must earn the standard units of credit listed in the chart below to achieve a standard diploma. Of the 22 standard credits required, six (6) must be verified credits as follows: two (2) English, one (1) math, one (1) science, one (1) social studies, and one (1) student-selected test.
    2. 2. Credits required for graduation for students who entered the grade 2011-12 and 2012-2013:

      Discipline Area

      Units of Credit

      Required to be Verified

      English 9, 10, 11, 12

      4

      2

      Mathematics

      3

      1

      (Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include at least two course selections from among Algebra I, Geometry, AFDA (Algebra Functions, and Data Analysis), or Algebra II, or other mathematics courses above the level of Algebra II. The Virginia Board of Education shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement.)

         

      Laboratory Science

      3

       

      (Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include course selections from at least two different science disciplines: Earth Sciences, Biology, Chemistry or Physics. The Virginia Board of Education shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement. Note: Oceanography and Astronomy are in the Earth Science discipline.)

         

      History and Social Science

      3

       

      (Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include Virginia and U.S. History, Virginia and U.S. Government, and one course in either world history or geography or both. The Virginia Board of Education shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement)

         

      Health and Physical Education

      2

       

      World Languages, Fine Arts, or Career and Technical Education

      2

       

      (Credits earned for this requirement shall include one credit in Fine or Performing Arts or Career and Technical Education.)

       

       

      Economics and Personal Finance

      1

       

      Required Courses

      18

       

      Elective Courses

      4

       

      (Courses to satisfy this requirement shall include at least two sequential electives as required by the Standards of Quality.)

         

      Student Selected Test

       

      1

      TOTAL

      22

      6

    3. Students completing the requirements for the Standard Diploma may be eligible to receive a Virginia Board of Education Seal or other honor deemed appropriate by the School Board as described in School Board Policy 5-29.
    4. Students who earn a Standard Diploma may participate in commencement exercises.
  4. Requirements for an Advanced Studies Diploma 2011-12 and 2012-2013
    1. 1. Students who first enter ninth grade in 2011-12 and 2012-13 must earn the standard units of credit listed in the chart below to achieve an Advanced Studies Diploma. Of the 26 standard credits required, nine (9) must be verified credits as follows, two (2) English, two (2) math, two (2) science, two (2) social studies and one (1) student-selected test.
    2. 2. Credits required for graduation for students who entered the grade 2011-12 and 2012-13:

      Discipline Area

      Units of Credit

      Required to be Verified

      English 9, 10, 11, 12

      4

      2

      Mathematics

      4

      2

      (Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include at least three different course selections from among Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, or other mathematics courses above the level of Algebra II. The Virginia Board of Education shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement.)

       

      Laboratory Science

      4

      2

      (Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include course selections from at least three different science disciplines from among: Earth Sciences, Biology, Chemistry or Physics or completion of the sequence of science courses required for the International Baccalaureate Diploma. The Virginia Board of Education shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement. Note: Oceanography and Astronomy are in the Earth Science discipline.)

         

      History and Social Science

      4

      2

      (Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include Virginia and U.S. History, Virginia and U.S. Government, and two courses in either world history or geography or both. The Virginia Board of Education shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement)

         

      World Languages

      3

       

      (Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall be three years of the same language or two years each of two languages.)

         

      Health and Physical Education

      2

       

      Fine Arts or Career and Technical Education

      1

       

      Economics and Personal Finance

      1

       

      Required Courses

      23

       

      Elective Courses

      3

       

      Selected Test

       

      1

      TOTAL

      26

      9

    3. Students completing the requirements for the advanced studies diploma may be eligible to receive a Governor's Seal or other honor deemed appropriate by the School Board as described in School Board Policy 5-29.
    4. Students who earn an Advanced Studies Diploma may participate in commencement exercises.
  5. Requirements for a Standard Diploma 2013-2014 and Beyond
    1. 1. Students who first enter ninth grade in 2013-2014 and beyond must earn the standard units of credit listed in the chart below to achieve a standard diploma. Of the 22 standard credits required, six (6) must be verified credits as follows: two (2) English, one (1) math, one (1) science, one (1) social studies, and one (1) student-selected test.
    2. Credits required for graduation for students who entered the grade 2013-2014 and beyond.

      Discipline Area

      Units of Credit

      Required to be Verified

      English 9, 10, 11, 12

      4

      2

      Mathematics

      3

      1

      (Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include at least two course selections from among Algebra I, Geometry, AFDA (Algebra Functions, and Data Analysis), or Algebra II, or other mathematics courses above the level of Algebra II. The Virginia Board of Education shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement.)

         

      Laboratory Science

      3

      1

      (Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include course selections from at least two different science disciplines: Earth Sciences, Biology, Chemistry or Physics. The Virginia Board of Education shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement. Note: Oceanography and Astronomy are in the Earth Science discipline.)

         

      History and Social Science

      3

      1

      (Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include Virginia and U.S. History, Virginia and U.S. Government, and one course in either world history or geography or both. The Virginia Board of Education shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement)

         

      Health and Physical Education

      2

       

      World Languages, Fine Arts, or Career and Technical Education

      2

       

      (Credits earned for this requirement shall include one credit in Fine or Performing Arts or Career and Technical Education.)

      2

       

      Economics and Personal Finance

      1

       

      Required Courses

      18

       

      Virtual Course

       

       

      School Board approved Career and Technical Educational credential

       

       

      Elective Courses

      4

       

      (Courses to satisfy this requirement shall include at least two sequential electives as required by the Standards of Quality.)

         

      Student Selected Test

      3

      1

      TOTAL

      22

      6

    3. 3. Students completing the requirements for the Standard Diploma may be eligible to receive a Virginia Board of Education Seal or other honor deemed appropriate by the School Board as described in School Board Policy 5-29.
    4. Students who earn a Standard Diploma may participate in commencement exercises.
  6. Requirements for an Advanced Studies Diploma 2013-14 and Beyond
    1. 1. Students who first enter ninth grade in 2013-2014 and beyond must earn the standard units of credit listed in the chart below to achieve an Advanced Studies Diploma. Of the 26 standard credits required, nine (9) must be verified credits as follows, two (2) English, two (2) math, two (2) science, two (2) social studies and one (1) student-selected test.
    2. Credits required for graduation for students who entered the ninth grade in 2013-14 and beyond:

      Discipline Area

      Units of Credit

      Required to be Verified

      English 9, 10, 11, 12

      4

      2

      Mathematics

      4

      2

      (Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include at least three different course selections from among Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, or other mathematics courses above the level of Algebra II. The Virginia Board of Education shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement.)

         

      Laboratory Science

      4

      2

      (Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include course selections from at least three different science disciplines from among: Earth Sciences, Biology, Chemistry or Physics or completion of the sequence of science courses required for the International Baccalaureate Diploma. The Virginia Board of Education shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement. (Note: Oceanography and Astronomy are in the Earth Science discipline.)

         

      History and Social Science

      4

      2

      (Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include Virginia and U.S. History, Virginia and U.S. Government, and two courses in either world history or geography or both. The Virginia Board of Education shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement)

         

      World Languages

      3

       

      (Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall be three years of the same language or two years each of two languages.)

         

      Health and Physical Education

      2

       

      Fine Arts or Career and Technical Education

      1

       

      Economics and Personal Finance

      1

       

      Virtual Course

       

       

      Required Courses

      23

       

      Elective Courses

      3

       

      Student Selected Test

       

      1

      TOTAL

      26

      9

    3. Students completing the requirements for the Advanced Studies Diploma may be eligible to receive a Governor's Seal or other honor deemed appropriate by the School Board as described in School Board Policy 5-29.
    4. Students who earn an Advanced Studies Diploma may participate in commencement exercises.
  7. Requirements for a Special Diploma
    1. A Special Diploma is available to students with disabilities who complete the requirements of their IEPs and who do not meet the requirements for other diplomas.
    2. Students who earn a Special Diploma may participate in commencement exercises.
  8. Requirements for the Modified Standard Diploma Prior to 2013-2014
    1. The Modified Standard Diploma program is intended for certain students at the secondary level who have a disability and are unlikely to meet the credit requirements for a Standard Diploma. Eligibility and participation in the Modified Standard Diploma program shall be determined by the studentís Individual Education Program (IEP) team and the student, where appropriate, at any point after the studentís eighth grade year.
    2. The school must secure the informed written consent of the parent/guardian a of minor student or the adult student to choose this diploma program after review of the studentís academic history and the full disclosure of the studentís options.
    3. The student who has chosen to pursue a Modified Standard Diploma shall also be allowed to pursue the Standard or Advanced Studies Diploma at any time throughout that studentís high school career. The student must not be excluded from courses and tests required to earn a Standard or Advanced Studies Diploma.
    4. Students pursing the Modified Standard Diploma shall pass literacy and numeracy competency assessments prescribed by the Virginia Board of Education.
    5. Credits required for graduation with a Modified Standard Diploma:

      Discipline Area

      Standard Units of Credit Required

      English

      4

      Mathematics1

      3

      Science2

      2

      History and Social Science3

      2

      Health and Physical Education

      2

      Fine or Practical Arts

      1

      Electives4

      6

      Total

      20


      1. Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include content from among applications of algebra, geometry, personal finance, and statistics in courses that have been approved by the State Board of Education.
      2. Courses completed shall include content from at least two of the following: application of earth science, biology, chemistry, or physics in courses approved by the Virginia Board of Education.
      3. Course completed to satisfy this requirement should include one unit of credit in U.S. and Virginia History and one unit of credit in U.S. and Virginia Government in courses approved by the State Board of Education.
      4. Courses to satisfy this requirement shall include at least two sequential electives in the same manner required for the Standard Diploma.
    6. Students who earn a Modified Standard Diploma may participate in commencement exercises.
  9. Graduation Accommodations

    Students with disabilities under IDEA or Section 504 may be eligible for credit accommodations. Credit accommodations provide alternatives for students with disabilities in earning the standard and verified credits required to graduate with a Standard Diploma. Credit accommodations for the Standard Diploma shall be determined by the studentís Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 team, including the student where appropriate, at any point after the studentís eighth-grade year. The school must secure the informed written consent of the parent/guardian and the student, as appropriate, to choose credit accommodations after review of the studentís academic history and full disclosure of the studentís options.

    Students must meet the following criteria to be eligible to receive credit accommodations for the Standard Diploma:

    1. Student must have a current IEP or 504 plan with standards-based content goals.
    2. Student has a disability that precludes him or her from achieving and progressing commensurate with grade level expectations, but is learning on grade level content.
    3. Student needs significant instructional supports to access grade level Standards of Learning (SOL) content and to show progress.
    4. Based on multiple objective measures of past performance, student might not be expected to achieve the required standard and verified units of credit within the standard time frame.
  10. Certificate of Program Completion
    1. A Certificate of Program Completion is an option for a senior who has not met the requirements for graduation by the end of the summer session of the senior year. It is not a diploma and should not be a first option for a high school student.
    2. If a student completes the twelfth grade or senior year having earned the required number of standard units of credit, and has not earned the corresponding required verified credits, the student may elect to attempt to earn a diploma by taking the needed SOL tests in the summer session or subsequent administrations. In the event that the student earns the required verified credit, he/she is considered a graduate and earns a Virginia Board of Education recognized diploma, and may participate in commencement exercises.
    3. If a student does not earn the required verified credits for graduation during subsequent administrations of the SOL tests by the end of summer school after his/her senior year, he/she will be granted a Certificate of Program Completion. Students who are awarded the Certificate of Program Completion may continue to take the necessary SOL test(s) for a period of up to three (3) years from the date on which the Certificate of Program Completion was awarded in order to upgrade the certificate to a standard or advanced studies diploma. In extenuating circumstances, the three (3) year period may be extended by the Superintendent.
  11. Definitions
    1. Standard Units of Credit

      The standard unit of credit for graduation shall be based on a minimum of 140 clock hours of instruction and the student successfully completed the objectives of the course. When credit is awarded in less than whole units, the increment awarded must be no greater than the fractional part of the 140 hours of instruction provided.

    2. Verified Units of Credit

      A verified unit of credit for graduation shall be based on the student earning a standard unit of credit and the achievement by the student of a passing score on the end-of-course Standards of Learning tests, substitute assessments, or student selected tests and certain professional and Industry certifications and licenses.

    3. Substitute Tests

      Tests that have been approved by the Virginia Board of Education as additional tests that enable students to earn verified units of credit. (8 VAC 20-131-110.B)

  12. Exceptions

    Exceptions to the stated requirements may only be made in accordance with the Virginia Board of Education Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia. For the 2015-2016 school year, the School Board approves the Superintendentís request to award standard units of credit for graduation for semester/year-long courses that do not meet the minimum 70/140 clock hours of instruction. The Superintendent will ensures that the content of all such courses is comparable to the 70/140 clock hours of instruction and, that upon completion, the student will have met the aims and objectives of the course. The exception set forth in this paragraph will expire June 22, 2016.

  13. Residency

    Students enrolled in the Virginia Beach City Public Schools during the final semester of the student's senior year shall be eligible for a diploma from the School Division provided the requirements for graduation as set forth herein and in the Virginia Board of Education Regulations Establishing Standards for Accreditation of Public Schools in Virginia have been met.

    A student transferring into a Virginia Beach school during the studentís senior year shall be required to meet the requirements set forth in School Board Division Regulation 5-25.3 to earn a diploma.

  14. Standards of Learning Tests

    Beginning with the ninth grades class of 1998-99, the Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments shall constitute the primary evaluation of student academic achievement. Each student in middle or secondary school taking high school credit-bearing courses shall take all applicable end-of-course SOL tests, and may take applicable substitute tests, and /or certain professional and industry certifications and licenses. Beginning with the ninth grade class of 2000-01, students shall be required to pass six end-of-course SOL tests or the above mentioned alternatives as allowable by Virginia Standards of Accreditation (8 VAC 20-131-110) in order to receive a standard diploma and nine end-of-course SOL tests in order to receive an Advanced Studies Diploma.

  15. Special Provisions
    1. When students below the ninth grade successfully complete courses offered for credit in the ninth, tenth, eleventh or twelfth grade subjects, credit shall be counted toward meeting the standard units required for graduation provided the courses meet the SOL requirements or are equivalent in content and academic vigor to those courses offered at the secondary level, or verified units provided students achieve a passing score on the end-of-course SOL tests.
    2. Students who are graduating from a secondary school and do not intend to continue their education should have identified marketable skills.
    3. Students completing graduation requirements in a summer school accredited under these standards shall be eligible for a diploma. The last school attended by the student during the regular session shall award the diploma, unless otherwise agreed upon by the principals of the two schools.
    4. A secondary school shall accept credits of students transferring from other accredited secondary schools, including summer schools, special sessions, schools accredited through the Virginia Council for Private Education and educational programs operated by the state. Credit also shall be accepted for courses satisfactorily completed in accredited colleges and universities when prior written approval of the principal has been granted.
    5. Records of transferred students shall be sent directly to the school receiving the student upon request of the receiving school in accordance with the provisions of the “Management of the Student’s Scholastic Record in Virginia.”
    6. Beginning with the ninth grade class of 1998-99, the transcript of a student who graduates or transfers from a Virginia secondary school shall show the units of standard or verified credit earned and required for graduation with a standard or advanced diploma.
    7. Students transferring into a Virginia school division shall be required to earn a minimum of 22 standard credits and the appropriate number of verified credits beginning with the ninth grade class of 2000-01) for graduation. Each student's prior record shall be evaluated to determine the number of credits previously earned and the number of additional credits required for graduation. Specified courses normally taken at lower grade levels shall not be required, provided the student has completed the courses required at those grade levels by the School Division or state from which he or she transferred. Students transferring from states not giving credit for health and physical education shall not be required to repeat these courses.
    8. Students transferring after 20 instructional hours of their senior or 12th grade year shall be given every opportunity to earn a standard or advanced studies diploma.

      If it is not possible for the student to meet the requirements for a diploma, arrangements should be made for the student’s previous school to award the diploma. If this arrangement cannot be made, a waiver of verified credit requirements may be requested by the School Board to the Virginia Board of Education.

Virginia Board of Education 8VAC 20-131, et seq., as amended. Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia.

Virginia Board of Education Regulation 8VAC20-131-110(A), as amended. Standard and Verified Units of Credit.

Approved by Superintendent: July 16, 1991
Revised by Superintendent: August 18, 1992
Revised by Superintendent: September 21, 1993 (Effective August 14, 1993)
Revised by Superintendent: October 19, 1993
Revised by Superintendent: February 10, 1999
Revised by Superintendent: May 26, 2004
Revised by Superintendent: March 17, 2006
Approved by School Board:† August 2, 2011
Scrivener’s Amendments: September 14, 2011
Approved by School Board: March 5, 2013
Revised by Superintendent: August 23, 2013
Approved by School Board: August 19, 2014
Approved by School Board: September 1, 2015