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    June 2019 Family Communication

    The Department of Teaching and Learning would like to announce changes to Board Policy 2024, Out-of-District Credits and Credit Recovery, and the corresponding Superintendent’s Procedure. Policy and procedure changes will go into effect July 1, 2019. Changes to the policy and procedure were called for by school staff, parents, and board members, who wanted clear and consistent guidance from the district on how to treat out-of-district credits and credit recovery.

    These revisions will provide that clarity and consistency across our middle and high schools, and will contribute to a more equitable high school experience for our students. The changes are intended to provide students with flexibility to take the courses they need to graduate, while also ensuring that students are encouraged to take rigorous in-district courses taught by SPS educators.

    Although the policy and procedure cover both out-of-district courses for first time credit and credit recovery, most of the changes impact out-of-district courses for first time credit only. Students planning to take credit recovery for previously attempted courses will be minimally impacted by the changes.

    Please read below for information about out-of-district credits and credit recovery, and how changes to the policy and procedure may impact your child. In addition, please contact the district’s College and Career Readiness team if you have questions that are not addressed below by emailing

    What is an out-of-district credit?

    An out-of-district credit is a credit that a student earns outside of Seattle Public Schools while actively enrolled at Seattle Public Schools. Out-of-district courses include courses taken at private schools, public schools in other districts, online providers, and colleges and universities. Students are always free to take out-of-district courses without permission; credit for those courses will not be added to high school transcripts, but students can choose to independently submit those credits to any colleges or post-secondary programs to which they are applying. If students want to add out-of-district credits to their Seattle Public Schools high school transcripts, they will need to receive approval from their high school in advance. Note that dual credit programs like Running Start and College in the High School are considered in-district credits.

    What is changing about the process for taking out-of-district credits for first time credit and having them added to high school transcripts?

    1. This option will be open to high school students only. Middle school students will no longer be eligible. For the purposes of this procedure, students entering 9th grade will be considered high school students when their academic records are transferred to their high school.
    2. Out-of-District courses will be added to transcripts as pass/no pass only. Letter grades will not be recorded.
    3. Students will be limited to 4 out-of-district online credits (appeal available). This limit does not apply to in-person classes, for example classes taken at University of Washington.
    4. Students may take out-of-district courses with approved providers only (appeal available). Approved providers include:
      • Online providers approved by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction
      • Accredited community colleges, technical colleges and universities in Washington State
      • Private schools in Washington State
      • High schools or online schools in a school district in Washington State
    5. Principals at all high schools will use a decision tree for out-of-district credits when determining whether or not to approve requests. Principals will approve requests when the requested course can be used to meet a graduation requirement and:
      • The course is either not offered at the high school, or is offered but full (appeal available). OR
      • The course would help the student get on track to access college preparatory classes during junior or senior year of high school.

    What appeals are available for out-of-district courses for first time credit?

    1. Students facing extenuating circumstances may request permission to take more than 4 credits online.
    2. If a particular course is not available with an approved provider, students may request permission to take the course with a non-approved provider. Student/family would need to provide course materials for district review.
    3. Students may request to take a particular course out-of-district even if the course is available at their school if:
      • Student is in the class of 2020-2023 and has already planned a high school course of study that does not leave room for the course in question. OR
      • Extenuating circumstances necessitate the student missing one on more periods of the school day throughout a marking period.

    Your school will provide you with guidance on how to submit an appeal.

    What is changing about the process for taking credit recovery for previously attempted courses?

    Students will still be able to access credit recovery through their school or district offerings. However, students who want to take out-of-district credit recovery will only be permitted to do so if Seattle Public Schools is not able to provide the course and it is needed for graduation purposes. Otherwise, the process is unchanged. The letter grade earned in the credit recovery course will be added to the student’s high school transcript, and the previous “E” grade will remain on the transcript. Only the higher grade will be used in GPA calculations.

    Other Frequently Asked Questions about situations:

    Q: My child already has permission to take an out-of-district class this summer or next fall, or is planning to get permission before the last day of school. What happens now? 

    • A: Changes do not go into effect until July 1, 2019. If your child receives permission prior to July 1 to take an out-of-district class, that permission will be honored. Your child will be able to take the class and have it added to the high school transcript as a letter grade. Any requests made starting July 1st are subject to the rules and decision-making process described above.

    Q: How will this impact my child with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan?

    • A: Students with IEPs or 504 Plans will not be negatively impacted. If a student’s IEP or 504 Plan calls for taking a particular class out-of-district, either for first time credit or credit recovery, that student will be permitted to do so. Please see questions 17 and 21 in the FAQ for more information.

    Q: How will this impact my student who attends an Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) school?

    • A:  Every student enrolled in an ALE school has an individualized learning plan designed to meet the student’s individual educational needs. If the plan calls for the student to take particular out-of-district courses and/or credit recovery courses, the student will be permitted to do so.

    Q: My child is signed up for Upward Bound or LEEP. Is it still possible to earn credit for those programs?

    • A: Yes, students will receive high school credit for successfully completing district approved educational programs like LEEP or Upward Bound. Prior permission to take these courses and have the credits added to high school transcripts is not required.

    Q: Where can I find additional information about these changes?

    • A: To access more resources related to this policy:
      • Here is a link to a background FAQ that we have developed.
      • The Board Action Report that was presented to the School Board. It includes a detailed explanation of the rationale for all of these revisions, an equity analysis, and much more. It also includes the full text of the newly revised Policy and Procedure.
      • You can read the revised policy and procedure on the School Board website.

    Additional questions may be directed to the Department of College and Career Readiness at