Maine School Administrative District No. 31
Before entering high school, students need to know the standards for attaining a high school diploma in order to plan an appropriate, sequential, educational program to meet that goal.
MSAD 31 has a standards-based system of learning, which means the awarding of a diploma will be contingent on the demonstration of proficiency in the content areas and Guiding Principles and the Learning Results as demonstrated through the accumulation of required credits.
To be awarded a high school diploma from the MSAD 31 schools, students will demonstrate proficiency in the content areas identified in Maine’s system of Learning Results, meet the cross-content performance standards set forth in the Guiding Principles of the Learning Results, and fulfill all additional graduation requirements set by the Board.
The Superintendent, through the high school principal or other designee, shall be responsible for making accurate information concerning diploma requirements available to incoming students and their parents prior to the start of their ninth grade school year. A copy of this policy will be disseminated to all incoming ninth grade students at the time of course selection. This policy will also be included in every edition of the high school student handbook.
The Board expects the Superintendent/designee to inform students and parents as soon as practicable of any additional State-imposed standards that must be met before students may be awarded a high school diploma.
I. DIPLOMA REQUIREMENTS FOR STUDENTS
Students must successfully complete a total of 22.5 credits. Of these, the following credits are required:
1. English/language arts – 4 credits;
2. Mathematics – 3 credits;
3. Social studies and history, including one year of American history and
Government – 3 credits;
4. Science, including at least one year of laboratory study –3 credits;
5. Fine arts, which may include art, music, or drama – 1 credit;
6. Health – 1 credit;
7. Physical education – 1 credit;
8. FYI – .5 credit; and
9. World Language - 1 credit
B. The remaining credits may be selected by the student based on his/her interest, satisfaction of course prerequisites, and requirements of the field that he/she plans to enter upon graduation.
C. Meet the cross-content performance standards set forth in the Guiding Principles of the Learning Results.
D. Engage in educational experiences in the content areas of English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science and Technology in each year of their high school program.
Students following a traditional pathway must be enrolled in the equivalent of six full year learning experiences/courses or integrated equivalents in each of their
high school years.
ALTERNATIVE METHODS OF EARNING CREDITS
A student who is deficient in these requirements or wishes to meet these requirements through alternative means may earn and apply credits in accordance with the provisions of this section.
A student who wishes to meet a credit requirement through an alternative method must have prior written approval as specified in this section.
A student who makes up deficiencies may participate in the next regular graduation ceremony following successful completion of all graduation requirements.
A student may earn up to two credits through an approved Adult Education Program. The student must have prior written approval from the Director of Adult Education, Guidance Counselor, Department Chair and Principal.
A student may obtain credits through summer school in classes that he/she completed but did not pass. The student must obtain prior written approval from the Guidance Counselor, Department Chair and Principal.
A student may earn up to 2 credits through distance learning/virtual courses provided 1) the course is approved in advance by the Guidance Counselor, Department Chair and Principal and 2) progress is monitored by a member of the High School’s professional staff.
Advanced courses or courses not available at the High School may be taken at other secondary schools or at approved postsecondary institutions with the approval of the Guidance Counselor and Principal.
A student may earn up to 2 credits through independent study approved by the Guidance Counselor, Department Chair and Principal and monitored by the teacher(s) of the subject(s) to which the independent study is related.
STUDENTS RECEIVING SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES
Students who achieve proficiency in meeting the content standards of the Learning Results as specified in the goals and objectives of their Individualized Education Plans (IEP), will be awarded diplomas.
MULTIPLE PATHWAYS TO THE AWARDING OF A DIPLOMA
MSAD 31’s high school educational program is designed to enable students to satisfy graduation requirements in four years through a sequence of educational (learning) experiences/courses providing opportunities to gain and demonstrate proficiency in all of the content areas of the Learning Results and in the cross-content Guiding Principles of the Learning Results.
Students may also opt to meet graduation requirements through multiple additional pathways including:
Early college/dual enrollment courses
Career and technical education programming
Apprenticeships, internships and/or field work
Alternative education/“At Risk” programming
Each pathway must provide a quality learning experience comparable in rigor to the school unit’s own educational experience (course) offerings.
In order to pursue one or more of the multiple/alternative pathways, a student must have a Personal Learning Plan detailing how the pathway will provide exposure to the content standards of the Learning Results and how the student will demonstrate proficiency in meeting the standards. The personal learning plan must be approved by the Guidance Counselor, and Principal.
STUDENTS RECEIVING SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES
Students who achieve proficiency in the content standards of the Learning Results and Guiding Principles, as specified in the goals and objectives of their Individualized Education Plans (IEP) will be awarded diplomas. An IEP modifies the means by which a student with a disability demonstrates proficiency in meeting the standards but does not modify the standards themselves.
III. ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS APPLICABLE TO THE AWARDING OF A DIPLOMA FROM PENOBSCOT VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL
This section applies to all students, in all graduation classes.
A. Transfer Students
For students who transfer from another state or from an educational program that is not required to be aligned with the content standards of the system of Learning Results, Principal shall determine the value of the student’s prior educational experience towards meeting graduation requirements.
B. Home-schooled Students
For home-schooled students wishing to receive a diploma, the Principal shall determine the value of the student’s prior educational experience toward meeting graduation credit requirements.
C. Delayed Awarding of Diplomas
A student who leaves to attend an accredited, degree-granting institution of higher education may upon satisfactory completion of the freshman year be awarded a high school diploma, provided that the student has notified the principal at the time of the early admission.
D. Early Awarding of Diplomas
A student who has met the State’s and the Board’s diploma requirements in fewer than four years of high school may be awarded a diploma.
E. Extended Study
Students are eligible for extended years of study to complete the requirements of a diploma if they have not reached the age of 20 at the start of the school year. Students eligible for extended years of study may be referred to adult education or other resources suitable to young learners. Extended study for students with disabilities shall be specified in the student’s Individualized Education Plan.
F. Certificate of Completion
The Board may provide a certificate of completion to a student who leaves school having completed four years attendance as a full-time high school student and who has earned the required credits but has not met Learning Results proficiency standards that may be mandated by the State
G. Participation in Graduation Ceremony
A student must complete all Board requirements for a high school diploma or certificate of completion in order to participate in graduation exercises.
H. Honors and Awards at Graduation
In order to be eligible for honors or awards based wholly or in part on academic achievement (e.g., valedictorian, salutatorian, class speaker, “Top 10”), a student must have been enrolled full time for two years preceding graduation. Students who do not meet this enrollment requirement will not be “ranked” for the purpose of determining eligibility for graduation honors, awards, or scholarships.
Legal Reference: 20-A M.R.S.A. § 4722-A
Ch. 127 § 7 (Me. Dept. of Ed. Rule)
Cross Reference: IHCDA – Post-Secondary Enrollment Options, IK – Student Achievement,
IKFA - Early Graduation
Updated Reading: 09/28/2017
Second Reading: 10/18/2017
First Reading: 12/19/2018
Second Reading: 01/16/2019