Archive for Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Board OKs policy allowing seniors to attend on part-time basis

April 12, 2005

Seniors entering their eighth semester of school at Lansing High School can apply to attend on a part-time basis beginning in spring semester 2006.

The Lansing School Board on Monday night approved a change in district policy allowing part-time attendance for qualifying seniors in the spring semester. While the district has allowed early graduation in the past, this is the first time it has allowed part-time status for seniors in their final semester.

The policy would free qualifying students to pursue college coursework, practical job experience or vocational education.

"Kids are growing up more quickly than they ever have before," said LHS principal Steve Dike, who presented the proposed policy. "They're exposed to a whole lot more opportunities, and I would hate to think that we're standing in the way of them moving forward."

As approved, the policy would allow seniors on track for graduation to apply for part-time status if they meet several criteria. Students would have to have approval from both their parents and the principal.

Among the requirements are attending high school classes during consecutive blocks of time each day; if a student wanted to participate in athletics, he or she would have to attend classes at the end of the day.

"This is a very common approach in many schools," said Randal Bagby, district superintendent, who noted that the focus in education should not be about "doing time."

Before the board approved the policy on a 6-0 vote - board member Stuart Lyon was absent from the meeting - board members Brian Bode and Craig Gephardt raised questions about including a requirement that there be some kind of accompanying academic or vocational requirement outside of the high school for students gaining part-time status.

"There's nothing in this policy that keeps a kid from going to Petro Deli and smoking four hours a day," Bode observed.

Though acknowledging such a possibility, school officials said it was their opinion that students who would opt for part-time status likely would be high academic achievers or otherwise good students.

LHS vice principal Mike Bogard said his research indicated that about 10 to 14 percent of a senior class would opt for part-time status in any given year. He said administrators in other districts told him the majority of seniors savored their time at the top of a high school's pecking order and wanted to stay as full-time students the entire year.

For more on Monday's school board meeting, pick up Thursday's edition of The Current.


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