A Smithfield High School diploma recognizes students who have met Rhode Island and Smithfield graduation requirements. These graduation requirements are designed to prepare students to become proficient, life-long learners in order to successfully pursue post-secondary academic and career goals. Only students who demonstrate fulfillment of these graduation requirements shall participate in the graduation ceremony and receive a diploma.

I. Requirements

  1. Completion of 22 coursework credits:

    1. English Language Arts - 4 credits

    2. Mathematics - 4 credits

    3. Science - 3 credits

    4. History/Social Studies - 3 credits

    5. Physical Education/Health - 2 credits

    6. Fine Arts - .5 credit

    7. Technology/STEAM - .5 credit

    8. Personal Finance - .5 credit

    9. Electives - 4.5 credits

  2. Designation of proficiency or better on a digital Graduation Portfolio, which includes a collection of performance assessments that document a student’s academic performance over time and demonstrate deep content knowledge and applied learning skills.

  3. Successful completion of fifteen (15) hours of career exploration. The purpose of career exploration is to provide students with the opportunity to experience a potential career interest in a real-world environment.

  4. A score of proficiency or better on senior demonstration. This presentation, made before a panel of school and community judges, provides students with the opportunity to communicate how their experience at Smithfield High School will continue to impact them, their community, and the world around them.

II. Council Designations

The following three Council Designations have been adopted by the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education and will be made available to students who meet the defined criteria for each, beginning with the graduating Class of 2021:

  1. The Commissioner’s Seal Council Designation certifies that a student is proficient in standards aligned to high school expectations in English Language Arts and Mathematics, as confirmed by his/her performance on a state-approved assessment.

  2. The Seal of Biliteracy Council Designation certifies that a student has demonstrated skill in the use of the English language and one or more other world languages.

  3. The Pathway Endorsement Council Designation certifies that a student has accomplished deep learning in a chosen area of interest and is prepared for employment or further education in a career path.

III. Special Education Considerations

Smithfield Public Schools believes that all students who successfully complete established and approved graduation requirements outlined in collaboration with school officials deserve a high school diploma. Students with an IEP who complete the standard or modified graduation requirements, approved by the IEP Team, will receive a diploma that does not differentiate from the diploma received by students who do not have disabilities. Students who achieve modified proficiency standards applied to coursework requirements and who are eligible for the alternate assessment or who require significant interventions and supports under federal law, state rules and regulations, and as noted in the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) may, at LEA discretion, be awarded a diploma.

A student who has an active Individual Education Plan (IEP), may be eligible for a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) until the age of twenty-one. Eligible students who meet these criteria may opt to participate in graduation ceremonies at the end of their fourth year of high school, or during the year in which they turn twenty-one years of age.

The IEP team will notify the high school principal prior to January of the school year in which the student wishes to participate in graduation activities and ceremonies. Participation in graduation activities and ceremonies under this policy will not affect a student’s right to receive FAPE, or to receive a diploma in the event that the student should subsequently meet the graduation requirements.

IV. Access and Opportunity

Smithfield High School will work to ensure the district’s definition of proficiency meets the criteria of fairness and access as described in BOE regulations, particularly with regard to opportunities to learn. Students can meet the requirements set forth in this policy while enrolled in state-approved career and technical programs, expanded learning opportunities, such as dual enrollment, online learning, and other non-traditional academic and career readiness programs. Recognition of these learning opportunities as fulfilling the requirements in this policy is predicated on the alignment to state-adopted standards and/or other relevant national or industry standards.

V. District Supports

Smithfield Public Schools will provide the following supports for students to fulfill graduation requirements:

  1. Each student, beginning no later than entry into sixth grade, will create an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) with assistance from the school counseling department, parents and community members. The ILP will be actively used by educators, students, and families to guide and monitor student progress along individual pathways toward proficiency for graduation and post-secondary plans.

  2. Students will be screened and diagnostically assessed to determine their literacy and numeracy needs. Appropriate instructional interventions will be provided, and students with identified literacy and/or numeracy needs will continue to have their progress monitored.

  3. The middle and high schools will provide a comprehensive school counseling program to support students and families.

VI. Communication to Parents and Students

Adequate notice of graduation requirements will be provided to each student and their family by October 1st of the ninth grade year or at the time of enrollment for students transferring into the high school.

In the event that a student is in jeopardy of not meeting graduation requirements, multiple and timely individual notices will be provided to the student and his/her family. Beginning in grade nine, school counselors will review credit acquisition and portfolio completion annually to ensure each student is on track for graduation. Counselors will notify families and students if the student is not on track for graduation.

In the fall of grade 12, school counselors will complete a comprehensive audit of graduation requirements for each student. If a student is in danger of not graduating, notification will be sent to the student and his or her family. The notification should include the student’s academic status and the opportunity to meet and discuss the student’s academic program, support, and planned interventions. Regular updates of academic performance should be made regularly thereafter. All such communications must be provided in a format accessible to families and students. Seniors will continue to be monitored on a quarterly basis.

VII. Transfer Students

It is recognized that students entering the school system close to graduation may have difficulty completing graduation requirements, particularly if they transfer from a school with substantially different requirements. Consequently, the following process will be used for evaluating the graduation requirements for transfer students.

  1. Students entering Smithfield High School requiring two or more years of work necessary prior to graduation (typically before the start of the junior year) will meet all requirements in order to receive a Smithfield High School diploma.

  2. Students entering Smithfield High School with less than two years of work necessary prior to graduation (typically after the start of the junior year) from a Rhode Island high school with a graduation system approved by the Rhode Island Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education may use the requirements of their prior school. Per approval of the building principal, other independent activities or assessments may be utilized to demonstrate completion of the graduation requirements.

VIII. Process of Appeal

Any student who believes that he/she has been improperly denied a diploma shall have the right to appeal that decision.

Level 1: The parent/student may file a written appeal to the Principal.

Level 2: If the parent/student is not satisfied with the result of the Principal’s decision, the parent/student may submit a written appeal to the Superintendent.

Level 3: If the parent/student is not satisfied with the Superintendent’s decision, the parent/student may submit a written appeal to the Smithfield School Committee.

Level 4: Parents/Students have the right to further appeal to the Commissioner of Education. This process shall be communicated annually to students and families in the Student Handbook distributed by Smithfield High School.

ADOPTED: February 26, 2007

REVISED: April 6, 2009; August 1, 2011; January 27, 2014; August 4, 2014; August 3, 2015; January 19, 2016; August 21, 2017; April 1, 2019