WOONSOCKET – Local school officials could soon be considering plans to help students achieve new state graduation requirements that are threatening to keep some members of the Class of 2014 from earning a high school diploma when next year’s graduation season rolls around.
School Committee Chairwoman Vimala Phongsavanh said Tuesday she is aware of the changes in graduation requirements affecting next year’s seniors and wants to hear more about the district’s plans to assist students who have yet to achieve proficiency in state academic standards.
“We have to have remedial classes and programs set up next year because I am sure we have a good number of students who are not partially proficient,” Phongsavanh said.
Commissioner of Education Debra Gist issued a letter this week affirming her commitment to implementing the new graduation requirements for the next class of seniors and also explained they are part of a school reform effort begun by the state 10 years ago.
The changes are part of an effort to ensure Rhode Island high school students “are ready for success in colleges and careers,” Gist stated. “For too long, we have awarded diplomas to students who have not acquired basic proficiency in mathematics and reading,” she wrote. “These graduates soon learn that they are not prepared for college or careers,” Gist said.
The graduation of students not meeting the standards has left most who enter the Community College of Rhode Island in need of remedial courses that they must pay for and which is also a burden on an “already overloaded higher-education system,” Gist offered.