Districts are authorized to waive up to two credits of the 24-credit graduation requirements (WAC 180-51-068), according to written district policies. Students with the waiver may graduate with 22, rather than 24, total credits, although students must earn the 17 foundational (core) subject area credits.
Two Credit Waiver
What is the 2-credit waiver for student circumstances?
How has recent legislation, HB 1599, changed the 2-credit waiver?
The original legislation described the waiver as being for “unusual circumstances,” but did not define “unusual.” Some districts found this wording problematic because circumstances that might warrant a waiver, such as limited English proficiency, might not locally be an unusual circumstance. The new legislation replaced “unusual circumstances” with “a student’s circumstances,” giving districts greater latitude in applying the waiver.
The legislation also clarified in statute that foundational core credits may not be waived. This change placed in statute what had already been placed in rule (WAC 180-51-068). Credits that may be waived are the seven elective credits (four electives and three Personalized Pathway Requirements--one of two arts credits, and both world language credits).
Which students may apply for the waiver?
Student eligibility is determined by local district policy. The 2-credit waiver is part of the 24-credit graduation requirements (WAC 180-51-068), and is available to eligible individual students whose state graduation requirements are the 24-credit requirements (WAC 180-51-068). Student circumstances that districts could identify as considerations for the waiver could include homelessness, limited English proficiency, medical conditions, disabilities, inability to retake classes or enroll in remedial classes free of charge, or any other individual student circumstance that directly compromises a student’s ability to learn.
For districts that have a waiver to delay implementation of the 24-credit requirements for two year until the Class of 2021, the waiver would not be available to students in the Classes of 2019 and 2020.
Where can the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA) model policy be found, and will it still apply with the changes in HB 1599?
The Washington State School Directors Association developed a model policy (Policy #2418) for the Waiver of High School Graduation Credits. More information may be obtained through WSSDA’s Policy and Legal Office.
The model policy may still apply, however, the model policy refers to “unusual circumstances.” Districts may wish to update the language in the policy, if it had been adopted by the district previously.