Published 11/13/2012 in Local NewsBy RACHAEL GRAY
Graduation requirements will be changing for USD 457 students in alternate education.
The board unanimously approved a requirement change Monday night that will lessen the credits needed for students at the Garden City Alternate Education Center to graduate.
The board approved the change at a regularly-scheduled board meeting.
Mark Ronn, principal of the GCAE, said the requirement change mostly is in electives.
He said the basic change is that students attending the alternate school will be able to graduate with 21 credits required by the state of Kansas as opposed to the 26.5 that are required at Garden City High School.
"The bulk of the credit reduction is in electives," he said.
Ronn said the reason behind that change is to make graduating more possible for some students.
"We've had a fair amount of students drop out during senior year. What we're trying to do is not make things easy for them but make things possible," he said.
Ronn said he has students in his program for a variety of reasons.
"And for reasons of their own they also want to proceed with life, whether it's a career, family, to go on in education. This is a way for them to meet that goal quickly and meet all state requirements," he said.
The 21-credit requirement will be implemented this year with students already in the program and also for students transferring in.
"We're not going to be keeping anyone from getting the 26-credit diploma if they wish, but this is an option. It's their choice," he said.
At a retreat Saturday, board members discussed the policy.
Mark Rude, board member, said the discussion was informative.
"I thought we had a great discussion on Saturday. It makes a lot of sense to me what you're proposing to do. We've got outstanding kids and an outstanding program. This is a very appropriate change to the requirements for graduation. It makes so much sense I can't help but be enthused," he said.
Jean Clifford, board president, agreed.
"I am in favor of revising this policy. I think it's time for the change. It's an appropriate change for the students," she said.
Also at the meeting, Glenda LaBarbera, Kenneth Henderson Middle School principal, along with a team of middle school teachers, gave a presentation on how students are using technology to learn Common Core curriculum that includes higher level thinking.
The educators gave a multimedia presentation on how students use technology in science and reading classes.
Students are drawing more conclusions and expressing those conclusions using technology for reading, writing and science problems, the teachers said.
Rude said the teachers are responding quickly to the change from Adequate Yearly Progress under No Child Left Behind to Common Core Standards.
"I'm just amazed how you all are implementing Common Core with technology," he said.
In other business, according to meeting documents, Kathleen Whitley, financial officer, has officially announced her retirement, effective July 31, 2013.
Whitley was absent from Monday's meeting. Gloria Hopkins, board member, also was absent.
Found 5 comment(s)!
Not A Great Idea
Based on your theory. We should fire all the elective teachers. We could save money that way. Then we could lower the rquirements to graduate. Win win for everyone. Ya Right! I am glad you don't work there anymore.
Posted by: GC on 11/26/2012
I absolutely disagree with both comments before me! As a former staff member at New Outlook Academy, which has been replaced with GCAE, I think this is an absolutely wonderful idea. It has been several years since I worked at NOA, but when I was there, the school was being run with minimal staff. At that time, there were four teachers (math, english, science, social studies)and a couple teachers that came from other buildings to offer elective classes. However, the school was run in quarters, and students only took 4 classes each quarter. This made it difficult to always schedule the electives that were required to meet graduation requirements. In my time at the school, we saw many students drop out because they were going to be short a couple elective classes. The students at that school are there for a reason - the large high school environment is not suitable for them for various reasons. But if they are unable to get electives because the school district won't provide enough staff, then I think it's a great solution to cut out some of the requirements. In order to meet the state's requirements, students will still be taking an adequate number of core classes, which are the ones that really matter for going on to a career or higher education. Thank you, school board, for finally making an attempt to meet the needs of the alternative education students!
Posted by: Former NOA Staff on 11/24/2012
It is decisions like this that "earned" GCHS the blue ribbon award. As long as everything looks good on paper, it is fine. Nobody cares if our kids don't receive a proper education and get challenged and prepared for the real world. Oh, and rumor has it Mark Ronn gets to pick which students actually get into the alternative school. So what happens to those kids he doesn't want and who can't function at the regular high school? Well done USD 457, well done.
Posted by: GCHS Parent on 11/23/2012
I agree with Cindy
How shameful!! Worst school board decision EVER.
Posted by: picmom on 11/16/2012
Are you kidding me! Talk about being really disappointing in our school board! Lets also give them welfare because finding a job might be to hard for them, and going to work every day is about impossible! Come on the reason you changed the requirements is because you needed to up the graduation rate at the high school. Talk about dumbing down our students. Shaking My Head! :(
Posted by: Cindy on 11/13/2012