Thursday, December 14, 2017

Graduation credit change to occur

By: Lilly Sayre
     Your whole high school schedule is based off of the amount of credits you earn in four years, and guess what?  It is about to change. Right now, high school seniors in West Virginia must have a total of 24 credits in order to graduate; Jackson County Schools requires 28 credits over the four-year span. Legislation is proposing to change this state total to 21. If approved by the West Virginia Board of Education, this will take place no sooner than the next school year. This means the earliest students possible to be affected from this change would be the class of 2019. 
The amendment states, “Requiring 17 prescribed credits could permit students to choose up to 15 personalized credits on a block schedule.” Personalized credits could be used to go towards a student’s major or for their enjoyment. 
Superintendent Blaine Hess says, “[Flexibility in schedules] gives us more of an opportunity to have kids in classes such as personal finance that focus on real life issues.”
     Policy 2510 proposes that the social studies requirements are dropped from four credits to three. Along with that they are lowering the number of electives required. The county requirements will be reviewed during a meeting after the state makes its final decision. So, it is unknown how our area will be effected by this change just yet.
     Many teachers are concerned about this change.
     Social studies teacher Jo Phillips expresses her thoughts by saying “I think they should leave the credits at four for history. Now more than ever students need to be exposed to Americas history, government, and world issues.”
     This change is being discussed by the state board more now to give the counties the opportunity to require other courses that would be more beneficial in our region compared to another’s. For example, regions more agricultural based might want to emphasize their agriculture program more than other counties. 
     This gives students the chance to focus on classes that are centered around their career choice. Depending on which field you plan on pursuing a career in or whether you are going to a technical school instead of a traditional college, you may or may not need the foreign language credit.  
     Counselor Tina Holley says foreign language classes are important because, “They prepares students to be well rounded college majors, and also make students more marketable when applying for jobs when they have foreign languages on their applications.”
     In the policy, foreign language requirements should be based on student plans after high school.  Students going on to college should not be affected dramatically by this change because languages will still be recommended for them. 
     Hess explains that the high schools are still preparing students for college even with fewer requirements.  If they take challenging classes and work hard, they will be ready no matter what. 
The requirement change has to be discussed and approved by the state board so changes can still be made to the policy. It is most likely to be added to the January agenda at the state level for discussion and review. 


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