Graduation Requirements for Shepherd’s Hill Academy

Parents have a lot to consider when enrolling a student in a new school. There are many questions that will run through a parent’s mind during this process. Will my child be able to graduate on time? Will my child’s class credits transfer successfully?
We understand that these questions can be big concerns for parents who are considering sending their child to a 12-month program at a therapeutic boarding school like Shepherd’s Hill Academy. With this in mind, we want to reassure parents and inform them about the graduation and transfer process at Shepherd’s Hill Academy.

Graduation Has Two Meanings at Shepherd’s Hill Academy

At Shepherd’s Hill Academy, some students have a chance to graduate both from our program as well as from high school. As a therapeutic boarding school, Shepherd’s Hill Academy has both a therapeutic component and an academic component. After spending 12 months at Shepherd’s Hill Academy, your student will graduate from our therapeutic residential program. Students who have completed the program and fulfilled all the requirements for high school graduation will also graduate from high school through Shepherd’s Hill Academy. If your student is not ready to graduate from high school, we will assist your family in transferring his or her credits to another school.

How Shepherd’s Hill Academy Helps with Transfers

While some students earn their diploma at Shepherd’s Hill Academy, many others will complete their 12 months in our program and need to transfer to a different school in order to finish high school. Shepherd’s Hill Academy will help in the transition of students in and out of our academy. We follow the state of Georgia’s guidelines for transfers, and our admissions staff will help you in the process of transferring units of credit between schools. Whether students are transferring units of credit into the academy or transferring them out to another school, we will assist in the process.

Requirements for Graduation in the State of Georgia:

Students must meet the requirements for graduation in the state of Georgia to receive a high school diploma from Shepherd’s Hill Academy. The Georgia Department of Education outlines these graduation requirements on their website, and in the space below, we have provided an overview of these requirements. If you are interested in viewing the Georgia Department of Education’s full explanation of graduation requirements, a link to the complete document is available here.
According to the Georgia Department of Education, students must earn the required number of credit units in the appropriate subject areas in order to receive a high school diploma. Students must meet attendance and assessment requirements as well. The basic credit requirements for graduation are as follows:

  • English/Language Arts: 4 Units
  • Mathematics: 4 Units
  • Science: 4 Units
  • Social Studies: 3 Units
  • CTAE/Modern Language or Latin/Fine Arts: 3 Units
  • Health and Physical Education: 1 Unit
  • Electives: 4 Units
  • Total Minimum Credit for Graduation: 23 Units

The bolded subjects in the list above are considered core subject areas. The core subject areas are English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Health and Physical Education. Students will earn most of their units of credit in these core areas, and each core subject has some required classes.

What is a Unit of Credit?

According the Georgia Department of Education, students earn units of credit when they complete the required hours of classwork in classes that are based on the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) or approved by the Georgia Board of Education. For core subject areas, students must complete courses that are considered core classes. If a student has an IEP, the plan will indicate if a course taken as part of an IEP will qualify for a core unit of credit. Units of credit earned in different schools or states can be transferred to meet graduation requirements.

What is an IEP?

IEP stands for Individualized Education Plan. These plans create an educational framework for students who need special accommodation in education. In some cases, the requirements of a student’s IEP could call for an adjustment to some of the typical requirements for graduation in the state of Georgia. If approved, these adjustments will still result in a high school diploma.

Required Classes

The Georgia Department of Education explains that within the five core areas of study, students must complete core classes. Of these core classes, some specific courses are required core classes. While students have freedom in the way they choose to fill some of their elective and core credit requirements, to graduate, students must earn units of credit in the following specific courses:

  • Required English Classes
    • One unit of credit in American Literature/Composition
    • One unit on credit in Ninth-Grade Literature and Composition
  • Required Math Classes
    • One unit of credit in Mathematics I, an approved Algebra class, or a similar course
    • One unit of credit in Mathematics II, an approved Geometry class, or a similar course
    • One unit of credit in Mathematics III, an approved Advanced Algebra class, or a similar course
  • Required Science Classes
    • One unit of credit in Biology
    • One unit of credit in Physical Science or Physics
    • One unit of credit in Chemistry, Earth Systems, Environmental Science, or an AP/IB Science class.
  • Required Social Science Classes
    • One unit of credit in U.S. History
    • One unit of credit in World History
    • One-half unit of credit in American Government/Civics
    • One-half unit of credit in Economics
  • Required Health and Physical Education Classes
    • Students are required to earn one unit of credit in Health and Physical Education. This one credit is earned through a combination of Health, Health and Personal Fitness, or Advanced Personal Fitness courses. In some cases, JROTC courses can also count toward earning this unit of credit.
  • Remaining Credits
    • The remaining required credits in each core area must be earned in courses that are considered core classes by the state of Georgia. For example, in English, only two specific classes are required, but four units of core credit are required. Students must take two more core classes from the classes offered in addition to the two required core classes.
    • In some cases, an IEP may dictate what is considered a core credit. While IEPs may slightly adjust the requirements for some students to earn a high school diploma, parents and students may want to be aware that certain changes might not be accepted by colleges and universities.

Note on Modern Language/Latin:

Modern language or Latin is not a core subject area, and these courses are not required. The Georgia Department of Education points out that many colleges, including those in the University System of Georgia, consider these course requirements for acceptance. Students who wish to pursue a four-year degree after high school should consider earning at least two units of credit in the same modern language or in Latin.
If you have questions or concerns about our graduation requirements and transfers, you can inquire online here or reach our admissions team by phone at (706) 703-4188.