In accordance with state mandates, the Cherokee School District has changed its graduation policy to require completion of 4 years (8 semesters -- 8 credits) of language arts, 3 years (6 semesters -- 6 credits) of science, 3 years (6 semesters -- 6 credits) of math, 3 years (6 semesters -- 6 credits) of social studies and 4 years (8 semesters -- 4 credits) of phys ed.
The total number of required credits will go from 47 to 48 with the graduating class of 2011 - the freshmen in the upcoming school year. With the 30 credits as listed for core courses required above, that leaves 18 credits in electives for such classes as foreign language, music, art, vocational programs or additional courses in core disciplines.
Those who qualify for early graduation will be excused from physical education for the missing semester or semesters but the total credits will need to be satisfied. In order to get eight semesters of language arts classes in less than four years, the student would need to take more than one language arts course during at least one semester.
Larry Hunecke, Washington High School principal, noted that most Special Education students must satisfy the same graduation requirements as regular education students but there are exceptions as determined by the team that oversees a student's Individual Education Program (IEP).
A change within the Social Studies requirements was also made with the addition of World History as a mandatory course. This year's eighth graders will be taking early American History to get that subject out of the way before high school.
The 4-3-3-3 core course requirement for English, science, math and social studies was instituted by the state in order to increase academic performance of students. Much of what Hunecke presented to the school board Monday has been dictated by state law.