During the Aug. 23 West Jefferson School Board meeting, board members approved to change the graduation requirements for high school students.
Superintendent Shane Williams stated that in previous discussions, the board had discussed Math credits, whether it should be ten or nine, and State requirements versus West Jefferson requirements; how semesters against trimesters impacted the Idaho Digital Learning Alliance (IDLA), and should it be required three times per year.
The board discussed the same ideas surround English credits, and whether they should be eleven or twelve.
“As we’re looking to create a balance with what we offer education wise for our students,” said Williams. “There is always a pro and a con, based on what your priority is.”
Williams mentioned West Jefferson offers a lot of different opportunities that other 2A schools don’t offer.
“We’re doing the very best we can to offer kids opportunities and to grow,” said Williams.
According to Williams, there will be times when the requirements for graduation will change, which can be through a change in State requirements, or the school board will want something to be more of a priority.
Williams mentioned Idaho Code has 46 credits that are required for graduation. State numbers are based off of a semester class instead of a trimester class. With a trimester, there will be more opportunities with a six period trimester instead of a five period trimester.
Williams stated the Class of 2024 was the first to have a six period high school day.
Williams stated the school board looked back on their credits and asked, why do they want to go above and beyond what the state asks.
According to the Graduation Requirements document, students have the opportunity to get 72 high school credits (6 classes per trimester for 4 years). 85% of 72 is approximately 61 credits. This would impact each class in the following way: 2022 would be 56 credits, 2023 would be 59 credits, and 2024+ would be 61 credits.
Williams stated if they put graduation requirements too low, students will graduate really early, and if the requirements are too high only the high-achievers will graduate and the students who struggle don’t. It’s not an easy fix.
The board unanimously approved to increase the graduation requirements.