"I think it will make a difference, especially for the middle-of-road
and lower-performing students who don't feel that there's any importance
to why they're in school," board member Lina Harper said.
The district is proposing middle schools go to a credit system, where
students would earn five credits for each class passed in seventh and
eighth grade. A student would not receive credit unless he or she earned
a D or better, said Joann Merrick, assistant superintendent of
Middle school students would be required to earn a minimum of 20
credits in English and 20 credits in math. The remaining 60 credits could
be divided among the remaining subjects and electives, with a minimum of
10 credits for each.
The changes would bring more accountability to the system, Merrick
said. Students would be required to earn a minimum of 100 credits to
graduate and a maximum of 120 credits. A student could, theoretically,
fail four classes over two years and still earn 100 credits.
But students could not advance to high school unless they passed all
their English and math requirements, Merrick said.
The board is expected to pass the new requirements at its May 16
Under the current system, students receive grades for each class. It
is possible for students to fail in certain classes and still advance to
high school, Merrick said. Students who fail classes are not allowed to
attend middle school graduation ceremonies.
Deputy Supt. of Educational Services Don Empey said students failing
math and English presently are required to attend School Year Plus, a
summer remedial program. After summer school, students who still haven't
met grade-level standards remain in middle school for another year.
Another option for failing students is to enter a program called
Bridge. The program allows students to take two periods of math and two
periods of English on a high school campus, but he or she are not
considered high school students until they complete their middle school
requirements, Empey said.