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Assembly Bill 2121 Frequently Asked Questions

This web page provides responses to frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding Assembly Bill 2121, which amends California Education Code (EC) to expand existing law to include migratory children and students participating in a newcomer program.

Coursework and Graduation Requirement Exemptions for Migratory Children and Students Participating in a Newcomer Program, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

These FAQs assist local educational agencies (LEAs) in the implementation of AB 2121 (Caballero et al.), Chapter 581, Statutes of 2018. This collection represents commonly asked questions, but is not intended to be a complete list of all possible questions or scenarios.

  • Which LEAs are required to comply with the provisions set forth in AB 2121?

    School districts, county offices of education, and charter schools are required to comply with the provisions in AB 2121.

  • How do the amendments to EC sections 51225.1 and 51225.2 impact migratory children and students participating in a newcomer program?

    Existing law exempts foster care, homeless, former juvenile court students, and students from military families, who transfer between schools any time after the completion of the second year of high school, from all locally adopted high school coursework and requirements that are supplemental to statewide coursework requirements. 

    The amendments to these statutes extend these exemptions to any student who is a migratory child and any student participating in a newcomer program who also is in their third or fourth year of high school.

    These exemptions are not available if an LEA makes a finding that the student is reasonably able to complete the LEAs graduation requirements in time to graduate from high school by the end of the student’s fourth year of high school.

    EC sections 51225.1 External link opens in new window or tab. and 51225.2 External link opens in new window or tab.

  • What is the definition of a migratory child?

    A migratory child is one who has moved with a parent, guardian, or other person having custody, from one school district to another, either within the State of California or from another state within the 12-month period immediately preceding their identification as such a child, in order that the child, a parent, guardian, or other member of their immediate family might secure temporary or seasonal employment in an agricultural or fishing activity, and whose parents or guardians have been informed of the child’s eligibility for migrant education services.

    EC sections 51225.2(a)(5) External link opens in new window or tab. and 54441External link opens in new window or tab.

  • Who qualifies as a student "participating in a newcomer program"?

    A student participating in a newcomer program means a student who is participating in a program designed to meet the academic and transitional needs of newly arrived immigrant students that has the primary objective to develop English language proficiency. EC Section 51225.2(a)(6) External link opens in new window or tab.

  • Can an LEA allow a migratory child or student participating in a newcomer program to participate in a fifth year of high school in order to graduate?

    Yes. LEAs are required to take action when they determine that a migratory child or newly arrived student is reasonably able to complete local graduation requirements within a fifth year of high school. In such cases, the LEA shall do all of the following:

    • Inform the student of their option to remain in school for a fifth year to complete the LEA’s graduation requirements.
    • Inform the student, and the person holding the educational rights for the student, about how remaining in school for a fifth year to complete the LEA’s graduation requirements will affect the student’s ability to gain admission to a postsecondary institution.
    • Provide information to the student about transfer opportunities available through the California Community Colleges.
    • Permit the student to stay in school for a fifth year to complete the LEA’s graduation requirements based on an agreement with the student, if the student is at least 18 years old. If the student is under 18, an agreement must be made with the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the student.
  • How may an LEA determine whether a migratory child is in their third or fourth year of high school?

    LEAs may determine whether a migratory child is in their third or fourth year of high school by either the number of credits the student has earned to the date of transfer or the length of the student’s enrollment, whichever will qualify the student for an exemption from all coursework and other requirements adopted by the LEA that are in addition to the statewide coursework requirements.

  • How may an LEA determine whether a student participating in a newcomer program is in their third or fourth year of high school?

    For students participating in a newcomer program, enrollment in grade 11 or 12 may be used to determine whether the pupil is in their third or fourth year of high school.

  • When should an LEA notify a student and the student's parent or guardian of a possible exemption?

    An LEA is required to notify the migratory child, and that student’s parent or guardian, of the exemption and whether the student qualifies within 30 calendar days of the date the student transfers into a school. An LEA is required to notify a student participating in a newcomer program, and that student’s parent or guardian, of the exemption and whether that student qualifies within 30 calendar days of the student commencing participation in the newcomer program.

  • If a student did not receive timely notice of their eligibility for an exemption, does that student still qualify for the exemption even if they no longer meets the definition of “migratory child” or “student participating in a newcomer program”?

    Yes. Even if notification occurs after the student no longer meets the definition of “migratory child” or “a pupil participating in a newcomer program,” if originally eligible, the student will still be eligible for exemption from the local graduation requirements.

  • If a qualified student is exempted from local graduation requirements and completes the statewide coursework requirements before the end of their fourth year of high school, may the student remain in attendance until graduation?

    Yes. An exempted student that finishes the statewide coursework requirements before the end of their fourth year of high school may remain in attendance at the school, including a charter school, until graduation.

  • Can a student or student's parent or guardian request a student transfer solely to qualify the student for an exemption?

    No. The student or the parent or guardian of a student may not request a transfer solely to qualify a student for an exemption.

  • Are LEAs required to provide notification of the exemption provided by AB 2121?

    Yes. Information regarding the availability of and requirements for the coursework exemption shall be included in the annual notification distributed to, among others, pupils, parents or guardians of pupils, employees, and other interested parties.

  • May LEAs accept coursework that a student completed while attending another learning institution?

    Yes. An LEA shall accept coursework satisfactorily completed by a migratory child or a student participating in a newcomer program while attending another public school, a juvenile court school, a charter school, a school in a country other than the United States, or a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency.

  • If a migratory child or student participating in a newcomer program did not complete an entire course, can full or partial credit be given?

    Yes. Full or partial credit for the coursework satisfactorily completed shall be applied to the same or an equivalent course.

  • If a migratory child or student participating in a newcomer program did not complete an entire course or completed a course at another institution, can an LEA require the student to retake the course?

    Generally, no. The LEA shall not require a migratory child or student participating in a newcomer program who did not complete an entire course to retake the portion of the course the student completed unless the LEA, in consultation with the parent or guardian, finds that the student is reasonably able to complete the requirements in time to graduate from high school.

    If a migratory child or student participating in a newcomer program satisfactorily completed the entire course in another public school, a juvenile court school, a charter school, a school in a country other than the United states, or a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency, an LEA shall not require the student to retake it.
  • Can a migratory child or student participating in a newcomer program take or retake courses in order to meet eligibility requirements for admission to the California State University (CSU) or the University of California (UC)?

    Yes. A migratory child or student participating in a newcomer program shall not be prevented from taking or retaking a course to meet CSU or UC requirements.

  • Does this bill apply retroactively to the class of 2018?

    No. AB 2121 went into effect on January 1, 2019, and thus applies to the graduating class of 2019 and forward. It is not retroactive to the Class of 2018.

Questions:   Nicole Hamlin | nhamlin@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0443
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, May 21, 2019
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