P. O. BOX 2120


December 1, 2000
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Clarification of Graduation Issues


Requirements for Graduation for Repeat 9th Graders in 1998-99

This memorandum clarifies the requirements for graduation for students who were in the ninth grade in 1997-98 and failed, causing them to repeat the ninth grade in 1998-99. This memorandum also supersedes portions of INTERPRETIVE SUPTS. MEMO NO. 2, July 24, 1998, and INTERPRETIVE SUPTS. MEMO NO. 1, October 6, 2000.

This memorandum also clarifies issues related to the graduation requirements found in Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia adopted by the Board of Education on July 28, 2000. Those regulations became effective September 28, 2000. The full text of the standards can be found on our website at The issue for clarification involves the requirements for graduation for students who entered the ninth-grade in 1997-98.

The new course and units of credit requirements for graduation outlined in the accrediting standards became effective with the ninth-grade class of 1998-99. Prior to 1998-99, the standards included a provision stating that "Graduation requirements for students shall be those in effect at the time the student entered the ninth grade." The standards in effect in 1998-99 did not contain that provision. The provision was restored in the standards that were recently adopted by the board.

The 1997 standards did not clearly indicate what requirements students would have to meet if they were repeating the ninth-grade in 1998-99. They should have been preparing to graduate under requirements in effect the first time they entered the ninth grade (i.e., the requirements prescribed in the 1992 version of the accrediting standards).

There have been no changes in the requirements for the ninth-grade class of 2000-01 and subsequent verified credit cohorts. Prior interpretations regarding this issue are still effective.

Requirements for the Board of Education Seal

It has come to our attention that the change in 8 VAC 20-131-50.I.2 of the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia, effective September 28, 2000 relating to the requirements for students to earn a Board of Education Seal for academic achievement needs further clarification. The new standard is as follows:

Students who complete the requirements for a Standard Diploma with an average grade of "A" will receive a Board of Education Seal on the diploma. Previously, a grade point average of "B" was required for a student to earn the seal.

This will advise you that a decision has been made that will allow students who are tenth, eleventh, and twelfth graders during the 2000-01 school year to earn the Board of Education Seal under the requirements in effect prior to the adoption of the new regulations (i.e., a "B" average). The new requirement of an "A" average begins with the ninth-grade class of 2000-01.

I hope these interpretations are helpful as you work with your students. If you have questions, please contact either Dr. Cheri Magill, director of accreditation, at (804) 225-2708 mailto: or Mr. Edward Holstrom, accreditation specialist, at (804) 225-3122 mailto: