Modified High School diploma - feedback? Online classes?


Our teen is having school anxiety and is ready to quit school.  Ive searched online but there is little information on a Modified High School Diploma.  Can you join the police force? Military?  What impact does this type of diploma have? While the diploma will appear the same I am concerned about what type of impact this has on a career?

Im leaning more towards online courses to complete.  I guess my additional question is does anyone have exerience with a good online school?  

Smart Kid, driven. Great GPA.

Appreciate your advice,


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I took the California High School Proficiency Exam when I was 16 and have zero regrets.  I started community college right away and was able to transfer to UC Berkeley.  I have a master's now too.  Like your son, I was smart and my ability wasn't the problem, it's that I found the daily experience of going to school boring and other students cruel.  I don't know if you can still join the police force or military (I suspect if a GED counts, so does the CHSPE), but if he enjoys learning and might be more successful in community college look into it.  As a current teacher I am highly skeptical about most of the K12 online schools and their quality, and if your son is smart I doubt that would satisfy his desire to learn. 


Please check out Ka-Lo Academy ( for a unique, self-paced and learner-driven educational experience.  Both of my daughters graduated high school through their program.  Both left traditional school (one as a senior and one as a sophomore) and attended community college where they felt that people were there because they wanted to be there.  They were treated like adults and choose their classes.  Ka-Lo Academy served as the "high school" so they could have concurrent enrollment.  They also served as counselors to help them decide their path, offered writing courses and opportunities to socialize with peers that were following their own unique paths.  The social aspect was what worried me most about leaving traditional school but it wasn't an issue at all. My 17-year-old just graduated and already has four full college semesters under her belt.  It's been amazing for my children, their growth, and individuality, I can't recommend it enough.

My gosh, you guys, can you imagine what it would have been like to have had these options when we were in high school? I'm so envious. 

There is a little-known and excellent program called "Gateway to College" that is a high school on the Laney College campus.  It is for kids who are at risk for not completing high school.  Small class size and lots of individual attention.  They end up transitioning to taking college classes at Laney after reaching a certain level in the program.  Here is some info:

Gateway to College Program Eligibility/Requirements

-Gateway to College is targeted to students 16 to 20 years old who have left high school without a diploma OR who are behind in high school credits for age or grade level
-Students must live within Alameda County to be eligible
-Students must have an eighth grade reading level in order to qualify for Gateway to College

You don't say where you live, but if you live in Berkeley, Berkeley Unified offers Independent Study (homeschooling, essentially). My daughter is a high school senior in Berkeley Independent Study. It is part of BUSD, and when she graduates she will have a diploma from Berkeley High. High school students in Berkeley Independent Study (BIS) can take two classes per year on the BHS campus, if they are not offered or available at BIS. High school students often take classes at Berkeley City College or Tilden Prep (an option you might want to consider). My daughter goes to classes and meets with her teachers at the BIS campus (same facilities as B-Tech, at Derby/MLK) once or twice a week and does her homework/classwork on her own. She is also taking American Sign Language at BCC, and attends the German School of the East Bay preparing for her German fluency exam in December. She's very independent and finds this flexible schedule more suitable for her needs. Depending on your child, this may be a good option for them. For more information, contact Berkeley Independent Study. Information sessions are Tuesdays at 12 noon. Please email BIS [at] or call 510-644-8592 to sign up for an orientation. This is the first step to learning about Berkeley Independent Study and the enrollment process. Good luck!

I live in SF and one of my kids, who did not quite complete HS, got a regular HS diploma from City College while also getting college credit for the classes he was missing.

If you live in Berkeley you could try Independent Studies. Talk to your student's counselor.

Your kid can drop out and go to city college instead. Earn college credit.  Take the GED later. We did it. Best decision ever.

My daughter was also at the breaking point and could not find a high school environment that would be a fit. High achieving, very creative. Just racked with anxiety and dread on the social pressures. We moved back home to the bay from the DC area where she was about to start 11th grade. We looked at homeschooling, enrolled at SF Independence High only to discover after that they didn’t have the rigor of classes available that she needed. As a high school student, CA law limits the number of college classes you can take - 1 per semester as a junior and 2 per semester as a senior. After DAYS of bureaucratic wrangling and persistence between the school, the district, and city college, we found the solution.  If she dropped out, she was no longer subject to that law. She could take the GED in 2020 and already have 2 years of college credit.  Shes now at CCSF full time taking horticulture, history 17A, pre-calc, English 1A with three half days on campus and wednesdays and fridays off. She’s re-engaged in her hobbies and music, re-energized and excited about academics, loves her new schedule.  

Pulling off this feat was not easy! I’m happy to assist anyone who wants the cheat sheet of 50+ institutional objections you will hear along the way. No matter what they say, it’s possible bc we did it. I want to pay it forward because it’s so awesome and I think it saved her life.


I would definitely call Tilden Preparatory School in Albany on Solano.  They also have a school in Walnut Creek and it looks like now in Marin.  My son was able to have one on one with an amazing teacher (Miles) and only had to take the required classes for his diploma.

My son, who should be starting his senior year of high school, took the California High School Proficiency Exam this summer. It's similar to the GRE but is only available to high school students enrolled in school/under 18 years old. Upon passing, we opted to unenroll him from school and he now has the legal equivalent of a high school diploma. (He did have the option of continuing with school even after he passed, in case he wanted to work towards getting his high school diploma). Read more about the test at My son is a smart kid and enjoys learning about a variety of subjects. However, he hated almost everything about school and both early morning class times and homework were regular battles for years. My happy, smart kid disappeared and our house was filled with anger, frustration, disappointment, worry, and stress. Everyone was miserable, despite lots of interventions. We tried everything before discovering the CHSPE. My only regret is not learning about it sooner. Instead of fighting with him about school and a house filled with negativity, I have my happy, engaged and curious boy back. He's contemplating community college but is really enjoying working full time. He worked hard to get a job in an industry that excites him and has long term career potential. He sets his alarm and gets himself out the door on time for work - something that never happened with school. The CHSPE worked well for us!

Hi - My son took the CHSPE exam after his sophomore year & he has no regrets. He enrolled in 2 classes that spark his interest at our local community college & is working PT in a field he loves. He was very motivated & did all this himself. He may or may not eventually go to a 4 year university, but he's only 16 & has plenty of time to work it out while not being miserable in High School.

Good luck to you!!