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FAQs Library >> Education

What are DCPS' requirements for a high school diploma?

Requirements for earning a high school diploma in DC are laid out as follows on the DCPS website:

To receive a DCPS diploma, students who enroll in 9th grade for the first time in school year 2007–2008 and thereafter must earn 24.0 credits (or Carnegie Units) as follows:

Subject Credits
Art 0.5
Electives 3.5
English 4
Health and Physical Education 1.5
Mathematics (including Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II) 4
Music 0.5
Science (including three laboratory sciences) 4
Social Studies (including World History I and II, D.C. History, U.S. Government, U.S. History) 4
World Languages 2
Total 24

Students must also meet the following requirements:

  • At least 2 credits of the 24 required credits must be earned through courses that appear on the approved "College Level or Career Prep" list
  • 100 hours of community service
  • individual graduation portfolio
  • culminating composition or project

What is the difference between a certificate and diploma?

The two most important differences between a certificate and diploma are (1) that to go on to post-secondary education, a student must earn a diploma, and (2) perspective employers also prefer to see that a diploma has been earned rather than a certificate. A student completing a certificate track has acquired basic skills in high school that they may or may not be able to get by with. A diploma, on the other hand, shows a student to be more well-rounded.

What is an IEP?

An IEP (individualized education program) is an education track laid out with specific goals for a student with disabilities. At least once a year, the student's teachers, parents, guidance counselor, and the student meet to address the student's progress and make changes to the IEP if need be. Everyone present at the meeting is encouraged to contribute to the discussion. Every public school student in the United States with a disability that entitles him/her to special education is required to have an IEP.

How do I apply for financial aid?

To become eligible for federal and state financial aid, a student must fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). FAFSAs can be filled out online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Once in the Department of Education's system, FAFSAs are examined, and aid is given to students based on their content.

What are the different types of financial aid available to me or my child?

The most common types of financial aid available to those looking to pursue post-secondary education are loans, which must be repaid, and scholarships/grants, which typically do not have to be paid back. (In some cases, scholarships have stipulations that must be fulfilled in order to avoid having to pay them back.) Both types of aid are available through the local and federal government, but private organizations give aid as well. A simple Google search will yield hundreds of privately given aid for which one may apply. Other good places to check are the high school's college/career center or the colleges of interest.

How can I tell whether or not an organization offering financial aid is legitimate?

There is a simple way to separate scammers from those offering legitimate aid. Anybody asking for money up front is a scammer and should be avoided. Many people fall for Internet scams such as these on a regular basis.

How do students with disabilities acquire services and supports in college?

Services for students with disabilities in college are obtained through the college's disability support services office. After enrolling into a school, students with disabilities undergo an intake process during which their necessary accommodations are laid out. Students must then take the initiative to notify their instructors/professors of their disabilities/accommodations. This process differs from that in high school in that there are no IEPs in college. Students are expected to know what services they need and advocate for themselves.

What are the requirements for attaining a GED? Where can I complete a GED program?

To earn a GED, one must pass the GED examination. One can register either in person or online at the DC GED Testing Center (www.dcged.org). Organizations that offer GED preparation classes are also listed on the testing center site.

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