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BOE updates graduation requirements
DCN Generic school bus

The Dawson County Board of Education recently approved changes to the high school graduation requirements.

As a result of the board’s May 1 meeting, graduating seniors must now have 28 units instead of 24 units to graduate. Incoming ninth graders will be required to have the 28 units to meet graduation requirements.

Current 10th through 12th graders will still be held to the 24 unit requirement.

“The reason we started looking at the graduation requirements is because we’re requiring our students to only earn like 75 percent of available credit, so that’s not in line with other districts that are on a block schedule,” said Nicole LeCave, executive director of Teaching and Learning.

There are 13 districts surrounding Dawson that are on a true block schedule, but Dawson is only one of five districts that offer graduation with less than 83 percent of available class credit. Most districts require students to earn 83 to 87 percent of available credit.

“By doing this we would be more in line with the credits that they’re offering to their students,” LeCave said.

If students were to earn credit for every class taken each year, they would have 32 units by the end of their senior year.

“With the opportunities we have now in eighth grade, (students) have absolutely adequate time to complete the graduation requirements by the end of their junior year,” said Superintendent Damon Gibbs.

The 260 eighth graders in the county have earned over 525 units of high school credit this year.

Included with the addition of the unit requirements is a mandatory personal finance course for juniors.

The new requirements were vetted by the Governance Council at Dawson County High School and the system governance team, who thought Dawson should be in line with the other district requirements, according to Gibbs.

 The new requirements will be listed in the student handbooks given to all students in the fall.