1. Know the requirements for graduation. Check your school district’s Web site or the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Web site, or call your district for details.
2. Explain why it’s important to graduate from high school, and share success stories from family and friends. Talk about hopes and dreams and how earning a diploma can help make them real.
3. Stay in the loop. Talk to your child frequently about how he or she is progressing. Weekly meetings and a checklist are good ideas.
4. Talk to teachers and counselors about how your child is doing and ask what you can do to help.
5. Remember that meeting the state’s graduation requirements is hard work. Provide your child with a quiet place to get homework done and make sure he or she knows it’s Job One.
6. Have fun. The work is hard, but the senior year can be enjoyable for students and their families. If you work together and enjoy activities along the way, it will be easier for everyone. Here are the general requirements Washington high school students must meet to graduate in 2008. Some specifics vary by district, and rules differ for special-education students.
What students must do to graduate in 2008
There are many alternativies to passing the WASL; students should consult their school district or the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for details. Here’s a summary of the alternatives: Earn high enough scores on college entrance or Advanced Placement exams; compile classwork samples called a “collection of evidence” to demonstrate competency; earn grades comparable to those of other students who passed the WASL.
The rules will change for the classes of 2009 and beyond.
Pass reading, writing and math on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning OR a state-approved alternative demonstrating knowledge. This yields a high school diploma and a Certificate of Academic Achievement.
Pass reading and writing on the WASL OR a state-approved alternative AND, if a student failed the math WASL, meet the math requirement by passing a yearlong course in the subject after 11th grade. The student must also retake the math WASL. A student who fails the test but passes two semesters of math as a senior will earn a diploma.
Meet minimum credit requirements established by the school district. These might be higher than the state minimum.
Complete a “culminating” or senior project demonstrating knowledge and skills in a variety of ways. The requirements vary by district, but typical projects include a research paper, an oral presentation and an internship or community service on a topic of the student’s interest.
Write a “high school and beyond plan” that details the student’s plans for the year following graduation. Seniors should have been working on this since ninth grade. The rules on these also vary from district to district.
• For a complete list of the state’s high school graduation requirements and ways to help students meet them, go to www.k12.wa.us, then click on graduation requirements. For graduation requirements in Spanish, Tagalog, Cambodian, Russian, Vietnamese, Korean, Somali or Ukranian, go to www.k12.wa.us/cisl/K-12/GradRequirements.aspx.