IKF-A: Graduation in Less than Four Years

  • General Information

    Falmouth High School’s academic program encompasses the Commonwealth’s initiative for college and career readiness as well as offers a range of courses aligned with the Massachusetts Common Core of Learning as published in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s High School Program of Studies (MassCore). Accordingly, Falmouth High School’s academic program is designed to provide a common background of knowledge and skills in the areas of English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, World Language, Health and Physical Education, Fine Arts, and Business and Applied Technology Studies. We also support the use of a broad range of technological innovations and applications to support, enhance, and extend student learning. To achieve this plan for readiness, Falmouth High School has designed an academic program that requires four years to complete. We recognize, however, that there are select individuals who may both possess and demonstrate the intellectual and social maturity necessary to complete the prescribed four-year sequence in less time.

    Students who wish to complete their high school program in less than four years must discuss this matter with their guidance counselor and then forward a written request to the principal. A student must meet all local and state requirements, including earning a competency determination in English language arts, mathematics, and science and technology/engineering, in order to be considered eligible for graduation. The parent/guardian of the student petitioning for early graduation is required to sign this statement to acknowledge their acceptance of full responsibility for their child’s action, knowing that their child may encounter difficulty in seeking employment or college acceptance because of their age.

    Permission is granted by the principal who requires that the following conditions are met by all potential early graduates at the time permission is granted and sustained through graduation:

    1. The student must maintain a grade of C or better in all classes.
    2. The student must carry the required minimum course load and remain in good standing through the time of graduation.
    3. The student must not accumulate any disciplinary penalties throughout his/her last semester of enrollment.
    4. The 3 ½ year (January) graduate who chooses to take full year courses will not be granted partial credits for only completing the first half (semester) of the course.



    1. If the four criteria on the first page of this policy are met, then the student must initiate a request for early graduation with his/her guidance counselor on or before May 15th prior to the anticipated year of The counselor then completes a thorough review of the transcript and schedule to ensure all required credits will be earned within the proposed timeline. The student must be able to meet all local and state requirements for graduation; the fourth year of English may be completed through a department-approved online learning program or through a dual enrollment opportunity.
    2. The student prepares a written statement of request for early graduation. Included in the statement is a clear and detailed articulation of the student’s reasons for early graduation. The statement must be signed by the student as well as his/her parent or guardian. The statement should be addressed to the principal and given to the counselor who will submit it to the principal on behalf of the student. The written statement must be given to the guidance counselor within ten days of the initial request.
    3. All involved parties must sign the statement on the front of this policy form to indicate their understanding of, and agreement with the procedures, conditions, policy, and potential problems associated with early graduation.
    4. The guidance counselor will inform the student’s teachers of the student’s potential early graduation status.
    5. Immediately upon petitioning the principal for approval of early graduation status, the student must meet with an appropriate administrator to ensure all Massachusetts standardized testing requirements are fulfilled.
    6. Upon permission by the principal to be a candidate for early graduation, the student and their guidance counselor must meet at regular intervals (at least twice per academic reporting period) to review the student’s progress and status. Any incidents or challenges that arise and that may impact this agreement must be reported to the principal in a timely manner.
    7. The student will meet all deadlines and be responsible for completing all academic requirement.
    8. Though a student may be considered an early graduate at the close of the first semester of the fourth year of study, they will not be issued a diploma until (or after) the June graduation ceremony. Their final transcript noting them as a graduate will be available within one week of fulfilling all requirements and obligations and being deemed a graduate of Falmouth High School.


    LEGAL REFS.:     M.G.L. 71:1,2,3,34A; 69:1D; 15A:39

    REFS.:               Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)

                             College and Career Readiness Initiative (http://www.doe.mass.edu/hsreform/)

                             High School Graduation Requirements and Guidelines (http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/graduation.html)

Last Modified on June 29, 2020