Section 1003.428, Florida Statutes 2009
1003.428 General requirements for high school graduation; revised.--
(1) Except as otherwise authorized pursuant to s. 1003.429, beginning with students entering their first year of high school in the 2007-2008 school year, graduation requires the successful completion of a minimum of 24 credits, an International Baccalaureate curriculum, or an Advanced International Certificate of Education curriculum. Students must be advised of eligibility requirements for state scholarship programs and postsecondary admissions.
(2) The 24 credits may be earned through applied, integrated, and combined courses approved by the Department of Education and shall be distributed as follows:
(a) Sixteen core curriculum credits:
1. Four credits in English, with major concentration in composition, reading for information, and literature.
2. Four credits in mathematics, one of which must be Algebra I, a series of courses equivalent to Algebra I, or a higher-level mathematics course. School districts are encouraged to set specific goals to increase enrollments in, and successful completion of, geometry and Algebra II.
3. Three credits in science, two of which must have a laboratory component.
4. Three credits in social studies as follows: one credit in American history; one credit in world history; one-half credit in economics; and one-half credit in American government.
5. One credit in fine or performing arts, speech and debate, or a practical arts course that incorporates artistic content and techniques of creativity, interpretation, and imagination. Eligible practical arts courses shall be identified through the Course Code Directory.
6. One credit in physical education to include integration of health. Participation in an interscholastic sport at the junior varsity or varsity level for two full seasons shall satisfy the one-credit requirement in physical education if the student passes a competency test on personal fitness with a score of "C" or better. The competency test on personal fitness must be developed by the Department of Education. A district school board may not require that the one credit in physical education be taken during the 9th grade year. Completion of one semester with a grade of "C" or better in a marching band class, in a physical activity class that requires participation in marching band activities as an extracurricular activity, or in a dance class shall satisfy one-half credit in physical education or one-half credit in performing arts. This credit may not be used to satisfy the personal fitness requirement or the requirement for adaptive physical education under an individual education plan (IEP) or 504 plan. Completion of 2 years in a Reserve Officer Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) class, a significant component of which is drills, shall satisfy the one-credit requirement in physical education and the one-credit requirement in performing arts. This credit may not be used to satisfy the personal fitness requirement or the requirement for adaptive physical education under an individual education plan (IEP) or 504 plan.
(b) Eight credits in majors, minors, or electives:
1. Four credits in a major area of interest, such as sequential courses in a career and technical program, fine and performing arts, or academic content area, selected by the student as part of the education plan required by s. 1003.4156. Students may revise major areas of interest each year as part of annual course registration processes and should update their education plan to reflect such revisions. Annually by October 1, the district school board shall approve major areas of interest and submit the list of majors to the Commissioner of Education for approval. Each major area of interest shall be deemed approved unless specifically rejected by the commissioner within 60 days. Upon approval, each district's major areas of interest shall be available for use by all school districts and shall be posted on the department's website.
2. Four credits in elective courses selected by the student as part of the education plan required by s. 1003.4156. These credits may be combined to allow for a second major area of interest pursuant to subparagraph 1., a minor area of interest, elective courses, or intensive reading or mathematics intervention courses as described in this subparagraph.
a. Minor areas of interest are composed of three credits selected by the student as part of the education plan required by s. 1003.4156 and approved by the district school board.
b. Elective courses are selected by the student in order to pursue a complete education program as described in s. 1001.41(3) and to meet eligibility requirements for scholarships.
c. For each year in which a student scores at Level l on FCAT Reading, the student must be enrolled in and complete an intensive reading course the following year. Placement of Level 2 readers in either an intensive reading course or a content area course in which reading strategies are delivered shall be determined by diagnosis of reading needs. The department shall provide guidance on appropriate strategies for diagnosing and meeting the varying instructional needs of students reading below grade level. Reading courses shall be designed and offered pursuant to the comprehensive reading plan required by s. 1011.62(9).
d. For each year in which a student scores at Level 1 or Level 2 on FCAT Mathematics, the student must receive remediation the following year. These courses may be taught through applied, integrated, or combined courses and are subject to approval by the department for inclusion in the Course Code Directory.
(3)(a) A district school board may require specific courses and programs of study within the minimum credit requirements for high school graduation and shall modify basic courses, as necessary, to assure exceptional students the opportunity to meet the graduation requirements for a standard diploma, using one of the following strategies:
1. Assignment of the exceptional student to an exceptional education class for instruction in a basic course with the same student performance standards as those required of nonexceptional students in the district school board student progression plan; or
2. Assignment of the exceptional student to a basic education class for instruction that is modified to accommodate the student's exceptionality.
(b) The district school board shall determine which of these strategies to employ based upon an assessment of the student's needs and shall reflect this decision in the student's individual education plan.
(4) Each district school board shall establish standards for graduation from its schools, which must include:
(a) Successful completion of the academic credit or curriculum requirements of subsections (1) and (2).
(b) Earning passing scores on the FCAT, as defined in s. 1008.22(3)(c), or scores on a standardized test that are concordant with passing scores on the FCAT as defined in s. 1008.22(10).
(c) Completion of all other applicable requirements prescribed by the district school board pursuant to s. 1008.25.
(d) Achievement of a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale, or its equivalent, in the courses required by this section.
Each district school board shall adopt policies designed to assist students in meeting the requirements of this subsection. These policies may include, but are not limited to: forgiveness policies, summer school or before or after school attendance, special counseling, volunteers or peer tutors, school-sponsored help sessions, homework hotlines, and study skills classes. Forgiveness policies for required courses shall be limited to replacing a grade of "D" or "F," or the equivalent of a grade of "D" or "F," with a grade of "C" or higher, or the equivalent of a grade of "C" or higher, earned subsequently in the same or comparable course. Forgiveness policies for elective courses shall be limited to replacing a grade of "D" or "F," or the equivalent of a grade of "D" or "F," with a grade of "C" or higher, or the equivalent of a grade of "C" or higher, earned subsequently in another course. The only exception to these forgiveness policies shall be made for a student in the middle grades who takes any high school course for high school credit and earns a grade of "C," "D," or "F" or the equivalent of a grade of "C," "D," or "F." In such case, the district forgiveness policy must allow the replacement of the grade with a grade of "C" or higher, or the equivalent of a grade of "C" or higher, earned subsequently in the same or comparable course. In all cases of grade forgiveness, only the new grade shall be used in the calculation of the student's grade point average. Any course grade not replaced according to a district school board forgiveness policy shall be included in the calculation of the cumulative grade point average required for graduation.
(5) The State Board of Education, after a public hearing and consideration, shall adopt rules based upon the recommendations of the commissioner for the provision of test accommodations and modifications of procedures as necessary for students with disabilities which will demonstrate the student's abilities rather than reflect the student's impaired sensory, manual, speaking, or psychological process skills.
(6) The public hearing and consideration required in subsection (5) shall not be construed to amend or nullify the requirements of security relating to the contents of examinations or assessment instruments and related materials or data as prescribed in s. 1008.23.
(7)(a) A student who meets all requirements prescribed in subsections (1), (2), (3), and (4) shall be awarded a standard diploma in a form prescribed by the State Board of Education.
(b) A student who completes the minimum number of credits and other requirements prescribed by subsections (1), (2), and (3), but who is unable to meet the standards of paragraph (4)(b), paragraph (4)(c), or paragraph (4)(d), shall be awarded a certificate of completion in a form prescribed by the State Board of Education. However, any student who is otherwise entitled to a certificate of completion may elect to remain in the secondary school either as a full-time student or a part-time student for up to 1 additional year and receive special instruction designed to remedy his or her identified deficiencies.
(8)(a) Each district school board must provide instruction to prepare students with disabilities to demonstrate proficiency in the core content knowledge and skills necessary for successful grade-to-grade progression and high school graduation.
(b) A student with a disability, as defined in s. 1007.02(2), for whom the individual education plan (IEP) committee determines that the FCAT cannot accurately measure the student's abilities taking into consideration all allowable accommodations, shall have the FCAT requirement of paragraph (4)(b) waived for the purpose of receiving a standard high school diploma, if the student:
1. Completes the minimum number of credits and other requirements prescribed by subsections (1), (2), and (3).
2. Does not meet the requirements of paragraph (4)(b) after one opportunity in 10th grade and one opportunity in 11th grade.
(9) The Commissioner of Education may award a standard high school diploma to honorably discharged veterans who started high school between 1937 and 1946 and were scheduled to graduate between 1941 and 1950 but were inducted into the United States Armed Forces between September 16, 1940, and December 31, 1946, prior to completing the necessary high school graduation requirements. Upon the recommendation of the commissioner, the State Board of Education may develop criteria and guidelines for awarding such diplomas.
(10) The Commissioner of Education may award a standard high school diploma to honorably discharged veterans who started high school between 1946 and 1950 and were scheduled to graduate between 1950 and 1954, but were inducted into the United States Armed Forces between June 27, 1950, and January 31, 1955, and served during the Korean Conflict prior to completing the necessary high school graduation requirements. Upon the recommendation of the commissioner, the State Board of Education may develop criteria and guidelines for awarding such diplomas.
(11) The State Board of Education may adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement the provisions of this section and may enforce the provisions of this section pursuant to s. 1008.32.
History.--s. 23, ch. 2006-74; s. 6, ch. 2007-234; s. 180, ch. 2008-4; s. 7, ch. 2008-235.