Students have a lot of flexibility in planning their path to graduation. Students will meet with their counselors to determine their own Personal Graduation Plan (PGP).
To graduate, all students must complete:
- at least 22 credits (required by the Foundation High School Program)
- pass the End-of-Course exams in Algebra I, Biology, English I & II, and U.S. History
- Complete and submit a post-secondary financial aid application (FAFSA or TASFA)
- Complete additional requirements such as Speech, Instruction in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), and instruction on proper interaction with Peace Officers
This is considered the Foundation High School Program graduation plan.
To be considered for the top ten percent and automatic admission to Texas public universities, a student must earn a Distinguished Level of Achievement diploma.
To ensure ALL students are prepared for college, careers and life Garland ISD promotes the Distinguished Level of Achievement High School Program as the default graduation plan for students.
Foundation High School Graduation ProgramsExpand All
- Foundation High School Program: 22 total credits
- Foundation High School Program Plus One Endorsement: 26 total credits
- Distinguished Level of Achievement High School Program: 26 total credits
Note: In order to be considered for top ten percent and automatic admission to Texas public universities a student must earn a Distinguished Level of Achievement diploma.
|Discipline||Foundation Program||Foundation Program Plus One Endorsement||Distinguished Level of Achievement1|
|English Language Arts||4 Credits (English I, II, III and an Advanced English)||4 Credits (English I, II, III and an Advanced English)||4 Credits (English I, II, III and an Advanced English)|
|Mathematics||3 Credits (Algebra I, Geometry and one additional math credit)||4 Credits (Algebra I, Geometry, a third and fourth advanced math credit)2||4 Credits (Algebra I, Geometry, a third and fourth advanced math to include Algebra II)2|
|Science||3 Credits (Biology; IPC, Chemistry, or Physics; and a third science)2||4 Credits (Biology; IPC, Chemistry, or Physics; and a third and fourth science)2||4 Credits (Biology; IPC, Chemistry, or Physics; and a third and fourth science)2|
|Social Studies||3 Credits (World Geography, Human Geography, or World History3; U.S. History; Government (½), Economics (½)||3 Credits (World Geography, Human Geography, or World History3; U.S. History; Government (½), Economics (½)||3 Credits (World Geography, Human Geography, or World History3; U.S. History; Government (½), Economics (½)|
|Languages other than English||2 Credits (in the same language)||2 Credits (in the same language)||2 Credits (in the same language)|
|Fine Arts||1 Credit||1 Credit||1 Credit|
|Physical Education4||1 Credit||1 Credit||1 Credit|
|Health5||0.5 Credit||0.5 Credit||0.5 Credit|
|Electives||4.5 Credits||6.5 Credits (including four endorsement credits)||6.5 Credits (including four endorsement credits)|
|Endorsement||No Endorsement Required||At least 4 endorsement credits||At least 4 endorsement credits|
Courses which can count in two different categories may satisfy the requirements for both but one will receive credit and one will be considered as a waiver and no additional credit awarded.
1 See your school counselor for additional information.
2 3rd and 4th math and science requirements vary based on the endorsement
3 FHSP does not require both Geography and W. History for graduation
4 Up to four PE/PE substitutes may be used toward graduation requirements
5 Health is a requirement for students entering high school in 2015-16 and after
Assessment mastery: End-of-Course Exams
All three Foundation High School Graduation programs require the following end-of-course exams
- English I
- English II
- Algebra l
- US History
An endorsement is like a career path or area of focus. Students earn an endorsement by completing a clear sequence of courses in one of the five endorsement areas.
8th grade students select an endorsement in the spring when they meet with their counselor to create a Personal Graduation Plan (PGP) for high school. Students may choose more than one endorsement or change their initial endorsement at a later time. Students should speak with their counselor for more information.
Students must earn at least one endorsement unless otherwise determined by a parent conference after the sophomore year.
Many endorsement course sequences may be satisfied by courses in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs of study. Course offerings in each endorsement will vary by campus.
Arts and Humanities
The Arts and Humanities endorsement includes courses related to political science, world languages, cultural studies, English literature, history, and fine arts.
Business and Industry
The Business and Industry endorsement includes courses directly related to database management, information technology, communications, accounting, finance, marketing, graphic design, architecture, construction, welding, logistics, automotive technology, agricultural science, and HVAC.
Related CTE programs:
- Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
- Architecture and Construction
- Business, Marketing and Finance
- Hospitality and Tourism
- Information Technology
- Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics
The Public Service endorsement includes courses directly related to education and training, law enforcement, government and public administration, human services, and JROTC.
Related CTE programs:
The STEM endorsement includes courses directly related to science (including environmental science), technology (including computer science), engineering, and advanced math.
Related CTE career program:
The Multi-disciplinary Studies endorsement includes 4 advanced courses from among endorsement areas that are not in a coherent sequence; 4 credits in each of the four foundation areas including English IV, chemistry, and/or physics; 4 AP, IB, or dual credit courses from any of the foundation subject areas.
Financial aid application
To meet the requirement for completing a post-secondary financial aid application, students will need to do one of the following:
- Complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- complete and submit a Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA)
- submit a signed opt-out form (arrange a conference with your child's school counselor for more information)
School Counselors are available to help with the FAFSA and TASFA process. Please check high school websites for dates of Financial Aid events throughout the month of October at each location.
Note: More information on the financial aid requirement can be found on the Texas Education Agency website.
- Applications open: October 1, 2021
- Priority deadline: January 15, 2022
To qualify to earn a high school diploma, students must also satisfy the speech requirement by demonstrating proficiency in communication skills identified by the State Board of Education in the graduation requirements. Students will complete the speech requirement within their high school English courses.
Instruction on Proper Interaction with Peace Officers
Students must receive instruction in proper interaction with police officers at least once before graduation from high school. Students will complete the peace officer requirement within their high school Social Studies courses.
Instruction in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
Students must receive instruction in CPR at least once in grades 7-12 before graduation. Students will complete the CPR requirement within their Health course.
Distinguished Level of Achievement
To earn the Distinguished Level of Achievement students must:
- meet the requirements of the Foundation High School Program Plus Endorsement graduation plan
- take Algebra II as one of the required advanced math credits
Completing the Distinguished Level of Achievement program helps students:
- compete for Top 10% automatic admissions eligibility at any Texas public university
- prepare for college-level coursework
- qualify for financial aid options
- have the foundation to successfully complete an industry workforce credential
- ensure they are a more competitive applicant at the most selective colleges and universities
A performance acknowledgement is recognition on the diploma and transcript for activities and success above the standard requirements.
Students can earn a performance acknowledgement for outstanding performance in a variety of areas. See details below.
Ways to earn performance acknowledgementsExpand All
Includes successfully completing:
- At least 12 hours of college academic courses with a grade of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale; or
- An associate degree while in high school
Bilingualism & Biliteracy
Includes successfully completing:
- Complete all English language arts requirements and maintaining a minimum grade point average (GPA) of the equivalent of 80 on a scale of 100; and
Satisfy one of the following:
- Completion of a minimum of three credits in the same language other than English with a minimum GPA of the equivalent of 80 on a scale of 100; or
- Demonstrate proficiency in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Level IV or higher in a language other than English with a minimum GPA of the equivalent of 80 on a scale of 100; or
- Complete at least three credits in foundation subject area courses in a language other than English with a minimum GPA of 80 on a scale of 100; or
- Demonstrate proficiency in one or more languages other than English through one of the following methods:
- Score of 3 or higher on a College Board AP exam for a language other than English; or
- Score of 4 or higher on an IB exam for a higher-level languages other than English course; or
- Performance on a national assessment of language proficiency in a language other than English of at least Intermediate High or its equivalent
In addition to meeting the requirements to earn a performance acknowledgment in bilingualism and biliteracy, an English language learner must also have:
- Participated in and met the exit criteria for a bilingual or English as a second language (ESL) program; and
- Scored at the Advanced High level on the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS).
College Board or International Baccalaureate
Successfully earn a:
- Score of a 3 or above on a College Board advanced placement examination
- Score of a 4 or above on an International Baccalaureate examination
Successfully earn a:
- Score on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) that qualifies the student for recognition as a commended scholar or higher by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation, as part of the National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) of the College Board or as part of the National Achievement Scholarship Program of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation
- College readiness benchmark score on at least two of the four subject tests on the ACT-ASPIRE® examination
- Score of least 410 on the evidenced-based reading section and 520 on the mathematics section of the SAT (combined critical reading and mathematics score of at least 1310 on the SAT® [pending 2nd reading – Jan. 2018]); or
- Composite score on the ACT® examination of 28 (excluding the writing subscore)
Industry Certification or License
Earn a nationally or internationally recognized business or industry certification or license with:
- Performance on an examination or series of examinations sufficient to obtain nationally or internationally recognized business or industry certification, or
- Performance on an examination sufficient to obtain a government-required credential to practice a profession
21st Century Scholars
Students receive an academic medal and special designation on their diploma for becoming a 21st Century Scholar. Each campus also recognizes 21st Century Scholars at an awards assembly. To become a 21st Century Scholar students must:
- complete the at least the Recommended 4x4 graduation plan or the Foundation High School Program Plus Endorsement graduation plan
- complete either one full credit of the 3rd year (level three) of a language other than English OR one full credit of an advanced course (Advanced Placement, Dual Credit, or International Baccalaureate) not already required.
The 21st Century Scholars program recognizes students who are committed to completing a challenging curriculum plan. These students know that they will be gaining a high level of skills and will be better prepared to enter the job market or begin college.
Alternative graduation option
Do you have all your high school credits from GISD but no diploma due to TAKS or TAAS testing?
If you entered 9th-grade prior to 2011-12 school year, you may be eligible to graduate due to a change in state law.
If you attended a Garland ISD high school and feel this applies to you, please contact the Research, Assessment & Accountability Department. We will be happy to help find out if you are eligible.