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Proposal to lower graduation requirements moves ahead

Nearly two dozen principals who support the move attended Tuesday night's school board meeting in which CMS officials listed the merits of having a 24-course requirement. It would allow students to graduate in three years. However, Associate Superintendent Ann Clark says students would benefit most from staying the full four years. "The opportunity for flexibility really creates an opportunity to redefine that senior year," she said. Clark says they could do internships, work as apprentices, take college courses or study abroad all in relation to their course interest. Board member Kaye McGarry called the options a plus. But she is concerned not enough students would take advantage of such programs. "It's almost like saying we're going to give you the diploma so we can let you go. And we don't have to worry about you anymore. I don't want that type of attitude prevailing- And I'm not saying that's your attitude Ann or any of these folks here," said McGarry. Clark said the district would make sure guidance counselors encourage students to continue their education whether in the form of a job or an internship or some other option. Board Vice Chairwoman Molly Griffin headed the policy committee that put together the proposal. "I do think counseling is going be so key because it's going be confusing to kids. We're going have to start with them but we're going have to start very early making it clear to them what these requirements really mean," said Griffin. The district decided on the 24 credit requirement after parents repeatedly favored it during meetings throughout the county this summer. Officials scheduled the meetings as it continues to look for ways to lower the drop out rate. The board is scheduled to vote on the graduation requirement at its next meeting in December.