The practice of facilitating completion of the high school graduation requirements in fewer than four years for the purpose of providing earlier than typical access to post-secondary educational opportunities.
Early graduation involves the moving of a student through the chronological educational process more quickly and includes practices such as grade skipping and concurrent enrollment.
Although certain instructional practices can provide meaningful educational experiences for students, there are situations in which these strategies are insufficient for supporting a student in fulfilling his or her academic potential. In such instances, early graduation may be considered as a viable option.
Guidelines and Procedures
A student may initially be referred for possible early graduation by a parent or legal guardian, professional staff member, school administrator, or through self-nomination to the building principal or student’s guidance counselor. Referral forms will be located in the counseling office.
The building principal or counselor will then convene the student’s education team, which must be comprised of, the counselor, student, student’s parent(s) or legal guardian but which also may include classroom teacher(s), school psychologist and/or district gifted coordinator, for an evaluation.
Evaluation of students referred for possible early high school graduation should be based upon past academic performance, measures of achievement based on state academic content standards, and successful completion of Sycamore graduation requirements.
Consideration should also be given to the student’s own thoughts on possible early graduation. Means of accessing grade acceleration and early graduation may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- receipt of high school credit for district approved high school level classes taken at the junior high or prior (approved through the student’s GIST team)
- participation in district-approved summer enrichment programs such as those offered at Northwestern University or John Hopkins University
- participation in formal independent study coursework offered in partnership with universities
- dual credit
- Post Secondary Education Options (PSEOP).
The student should confer with his/her counselor regarding this option and the student’s education team must approve, in writing, all independent and external course work and credits prior to participation in this educational option. A total of six credits may be accrued through independent study or external sources as per Board policy.
Following a review of the above, the student’s education team will make a recommendation to the principal and the student’s parent(s) or legal guardian regarding the request for early graduation.
For those students planning on meeting the graduation requirements in less than 3 years of attendance at the high school, a Written Acceleration Plan (WAP) will be created outlining the timeline and means of acquiring the necessary credits to meet state of Ohio and Sycamore graduation requirements.
The Written Acceleration Plan will be included in the student’s cumulative file. An early graduation application will be completed at the appropriate time.
For students recommended for early graduation, an annual review of the Written Acceleration Plan shall take place every spring as part of the scheduling process. By April, prior to the year seeking early graduation, a student and parent or legal guardian must apply in writing to the student’s counselor.
The evaluation process for possible early graduation shall be concluded within 90 days of receipt of the student and parent’s request/written permission to evaluate. The student’s parent or legal guardian shall be notified in writing of the outcome of the evaluation process within 90 days of receipt of the parent’s written permission.
The student’s parent or legal guardian may appeal the decision of the student’s education team to the Superintendent in writing within 30 days of being notified of the committee’s decision.
The Superintendent shall review the appeal and notify the parent or legal guardian who filed the appeal of his or her final decision within 30 days of receiving the appeal.
The Superintendent’s decision shall be final. However, the student may be referred and evaluated again at the next available opportunity if he or she is again referred for evaluation.