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South Whidbey to consider new graduation requirements

The South Whidbey School Board will consider adopting new graduation requirements at its meeting tonight.

The state Board of Education has proposed a new high school credit structure that emphasizes rigor and current requirements for entry to college and career path programs. According to South Whidbey school officials, the structures are designed for a traditional high school schedule of six annual credits taken in 50-minute long classes, for 180 days, for four years, totaling up to 24 credits.

South Whidbey High School currently has a modified block schedule of four periods of 90 minutes each and students earn a credit for attending 90 days (half of a year) in these classes. Students are currently required to take 30.15 credits to graduate. While students have more class choices, their courses are shorter in length (135 hours per credit verses 150 hours per credit in the traditional schedule) and each year the school district obtains a waiver from the state to offer the block schedule.

The district hopes to standardize requirements at both Whidbey Island Academy and Bayview School, while aligning SWHS with proposed state graduation credits, while maintaining for the immediate future the block schedule and more than the state minimums for credits.

Changes for SWHS involve phasing in one more science credit (from two to three) in 2014; adjusting credits for the culminating project and writing assessment; and eliminating the portfolio requirement. Two credits will also now be required in world language, and two credits will be required for career concentration.  Electives will be reduced from nine to seven, and 30 total credits will be required for graduation.

At Bayview and WIA, requirements will reflect the proposed state required 24 credits. Bayview will go from three to four English credits; WIA and Bayview will increase from two to three science credits; WIA and Bayview will require three social studies credits (which is .5 more for Bayview and one less for WIA); WIA will increase by one credit in core art from none; Bayview will increase to 1 occupational credit from none. Both Bayview and WIA will also require .5 health credit and 1.5 PE credits, as well as two two world language credits and two career concentration credits.

The school board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 23 in the board room on the South Whidbey Primary Campus, 5476 S. Maxwelton Road.

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