Math, credit graduation requirements change

Freshmen in the South Kitsap School District will have new graduation standards.

Deputy superintendent Kurt Wagner said the Class of 2014 will need 23 credits and three years of math to graduate.

Students previously needed 22 credits and two years of math.

Wagner said the change in math requirements comes from the Washington State School Directors’ Association. He said the state mandates 19 credits for graduation, but that stems from the traditional six-period class schedule, where students can earn a maximum of three credits per semester beginning their freshman year.

SKSD features a different model. South Kitsap High School students are on a block schedule where they take six classes — three a day — each trimester and earn one-third of a credit per passed class.

That means a student who does not take extra classes through online offerings, summer school or other options could earn as many as 18 credits from their sophomore through senior years.

Wagner was not certain at Wednesday’s school-board meeting about the number of credits freshman can earn as ninth-graders at the district’s three junior high schools, which offer classes on a semester schedule.

“Eventually we’re going to have to get that aligned,” he said, adding that junior-high principals pushed for a semester schedule years ago because they felt those students benefited from consistency.

But Wagner said the team he worked with to study the potential impact of changing the requirement determined that the majority of students graduated with at least 23 credits in recent years.

The new WSSDA math requirement is similar to the one that was established for admission to many colleges years ago. Wagner said one year of math must come at the second-year algebra level.

“The one caveat to that is that the state has said there can be an alternative course that would be more career and technically education oriented,” he said. “We’re currently working on that.”

* SKSD board president Kathryn Simpson said Washington State History eventually will become part of the seventh-grade curriculum. But she said it still will be taught at the high school even when that change occurs because the district has a high turnover rate among students with parents in the military.

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