Board members and Superintendent Suzanne Dickens heard from Greg Martin, Curriculum/Technology Director and Jack Cullen, Secondary Curriculum Coordinator about how this change should not be considered as “lowering the bar.”
The West Virginia Department of Education already enforced Policy 2510 that requires a minimum of 24 high school credits. This is reduced from the once required 28 hours.
“This gives a little bit of a leeway for those who made need to take classes over,” Cullen stated. “We want to be sure as many students as possible can graduate high school.”
According to both Martin and Cullen, all three area high school principles approve of the reduction in hours. This additionally means that a Response To Intervention (RTI) course will be the eighth period somewhere in a students schedule, eliminating some elective courses.
“There will still be seven academic periods,” Cullen stated, “and the minimum requirement for core subjects including math, social studies, science and English has not changed.”
The Board voted unanimously to reduce the graduation credits for grades 9-12 from 28 to 24 during their regular business meeting. It takes effect immediately.
Dickens commented on the approval to change their current policy, stating, “The return of 24 credits for graduation is ‘win-win’ for students.”
“Mason County aggressively increased graduation requirements to a higher standard than the state required about 15 years ago in hopes of raising the ‘academic bar’ in Mason County Schools,” Dickens added. “The strategy has not proved to increase academic performance in Mason County Schools. In fact, some of our academically performing students have suffered.”
She continued to say that the administration requested the return to the state requirement of 24 credits for graduation “in order to provide ‘extra help’ to students in need of support an ‘acceleration’ to students who academically do not need support.”