High School Course Guide

Graduation Requirements

What Graduates Will Know

All graduates of the Sioux City Community School District will be prepared to compete in a global society with content knowledge focused on the Iowa Core Curriculum (Common Core and 21st Century Skills) and strive for growth that exceeds proficiency on state assessments.

What Graduates Will Be Able To Do

All graduates of the Sioux City Community School District will demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving. They will demonstrate comprehensive communication skills with and without the use of current technology, including; reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Graduates of the Sioux City Community School District will also be self-sufficient and autonomous lifelong learners and citizens.

College Preparatory Curriculum

Students should plan a program that will satisfy their interests and prepare them for further education and employment. Completion of the following courses outlined below will assist students in meeting the admission requirements at most four-year colleges and universities, including all three Iowa public universities.


Credit Requirements for Graduation

– CORE CREDIT REQUIREMENTS –

Students must earn 44 credits to graduate from high school. Students will not be allowed to graduate with fewer than 44 credits without the approval of the Sioux City Community School District Board of Directors.

The list below outlines the core courses by subject area that students must complete to graduate (equals 30 total credits).

Language Arts: 8 Credits
  • 2 credits of English I or Honors English I
  • 2 credits of English II, Honors English II, or AP Language & Composition
  • 2 credits of English III, Honors English III, or AP English Literature & Composition
  • 2 credits of English IV or English Composition I & II
Math: 6 Credits
  • 2 credits of Math must include Algebra I
  • 4 additional Mathematics electives
Science: 6 Credits
  • 2 credits of Science must include Biology
  • 2 credits of Physical Science and 2 credits of elective OR
  • 2 credits of Chemistry and 2 credits of Physics
Social Studies: 6 Credits
  • 2 credits of American History (state required)
  • 2 credits of World History
  • 1 credit of American Government (state required)
  • 1 credit of Personal Finance Literacy* (*state required beginning with graduating class of 2021)
Fine Arts: 2 Credits

Fine Arts credits must be earned from two of the following areas: Music, Visual Arts, Theatre / Drama or Humanities.

Physical Education Required Each Year

Physical Education Required Each Semester According to Board Policy 602.11. Students must successfully complete (pass and earn credit) a physical education course one semester of each year of high school. Board Policy 602.11 outlines exceptions and exemptions to this requirement.

– ELECTIVE CREDIT REQUIREMENTS –

The minimum number of elective credits to be applied toward the high school graduation requirement is 14. To view a current list of elective course offerings, click here.


CPR Certification

Every student not otherwise exempt must complete certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

High School Classes Taken in Middle School

High school classes taken during middle school will be counted as high school credit toward graduation and will also be computed into the high school grade point average.

Graduation Requirements for Special Education Students

Graduation requirements for special education students will be in accordance with the prescribed course of study as described in their Individualized Education Program (IEP). In accordance with state standards, beginning with the graduating class of 2022, graduation requirements for special education students will include successful completion of four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and three years of science. Prior to the student’s graduation, the IEP team shall determine that the graduation requirements have been met. Upon successful completion of the prescribed courses of study, students with disabilities will enjoy the same ceremonial activities as any other student.

The District shall issue to special education students the same certificate of diploma as granted to other students.

Graduation Requirements for English Language Learners

English Language Students (ELs) taking ELD courses are awarded credit in Language Arts. EL students taking ELD sheltered courses are awarded credit in Math, Science, and/or Social Studies. Students who are ELD Level 3-5, with a designation of progressing, will receive English language instruction in Language Arts courses, beginning with English I as a Level 3 progressing student.

Early Graduation Requirements

Students may graduate prior to the completion of grade 12 if all course work required for graduation has been fulfilled, as stated in Board Policy 605.4. In addition:

  • Students and their parents should review the advantages and disadvantages of early graduation with consideration given to dual enrollment in a post-secondary program during the senior year.
  • Written approval from a parent or guardian is required.
  • Approval must be granted by the counselor and the principal.
  • A student who takes early graduation forfeits his/her eligibility to participate in all school-sponsored or sanctioned activities after the semester that the student leaves school.

Weighted Grade Point Average

The method of computation for the weighted grade point average will be based on the GPA Plus formula.

The Superintendent or his/her designee will validate whether students have met the District’s requirements for graduation.