Starting in fall 2009, incoming freshmen will need 28 credits to graduate, including four English and four math credits. Students will also be required to take a math class each year of high school, said Tiffany Smith, freshman counselor at Lebanon High School.The new requirements also include three science credits, four social studies credits, one personal finance, one wellness, one physical education, one fine arts credit, two foreign language credits in the same language and an elective focus of at least three credits, as posted on the school board’s web page.
The focus could be in vocational education, physical education, or performing or fine arts or one of several academic areas.
If, for example, a student chose math and science for the elective focus he or she would have to take three classes in those areas in addition to the regular requirements, Smith said.
Students currently in high school will not be affected by these changes. They can still follow one of three approved tracks, with the technology track not requiring foreign language or fine arts credits.
The elective focus area will also be new in the fall, as will the required credits in personal finance and physical education.
The instructional supervisors for high school and elementary are expected to discuss the requirements with the board Saturday, said Vikki Adkins, Zone 1 board member.
Board Chair Teddy Cook said an International Baccalaureate School accreditation would virtually guarantee graduates admission to whatever university they choose.
“There are certain curricular requirements,” she said. “For example, the school has to offer at least three foreign languages, and the accreditation process is much more rigorous.”
She also added that the library and technology programs would have upgraded requirements, but she believes the benefits would far outweigh any costs involved.
“This is a major goal of mine,” Cook said. “I want us to work toward having at least one high school in the county qualified.”
She also said she thought the other members of the board agreed that this was a positive goal for the county schools.
Staff Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.