Standard raised for diplomas

DALLAS -- Members of the Dallas High School class of 2012 will have to log more time in the classroom to earn a diploma.

DALLAS -- Members of the Dallas High School class of 2012 will have to log more time in the classroom to earn a diploma.

The state has mandated new requirements for students to receive their diplomas and the class of incoming freshman will be notified of the changes.

"We are actually quite ahead of the game," Cory Bradshaw of the Dallas School District said. "We are current (according to) the new state plan up until the class of 2012."

All of the new requirements will be phased in over the next seven years, according to a report presented to the board.

The graduating classes of 2010 and 2011 will need to increase English and language arts credits from three to four and math credits from two to three.

Graduating classes of 2012 and 2013 will need to bump up science credits from two to three and two of the three must include lab experiences.

Both classes will also need to raise their second language, arts and career and technical credits from one to three, but reduce their elective credits from nine to six.

Finally, the class of 2014 will need to achieve the new three-credit math requirement, and all credits must be at Algebra I and above.

Morrison Campus Alternative Program will also be seeing changes for the class of 2012.

"It would essentially be the Dallas High School graduation plan -- just short of electives," Morrison Principal Jamie Richardson said.

Morrison students will need 24 credits, compared to Dallas students who will need 26, and Morrison students will need one science selective, three applied arts, second language or career and technical education, and six elective credits.

Richardson said keeping the number of credits lower at the alternative campus makes students feel as though it is a bit easier to graduate, which he hopes will keep kids motivated enough to stay in school and receive their diplomas.

"One or two credits could be the determining factor of whether a kid turns around and walks back out the door," Richardson said.

However, he said students wanting to attend Morrison will be reviewed closely as to avoid enrolling students who want to be at the school simply to finish early.

The graduation requirements at both schools does have an effect on staffing. Superintendent Christy Perry said keeping up with the demands is the reason a new language arts teacher was hired at the high school for this year.


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