Diploma with Academic Distinction

The Board of Education awards high school diplomas inscribed "With Academic Distinction" to students whose achievements have been outstanding. Requirements for this diploma should be studied—and careful planning to meet those requirements should begin— while the student is in middle school or junior high school. (See Administrative Procedure 4772 [pdf].)

Students are only eligible for the diploma with academic distinction if they have attended a district high school for their entire senior year and met all other graduation requirements (see Administrative Procedure 4770).

Students who have attended high schools in other districts for all or part of grades 9–11 may qualify for this recognition if their academic performance in the San Diego Unified School District merits consideration. 

Midyear graduates who meet all of the eligibility criteria may be awarded the diploma with academic distinction.

Effective with the Class of 2017, the following two methods are available for graduation with academic distinction:

Method 1: The student must maintain a weighted grade point average of 3.5 (B+) or higher for all courses taken in grades 10 and 11 and the first semester of grade 12.

Students who raise their cumulative grade-point average to 3.5 by the end of the last reporting period prior to May 7th during their senior year are also eligible to receive this diploma.

Method 2: Student must complete 14 semester credits in grades 9–12 with grades of an A or B (two of which must be completed during the first semester of grade 12 and enrolled in two during second semester of grade 12) in courses that are Advanced, Advanced Placement, Honors, International Baccalaureate, and/or dual-credit college courses.

Students who raise their grade to an A or B in one or more higher level course(s) by the last reporting period prior to May 7th are also eligible to receive this diploma. This applies to the two courses that require enrollment during the second semester of senior year.

Credit(s) received prior to grade 9 in world languages and advanced math, if the course(s) are awarded graduation credit, may be counted toward meeting this requirement.

High school principals have the authority to issue diplomas with academic distinction to students meeting the criteria above.

High school counselors and registrars conduct evaluations of credits prior to May 7th to ensure students who are eligible as receiving a diploma with academic distinction are included in the commencement program.

High school counselors and registrars ensure that diploma with academic distinction is noted on the student?s final transcript.

A list of the courses that are currently approved to meet the criteria for the diploma with academic distinction may be found in Site Operations Circular 2013, available here.