POLICY #6146
 
NORWICH FREE ACADEMY
GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS POLICY
  

Graduation from The Norwich Free Academy indicates that students have satisfactorily completed a prescribed course of study in accordance with their respective abilities to achieve, that they have satisfactorily met standards established by the faculty and administration, and that they have fulfilled at least the mandated minimum number and distribution of credits as established by law and the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees policy for graduation requirements meets the requirements set forth in State regulations addressing credits needed for graduation from high school.

Requirements

The Board of Trustees has established that a minimum of twenty-three (23) credits in the following distribution is required for graduation from The Norwich Free Academy:

Class of 2022
 
 Subject
Credits
 English
4
 Mathematics
3
 Social Studies
 Must include 1 in US History and .5 in Civics
3
 Science
3
 World Language
1
 Physical Education
1
 Arts or Vocational Education
1
 Electives
7
 TOTAL Credits Required
23

Class of 2023 and Beyond

 Humanities                                           
9 Total
Credits
 English
4
 Social Studies
 Must include 1 US History and .5 in Civics
3
 Humanities Elective
2
 
 STEM                                                             
 Science, Technology, Engineering, Math
 9 Total
Credits
 Math
3
 Science
3
 STEM Electives
3
 
 Other Areas                                                 
 Credits
 World Language
1
 Wellness
 Physical Education
 Health and Safety
1
1
 Mastery Based Diploma Assessment*
1
 Electives
3
 
 TOTAL Credits Required
    25

"*The Mastery Based Diploma Credit is described by the CT State Department of Education as (1) credit “toward meeting the high school graduation requirements upon the successful demonstration of mastery of the subject matter content described in this section achieved through educational experiences and opportunities that provide flexible and multiple pathways to learning, including cross-curricular graduation requirements, career and technical education, virtual learning, work-based learning, service learning, dual enrollment and early college, course taken in middle school, internships and student-designed independent studies, provided such demonstration of mastery is in accordance with such state-wide subject matter content standards.”

A credit or the equivalent is defined in the Connecticut General Statutes.

Only courses taken in grades nine through twelve, inclusive, shall satisfy The Norwich Free Academy graduation requirements except those courses as defined in the Policy for Alternative Credit and the Policy for Homebound Instruction. If all or a portion of the physical education credit requirement is not earned due to an acceptable documented medical excuse, the total credit needed for graduation shall be earned in other subject areas. Moreover, a minimum of two (2) credits must be earned at The Norwich Free Academy to satisfy graduation requirements and the graduating student must be enrolled at The Norwich Free Academy at the time of graduation.

Early Graduation

The experiences at The Norwich Free Academy are designed to develop the intellect, engage and employ the interest, and instill a passion for learning so that students may become productive and responsible. Completion of the requirements for graduation reflects minimum standards and does not necessarily signify the conclusion of the high school experience. However, early graduation from The Norwich Free Academy may be permitted under certain circumstances at the sole discretion of the Superintendent/Head of School.

The Superintendent/Head of School may consider specific criteria in a request for early graduation, determined on a case-by-case basis, including but not limited to the following:

•     Successful completion of all requirements for graduation from The Norwich Free Academy.
•     A minimum of twelve (12) credits earned at The Norwich Free Academy.
•     A minimum of four (4) semesters enrolled at The Norwich Free Academy.
•     A minimum grade point average of 2.75 (B-) or evidence of an earned grade point average commensurate with ability.
•     Documentation of acceptance to a two or four year college or university program or;
•     Documentation of acceptance to a post-secondary training program or;
•     Documentation of acceptance to the United States Armed Forces.
•     Evidence of social and academic readiness for post-secondary education or training.

Commencement Ceremonies

Participation in The Norwich Free Academy commencement ceremonies is a student privilege that is earned by meeting academic, social, and behavioral standards. Students may be denied the privilege of participation in commencement ceremonies for reasons including but not limited to the following:

•     Failure to earn a minimum of four credits during the senior year.
•     Failure to pass the equivalent of four full credit courses in the second semester of the senior year.
•     Violation of the policies and practices of The Norwich Free Academy including those published in the Pilot, The Norwich Free Academy Student Handbook.
•     Violation of standards of behavior that may be considered by The Norwich Free Academy as seriously disruptive of the educational process or endangers persons or property.

The Norwich Free Academy commencement ceremony shall be scheduled in accordance with state statutes as amended from time to time.

Awarding The Norwich Free Academy Diploma

The Norwich Free Academy offers a standard diploma and three honors diplomas to its graduates. Students must meet all established graduation requirements and earn the following GPA in all courses taken in grades 9-12:

Standard Diploma Below 3.33 GPA
Honors Diploma  3.33 – 3.49 GPA
High Honors Diploma   3.50 – 3.65 GPA
Highest Honors Diploma   3.66 GPA and above

Transfer grades from other schools shall be evaluated by the Director of Guidance in accordance with established criteria to determine which grades, if any, will be included in the student’s GPA. Students must earn minimum of six credits at the Academy to qualify for an honors (Honors, High Honors, and Highest Honors) diploma.

Students who complete all graduation requirements shall receive a diploma at the June commencement. Students who have completed all graduation requirements but were denied participation in the June commencement will receive their diploma at The Academy, or by certified mail, during the weeks following the June commencement.

Students may satisfy deficient credit requirements for graduation in the following ways, including, but not limited to, successful completion of summer school, successful completion of an approved tutorial program at parent expense, and/or application to the sending school district for an additional semester(s) at The Norwich Free Academy.

The Norwich Free Academy may award the high school diploma, on a case-by-case basis, to individuals who withdrew from school to join the Armed Forces providing the individual was honorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces after a minimum of ninety days of active service during World War II.

Exceptions

Exceptions to this policy, excluding the number and distribution of credit requirements for graduation, may be made by the Superintendent/Head of School or designee on the basis of supporting physical, psychological, and/or educational evidence. If a special education student is being considered for an exemption to the graduation requirements policy a Planning and Placement Team, including a representative from The Norwich Free Academy, shall be convened by the sending town.

 

Legal Reference:          Connecticut General Statutes
10-221a. High School Graduation Requirements 10-16(l). Graduation exercises
10-14n. Statewide Mastery Examination
10-233a. Promotion and Graduation Policies.
See Also:                      The Norwich Free Academy Policy For Alternative Credit
The Norwich Free Academy Policy For Homebound Instruction The Norwich Free Academy Policy For Home Schooling
Policy Adopted:           May 15, 2001
Policy Revised:            September 17, 2002
January 20, 2004
April 22, 2008
November 17, 2009
July 17, 2014
February 16, 2021
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