Missouri Option Program

The Missouri Option Program, sponsored by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, is for students ages 17 - 20 who have the capabilities to complete Missouri high school graduation requirements, but for a variety of reasons lack the credits needed to graduate with their class and are at risk of leaving school without a high school diploma.

The Missouri Option program provides seniors at risk of not graduating or dropping out an alternative opportunity to earn a Francis Howell School District Diploma. Also, the program offers those students who have dropped out an opportunity to return to school to earn a high school diploma. Each student interested in the Missouri Option program will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The program provides an opportunity for these students to earn a Francis Howell School District diploma by meeting the specific requirements.


Click to View The Missouri Option Program Packet

Student Eligibility

  • Age - Student’s must be at least 17-years old, at least in their senior year and no more than 20 years of age.
  • Credits - Students must be at least one year’s credit behind their cohort group (class), or for other significant reasons identified in the local plan, be unable to complete their diploma with their cohort group. Cohort is defined as the year that a student enrolled in Kindergarten
  • Less than 16.5 credits if applying at the beginning of senior year.
  • Locator - Students must have at least a 10th grade reading level and an 8th grade math level.
  • There may be exceptions pending the student’s strengths and needs, but those exceptions are uncommon. Grade level is identified by administering a locator test (TABE). The test is 100 questions (50 reading & 50 applied math with a calculator), the test is untimed.
  • The MO DESE MO OP Assurance Standards require an 11th grade reading level, however, permission has been given to FHSD to accept students at a 10th grade reading level, at the discretion of the FHSD Missouri Option Program Coordinator.
  • Students must live within the boundaries of the Francis Howell School District.


Procedure and Requirements for Graduation

Students completing the Missouri Option Program will receive a Francis Howell School District High School Diplomas and will be considered a high school graduate. A student will complete the program and receive their high school diploma when they have met the following criteria:

  • 1 credit in an American Government class
  • Passing score on the Missouri Constitution test
  • Passing score on the US Constitution test
  • ½ credit in a Personal Finance class
  • ½ credit in a Health class
  • Successful completion of the HiSET exam
  • Successful completion of the class hours required in the program (15 per week)
  • Successful completion of the work hours/volunteer hours required for the program (15 per week)

The Missouri Option Program room has the capability to allow a student to complete all of the above requirements, if not already completed prior to entrance to the program.

The Missouri Option Program is NOT an "early out" program or"easy out" alternative. It is specifically intended to meet the needs of students who are credit-deficient (for whatever reasons), but who otherwise could be expected to meet regular graduation requirements. This program is NOT intended to prepare students for the MO High School Equivalency exam (HiSET); it provides substantive academic content aligned with the school's regular curriculum and expectations. Students must attend school regularly and have access to the kind of counseling and support services that are available to all students.

If you are interested in the FHSD Missouri Option Program, please contact your academic advisor to begin the application process. Any questions or concerns, please consult the Missouri Option Program Information Packet and Application, contact your academic advisor, or contact the Missouri Option Program Coordinator:

John DeSpain
Missouri Option Program Coordinator
Francis Howell Union High School
ph: 636-851-4862
fax: 636-851-4127

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