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Three seniors in graduation robes holding diplomas

The Class of 2014: First to Graduate under New Requirements


When this year’s graduating seniors receive their diplomas, they will be the first-ever class of SFUSD graduates to have completed the entire course sequence required for entry into a California State University (CSU) or a University of California (UC).

SFUSD is one of only a handful of large urban California school districts to require this more rigorous course sequence of its graduates.

Up until this year, graduates met requirements that were slightly different than the ones necessary to obtain entry into a UC or CSU (which are known as “a-g”) and only about half were eligible to attend a public state school at the time of graduation.

Over the past five years the district has had to do a lot to ensure that the right classes are available for students to meet the new requirements. At the same time that expectations were rising, state funding for education was declining.

Superintendent Richard A. Carranza believes it is worth the effort.

“The graduating class of 2014 is not only better educated but also has more options for where they can go after graduation,” says Carranza. “There are more students graduating with the a-g course sequence and higher standards than ever before in SFUSD’s history. This is something to celebrate.”

More challenging coursework

Courses that meet the “a-g” requirements are college preparatory courses established by the University of California.

Specifically, students must complete a pattern of 15 college-preparatory courses drawn from the areas of history/social science, English, math, laboratory science, a language other than English, the visual and performing arts and a college-preparatory elective.

The UC /CSU system categorizes each subject area or requirement with a letter to identify the different course requirements, and has to certify each “a-g” class SFUSD offers. This means the district has to submit every “a-g” class syllabus for UC’s review and approval.

Grades still matter

The goal of the new graduation requirements is to ensure that all students take college preparatory courses and have the option of applying to a wide range of colleges and universities.

To earn a high school diploma, students must meet the requirements with a D grade or better. However, to be UC/CSU eligible, students must complete their “a-g” courses sequence with a C or better.

Options for students

Some students need more time and support to meet the new graduation requirements. With help from the Public Education Enrichment Fund (PEEF) and the City, there are several resources available for those who are missing credits or who want to retake a course for a better grade. SFUSD offers evening high school, online learning, and summer school. The Transitional Studies Department of City College of San Francisco (CCSF) also offers credit recovery options for high school students free of charge.

Find out more about graduation requirements and credit recovery options.