Navigating four years of high school is an exciting and life-changing experience for most teenagers. However, high school may be difficult for some teenagers, especially foster children who may already feel lost in a big system like the child welfare system. Yet, graduating from high school is a milestone for just about everyone.
One of the first steps to completing high school or the General Education Diploma (GED) is to know and understand the requirements necessary for high school graduation.
A variety of resources are included to help understand these requirements, including:
- The California Department of Education provides information about educational policies for the state of California, general information about the department, and a list of California's High School Graduation Requirements.
- Students must pass the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) in order to graduate from high school. The California Department of Education attempts to ensure that graduating high school students are proficient in reading, writing, and math.
- If staff have children in their caseload who are interested in attending a university, the California Department of Education lists high school courses that are required for freshman admission to universities, both CSUs and UCs.
- New Ways to Work provides an Education Handbook, designed for use by care providers and other service providers of children and youth in foster care, with information about the educational system and how schools operate. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to read this to learn more about helping children to be successful in high school.
Diploma Plus High Schools are expanding in California. They are alternative high schools for students who struggle in traditional high schools. Students must meet state requirements for graduation. The Diploma Plus website provides information about the schools.
AB 167 is a law that attempts to help students graduate from high school and attend postsecondary education institutions by exempting them from local school requirements if they have satisfied or will satisfy state graduation requirements. For more information, an AB 167 Fact Sheet is available through California Foster Youth Education Task Force.
Other Graduation Information and Special Programs
- Obtaining High School Credit for Partial School Attendance - The partial credit model policy provides guidelines and calculations for educators to award partial credit to foster youth who attend school but do not finish because they have moved placements, must attend court, etc.
- Obtaining a High School Transcript - It is necessary for students to have a copy of their high school transcript once they graduate from high school because it is often needed to apply for jobs and usually necessary to apply to college.
Students will likely have to contact the school where they graduated to obtain a high school transcript. The California Department of Education provides a searchable database where students can search for schools and then contact the school directly for the transcript.
- Special Programs and Information
- Study Abroad Programs are great for students who are interested in studying in a different country and learning about different languages, cultures, and traditions. Students may volunteer or work in the host country. Many programs take place during the summer and are conducive to a high school student's schedule.
- Upward Bound Programs provide fundamental support to students from low-income families. All projects must provide instruction in math, laboratory science, composition, literature, and a foreign language.
- Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) is elementary through postsecondary college readiness system that prepares students through instruction and professional development.
- Puente Project is a national award-winning program that provides rigorous college instruction, academic counseling and mentoring.
- Life Skills - Counties typically have an integrated Life Skills program, called the Independent Living Skills Programs. Teenagers are taught etiquette, finances and banking, computer literacy, housing and nutrition, post-secondary options, and vocational planning, among other things.
The Casey Family Program provides a comprehensive Life Skills Website specifically targeted toward young adults who may need additional support in making important life decisions. The workbook includes five modules, each containing concrete activities and exercises.
- Module 1: Money, Home and Food Management
- Module 2: Personal Care, Health, Social Skills & Safety
- Module 3: Education, Job Seeking Skills & Job Maintenance
- Module 4: Housing, Transportation, Community Resources, Understanding the Law & Recreation
- Module 5: Young Parents Guide - various topics