School board mulls adding one more year of math for high school diploma

MARYSVILLE High school students here will have to work just a little bit harder to get a diploma under tougher new graduation requirements under study by the Marysville School District.
The Board of Directors heard the first reading of a policy that would increase the math requirements and overall number of credits for high school graduation. The prompt came from a district task force that looked at graduation requirements over the last two years. They looked at other districts and state educational organizations, and the impact new standards might have on state education budgets, as students are required to complete more seat time in a given subject. That subject would be math, and students will have to take more of it starting with next years ninth-graders, the graduating class of 2011, if the new policy is adopted.
That would push to 23 the number of credits needed for a diploma. The state of Washington requires 19 credits, with each credit equivalent to a year-long class; a semester-long class would earn half a credit, and during four years of high school 24 credits would be possible, without taking extra classes. The proposed policy requires another year of math, and strives to keep students in grade-level math classes until they pass the Washington Assessment of Student Learning test.
The other change proposed is to reduce by a semester the social studies and physical education requirements, and increasing by a half-credit the number of electives students can pursue.
We are increasing academic rigor, so we are going in the right direction, school board president Michael Kundu said after the policys first reading at the boards March 5 meeting.
Assistant superintendent Gail Miller said the changes were proposed after much study.
A lot of interest was in mathematics, Miller said.
The policy also strives to fight senoritis by keeping fourth-year students in school for a full day, noting that colleges are scrutinizing high school transcripts. Colleges are beginning to look at second semester senior year for full load of rigorous courses for the college bound, the proposed policy reads.
The report leads with the explanation that the policy is based on certain values, the foremost to send the message that failure of courses is not okay.
The changes will be heard two more times by the board and they will take comments at a work study as well, Miller said.

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