Commencement Policies

High school commencement ceremonies shall be held to recognize those students who have earned a diploma of high school graduation or certificate of completion by successfully completing the requirements set by district policies. The Board of Trustees believes that these students deserve a public celebration that recognizes the significance of their achievement and encourages them to continue the pursuit of learning throughout their lives.
(cf. 3260 - Fees and Charges)
(cf. 6011 - Academic Standards)
(cf. 6143 - Courses of Study)
(cf. 6146.1 - High School Graduation Requirements)
(cf. 6162.52 - High School Exit Examination)
(cf. 6146.4 - Differential Graduation and Competency Standards for Students with Disabilities)
Disciplinary Considerations
In order to encourage high standards of student conduct and behavior, the principal may deny a student the privilege of participating in commencement ceremonies and/or activities in accordance with school rules. School rules shall ensure that prior to denial of the privilege(s), the student, and where practicable his/her parent/guardian, is made aware of the grounds for such denial and that the student is given an opportunity to respond to the proposed denial. If privilege(s) are to be denied, the student and parent/guardian shall receive written notice of the denied privilege and the means whereby he/she may appeal this decision.
To participate in commencement ceremonies, a four-year senior must have:
  1. Maintained 90 percent attendance of the days enrolled in a district secondary school.
  2. Attained the required number of high school units. Any senior who does not pass all of his/her courses required for graduation will not participate in the graduation ceremony.
  3. Paid all bills or debts to the school district.
  4. No more than one out-of-school suspension (any length of time) during the senior year.
  5. No time on expulsion during the senior year.
  6. No transfer to or from any alternative program (alternative programs are those which also grant diplomas of high school graduation or certificates of completion) during the second semester of the senior year 
  7. Earned 50 units in the senior year. (If mid-term graduate, earned 25 units during Fall Semester)
  8. Maintained enrollment in all (five or more) classes in each semester attended during the senior year. (No unscheduled time while on campus.) Fifth year students are not required to enroll in five classes.
  9. Must not be on restriction (due to citizenship or attendance reasons) from school activities at the time of ceremony.
A student shall participate in the commencement ceremony and receive a diploma of high school graduation or certificate of completion from the school where he/she completes the requirements for the diploma or certificate.
(cf. 5125.2 - Withholding Grades, Diploma or Transcripts)
(cf. 5144 - Discipline)
(cf. 6161.2 - Damaged or Lost Instructional Materials)
Honors and Awards
Foreign exchange students may receive honorary diplomas during the commencement ceremony. (Education Code 51225.5)
(cf. 6145.6 - International Exchange)
Legal Reference:
38119 Lease of personal property; caps and gowns
48904 Liability of parent or guardian; withholding of grades, diplomas, transcripts
51225.5 Honorary diplomas; foreign exchange students
51400-51403 Elementary school diploma
51410-51412 Diplomas
Cole v. Oroville Union High School District, (2000, 9th Cir.) 228 F.3d 1092
Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, (2000) 530 U.S. 290
Lee v. Weisman, (1992) 112 S.Ct. 2649
Sands v. Morongo Unified School District, (1991) 53 Cal. 3d 863
Lemon v. Kurtzman, (1971) 403 U.S. 602
Management Resources:
Granting credit for passing GED, SPB:88/89-11
California Department of Education:
Attendance Policy for Commencement Ceremony Participation
Attendance Requirements: To be eligible for commencement, student must attend 90 percent of the days they are enrolled. (A student cannot miss more than 18 days per year).
The exceptions to the requirements are as follows:
  1. Illness verified with a doctor’s note. If the illness is of a long-term nature, a doctor’s excuse must be renewed each quarter, or upon request. (A home teacher may be requested).
  2. Quarantine directed by a county or city health officer.
  3. Subpoena/jury duty – would be on a daily basis.
  4. Attending funeral service of a member of the student’s immediate family (parents/guardians, grandparents, siblings).
                a. One day in California
                b. Three days out of state
Make-Up of Absence
Summer school attendance will be utilized for make-up for less than the 90 percent attendance in the previous years of enrollment. Students who choose not to exercise this option, run the risk of being ineligible for commencement their senior year.
  1. All make-ups must have prior administrative (designee) approval.
  2. A student must take and complete 10 units of credit.
  3. Twenty-five days of attendance shall be the maximum granted for absence make-up.
Regulation approved: August 11, 2005