Wilkes County Schools

Skip to main content
Mobile Menu
Empowering youth to lead and succeed in the global community.
Public Notice
3000 Series - Educational Programs » 3460 Graduation Requirements

3460 Graduation Requirements

The Wilkes County Board of Education recognizes the importance of setting rigorous graduation requirements to help ensure that students are receiving an education that will prepare them to be career and college ready and productive members of society.
In order to graduate from high school, students must meet the following requirements:
1. successful completion of all course unit requirements mandated by the State Board of Education (see Section A);
2. beginning in the 2014-15 school year, successful completion of cardiopulmonary resuscitation instruction and pass a skills test; and
3. successful completion of 28 course credits and all other requirements mandated by the board, as provided in this policy.
4. successful completion of a Graduation Project.
The principal shall ensure that students and parents are aware of all graduation requirements. Guidance program staff shall assist students in selecting their high school courses to ensure that students are taking all of the required units and selecting electives consistent with their post- graduation plans. For students who have transferred to the school system during high school or who, for other reasons, have completed course work outside of the school system, the principal shall determine what course work will be applied as credit toward graduation. The principal shall consider the requirements of the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children (G.S. 115C-407.5) and the requirements of subsection C.3 of this policy in determining the graduation requirements for children of military families.
All students must fulfill the course unit requirements of the Future-Ready Core Course of Study unless they are approved for a special circumstance detailed in section C of this policy. In accordance with policy 3101, Dual Enrollment, and State Board of Education requirements, students may earn high school credit for college courses completed. In addition, students may earn credit for certain high school courses in the Future-Ready Core Course of Study completed while in middle school, as authorized by the State Board of Education. Students also have the opportunity to meet course unit requirements without completing the regular period of classroom instruction by demonstrating mastery of the course material in accordance with policy 3420, Student Promotion and Accountability, and State Board of Education requirements. Students may earn one or two units of credit upon successful completion of a course, depending on how the course is offered.
All awards of high school course credit must be consistent with State Board of Education requirements.
Any inconsistency between board policy and State Board graduation requirements will be resolved by following the State Board requirements. While the board endeavors to keep its policy up to date with current State Board of Education graduation requirements, students should verify current requirements with their guidance counselors when planning course schedules or making other decisions based on graduation requirements. Students may graduate and receive a high school diploma when a combination of the following state and local requirements are met:
1. Future-Ready Core Course of Study Credits Required for Students Entering Ninth Grade for the First Time in 2012-2013 and Thereafter
Courses Required* State Requirements Local Requirements
English 4 sequential (English I. II. III and IV)  4
Mathematics 4 (Math I, II, and III land a fourth math course aligned with the student's post-high school plans.)** (A principal may exempt a student from this math sequence. Exempt students will be required to pass Math I and II and two other application-based math courses.)•••  4
Science  3 (a physical science course, Biology, and earth/environmental science) 3
Social Studies  4 (including American History: Founding Principles, Civics, and Economics; American History Parts I and II ; and World History)****  4
Health/P.E. 1 1
Electives  6 (2 electives must be any combination of Career and Technical Education, Arts Education, or World Language; 4 must be from one of the following: Career and Technical Education, J.R.O.T.C., Arts Education, or any other subject area or cross- disciplinary course. A four-course concentration is recommended.)*****  11- five approved by Wilkes County BOE or from NC Standard Course of Study
Total Credits  22 28******
*Certain International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) courses will satisfy specific graduation requirements. See SBE policy GCS-L-008.
•• Students entering ninth grade for the first time prior to the 2014-15 school year have alternate math course options. See SBE policy GCS-N-004.
•••Students seeking to complete minimum course requirements for UNC universities must complete four mathematics courses, including a fourth math course with Math III a prerequisite.
•••• American History: Founding Principles, Civics and Economics must follow the North Carolina Standard Course of Study (NCSCOS) in its entirety and may not be satisfied by an AP/IB course, dual enrollment, or any other course that does not fully address the NCSCOS.
••••• Students seeking to complete minimum course requirements for UNC universities must complete two years of a second language.
•••••• Students may earn course credit for the successful completion of courses through a university, community college, or distance learning. (See Wilkes County Board of Education Policy 3101: Dual Enrollment and Policy 3102: Online Instruction) 
2. Future-Ready Occupational Course of Study Credits Required (only available to certain students with disabilities who have an IEP)
Courses Required State Requirements Local Requirements
English 4 (including Occupational English I, II, III, and IV) 4
Mathematics 3 (including OCS Introduction to Math I, OCS Math I, and one of the following: Alternate Math II, Personal Finance, or Financial Management) 3
Science  2 (including Applied Science and Biology)  2
Social Studies 2 (including American History I and II) 2
 Health/P.E. 1 1
Career/Technical 4 (Vocational Education electives) 4
Occupational Preparation 6 (including Occupational Preparation I, II, III, and IV; for students entering ninth grade in 2013-14 or earlier, this requires this requires 300 hours of school-based training, 240 hours of community-based training, and 360 hours of paid employment; for students entering ninth grade in 2014-15 or after, this requires 150 hours of school-based training, 225 hours of community based training, and 225 hours of paid employment*) 6 5- five approved by Wilkes County BOE or from NC Standard Course of Study 
Electives 0  
Other Requirements
• Completion of IBP objectives
• Career Portfolio
Total Credits
*Paid employment is the expectation; however, when paid employment is not available, 225 hours of unpaid vocational training, unpaid internship experience, paid employment at community rehabilitation facilities, and volunteer and/or community service hours may substitute for 225 hours of paid employment.
**Students may earn course credit for the successful completion of courses through a university, community college, or distance learning. (See Wilkes County Board of Education Policy 3101: Dual Enrollment and Policy 3102: Online Instruction) 
High school students must take all end-of-course (EOC) tests, NC Final Exams, and Career and Technical Education State Assessments (CTE Post-Assessments) required by the State Board of Education and pursuant to policy 3410, Testing and Assessment Program. Students shall successfully complete required courses adopted by the North Carolina State Board of Education and administered by Wilkes County Schools.
The board adopts the following policies with regard to graduation.
1. Honor Graduates
Honor graduates may be designated by principals on the basis of criteria established by the superintendent. Recognition of honor graduates may be included in graduation programs.
2. Students with Disabilities
Graduation requirements must be applied to students with disabilities to the extent required by state and federal law and State Board policy.
3. Children of Military Families
In order to facilitate the on-time graduation of children of military families, the board adopts the following policy provisions for students to whom the Interstate Compact on Educational Specific course work required for graduation will be waived if similar course work has been satisfactorily completed in another school system. If a waiver is not granted, school administrators shall provide the student with reasonable justification for the denial. If a waiver is not granted to a student who would qualify to graduate from the sending school, the superintendent or designee shall provide the student with an alternative means of acquiring the required course work so that the student may graduate on time. 
Opportunity for Military Children applies.
a. Waiver Requirements
b. Testing Requirements for Graduation
The superintendent shall accept the following in lieu of any local testing requirements for graduation: (1) the end-of-course exams required for graduation from the sending state; (2) national norm-referenced achievement tests; or (3) alternative testing. If these alternatives are not feasible for a student who has transferred in his or her senior year, subsection c below will apply.
c. Transfers During Senior Year
If a child of a military family who has transferred at the beginning of or during his or her senior year is ineligible to graduate from the school system after all of the alternatives listed above have been considered and the student meets the graduation requirements at his or her sending then school officials from the school system shall collaborate with the sending school system to ensure that the student will receive a diploma from the sending board of education.
4. Differentiated High School Diploma
Wilkes County Schools offers a differentiated diploma program at each of the high schools for students who are at risk of dropping out of school and/or who have faced a life-altering hardship (example: serious illness) which has had a detrimental effect on their education. The differentiated diploma is a standard North Carolina high school diploma requiring students to complete applicable minimum North Carolina Graduation requirements.
5. Diploma Endorsements
Students have the opportunity to earn one or more of the following diploma endorsements identifying a particular area of focused study: (1) Career Endorsement, (2) College Endorsement (two options), (3) North Carolina Academic Scholars Endorsement, and/or (4) a Global Languages Endorsement. No endorsement is required to receive a diploma. 
Legal References: G.S. l 15C-47, -81, -174.11, -276, -288, -407.5; State Board of Education Policies GCS-C-003, GCS-L-007, GCS-M-001, GCS-N-004, -010
Cross References: Goals and Objectives of the Educational Program (policy 3000), Dual Enrollment (policy 3101), Online Instruction (policy 3102), Testing and Assessment Program (policy 3410), Student Promotion and Accountability (policy 3420), Citizenship and Character Education (policy 3530), Children of Military Families (policy 4050)
Adopted: May 17, 2004
Revised: June 8, 2009, June 7, 2010, June 4 2012, August 4, 2014, August 1, 2016