Archive for Wednesday, December 11, 2002

School Board lowers grad requirements at VCS

December 11, 2002

Students attending the Basehor-Linwood Virtual Charter School will now have graduation requirements matching the minimum standard set by the Kansas Department of Education.

The lower requirements were approved during the Basehor-Linwood School Board meeting Monday, Dec. 9. The School Board had considered the lower requirements since November and unanimously approved the new guidelines Monday night.

The Charter School is an on line school that offers course work via the Internet.

The new graduation guidelines call for a lower number of credits, 21, as opposed to the school district requirement of 25.

"In a way, I have some mixed feelings because we're lowering the bar," said Cal Cormack, Basehor-Linwood School District superintendent.

"But we're trying to get these kids on track and have a positive educational experience."

The lower number of credits will ensure more VCS students graduate, school officials said.

"It's still a steep hill for some of these kids to climb," Cormack said.

With the change, VCS students must now complete less course work in English and math. Course guidelines for science, social studies, physical education and health will remain the same.

"(The lower requirements) would reflect only on the VCS and not anything else being done with the rest of the student population," School Board member Pat Jeanin said.

Changes in curriculum for the rest of the school district was also discussed during the School Board meeting.

Since September, a panel of school officials, administrators and teachers have been meeting to plan a proposal, which would align school district kindergarten through 12th grade science standards with the state's.

"Things are going very well," said Bill Hatfield, Basehor-Linwood High School principal and panel member. "Things are on the right timeline."

Part of the new science curriculum entails the purchase of new textbooks and support materials, school officials said.

But the new books might not be a possibility for the school district because of recent budget cuts and the possibility of more in the future.

"Because of the revenue shortfall, public schools are being put on hold," Cormack said.

"One of the things we've had to scratch is new textbook adoptions."

The situation is a catch-22, Hatfield said.

"Funds are being limited (by the state) but we're being held accountable by state standards," he said.

The panel should have a recommendation for a new science curriculum later next year. Cormack said the school district would do everything possible to fund those changes.

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