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High School Planning Guide

Graduation Requirements

Graduation from high school is a culminating event that results from the foundations built at the elementary and middle levels. Graduation represents the culmination of collaborative effort at all levels in a student’s public school career. Each level of school and each staff member or parent/guardian who instructs or counsels a student shares responsibility for the ultimate ability of that student to demonstrate proficiency in the content standards and to meet the expectations for graduation. 

Graduation requirements are established to ensure high academic standards for the Eagle County Schools. Any student who meets these requirements shall be awarded a diploma. Graduation requirements are based on the needs of the students, the expectations of the School District, and guidelines of the Colorado Department of Education. They are designed for all students and should meet the needs of both college and non-college bound students. 

It is the intention of the Board of Education that these requirements will constitute the minimum number and rigor of courses that will lead to graduation from the Eagle County School District. It is expected that the large majority of students will pursue a course of study that exceeds this minimum. 

Multiple Pathways 

Graduation requirements should provide appropriate challenge and opportunity for students of all ability levels. The District defines graduation criteria for the following: Standard Diploma and College Prep Diploma. All pathways are available for students with special needs (SpEd, ESL, 504, Medical Conditions) depending on the option designated in the student’s individual learning plan and the amount of modifications required. 

Students must meet all of the following criteria to qualify for an ECS diploma: 

1. A total of 24 credits must be earned. A credit is defined as the amount of credit received for the successful completion of an ECS Board approved course. Credits must be earned in the following content areas: 

+ This table defines the minimum number of credits required in various subjects of study. To reach 24 credits required to graduate, students may fulfill the remaining balance with any courses that match their post-secondary goals for college and career readiness. 

2. To earn a diploma approved by the Colorado Department of Education a student must prove college and career readiness by demonstrating competency in core subjects using criteria established by the Colorado Board of Education. (beginning with the class of 2022)

  1. Completion of the Individual Career and Academic Plan, known as the ICAP. Required by state statute for every ninth through twelfth grade student (or in the years required for a student to graduate), the ICAP is designed to assist a student and his or her parent or legal guardian in exploring the postsecondary career and educational opportunities available to the student, aligning course work and curriculum, applying to postsecondary education institutions, securing financial aid, and ultimately entering the workforce. 

  2. Demonstration of 21st Century skills. The skills include critical thinking and reasoning, information literacy, collaboration, self‐direction, and invention. These skills are embedded in the Colorado Academic Standards. As a result, students’ successful completion of coursework and/or other learning experiences aligned to the Colorado Academic Standards may provide one method for students to demonstrate 21st Century skills. Student engagement in and completion of extracurricular activities, service learning experiences, capstone projects, and other student demonstrations may also serve as demonstrations of 21st Century skills. 

Credit from other institutions and home-based programs 

All students entering from outside the district must meet district graduation requirements. Transfer students must submit transcripts for review to the registrar at the perspective ECS high school they plan to attend. Transcripts will be reviewed to determine which classes transfer, the value of those transfer credits, and the accompanying GPA translation. 

The District provides credit bearing online courses through World Academy, which fulfill ECS graduation requirements. Therefore, students currently enrolled in Eagle County School district schools who wish to obtain credit from outside institutions, or through online programs, must have prior approval from the principal. Eagle County high schools may accept a limited number of online credits from online providers not supervised by ECS teachers, based on principal discretion. 

The district shall consider transcripts from home-based educational programs. In order to determine whether courses and grades earned are consistent with district requirements and district academic standards, the district may require submission of the student’s work or other proof of academic performance for each course for which credit toward graduation is sought. In addition, the district may administer testing to the student to verify the accuracy of the student's transcripts. The district may reject any transcripts that cannot be verified through such testing. 

Alternate education/Independent Study plans to meet individual academic needs may be approved by the principal in consultation with appropriate school and District Office staff. 


Non-immigrant Foreign Students (Foreign Exchange) 

Non-immigrant foreign student who enroll through a one-year exchange program are not eligible to graduate from a district high school. 


Student course load 

The course load for freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors shall be a minimum of 7 credits per school year. Students who wish to take fewer credits in any given school year must obtain advance permission from the principal. 

Graduation requirements of the Eagle County School District are based on the units of credit earned in grades 9-12. A unit of credit (.5) is defined as the amount of credit earned for the successful completion of a full semester course. Semester courses shall be counted as .5 credit. Quarter courses shall be counted as .25 credit. 



Upon completion of these graduation requirements, the student may participate in the year-end graduation ceremony of the school from which the final credits were gained. A student is not eligible to participate in the graduation ceremony from the school from which he/she transferred. Students must be in attendance during the current school year and receive credit in the current year to graduate in that year. ECS students who travel abroad in approved exchange programs or Fasttrack Programs will be able to graduate with their class in which he/she was previously enrolled. Principals have the ultimate discretion to determine who participates in graduation ceremonies. 


Years of Attendance 

The District believes that most students benefit from four years of high school experience and are encouraged not to graduate early. However, in some cases, students need the challenge provided by post-secondary education or other opportunities at an earlier age. Therefore, the principal may grant permission to students wishing to graduate early, provided the student has met all the district graduation and timeline requirements.