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H-H Considers Cutting Graduation Requirements

Under the proposal being considered by the Hatboro-Horsham School Board, the class of 2016 and beyond could opt for two different types of diplomas.

Of 22 school districts throughout Montgomery and Bucks counties, Hatboro-Horsham High School has the fourth-highest number of credits required for students to graduate high school.

But, that could change under a dual diploma possibility that the Hatboro-Horsham School Board is mulling over.

Currently, seniors must successfully complete 29 credits in order to graduate. For students deemed "advanced scholars" that requirement would stay the same. For the rest of the student body, the credit requirement could be scaled back to 27, under a proposal put forth by Principal Dennis Williams.

Even with the cut - which has not been approved yet - Williams pointed out that the credit requirement would still be above the state's 21-credit minimum requirement as well as the 23-credit requirement from 1993, when he graduated from Hatboro-Horsham High School.

"The idea or the goal was to increase the rigor," Williams said of why credit requirements have consistently increased at the high school. Credits have remained at 29 since 2010.

Under the proposal, which Williams presented Monday night during the school board's work session, students vying for a "standard" diploma would scale back electives to between 4 and 8 credits total instead of the existing 6 to 10 credits. Those seeking a more advanced diploma would need 3 credits of world language, 5.5 elective credits and a 3.4 grade point average. 

"We have kids who graduate with more than these credits," Williams said. "Sixty-five percent of Hatboro-Horsham High School graduate with more."

Students seeking the advanced diploma would apply for it in the first semester of their junior year, Williams said. 

Do you think Hatboro-Horsham High School should offer two types of diplomas, in essence requiring fewer course credits for graduation?

In May, when the district began discussions of staff cuts, Superintendent Curtis Griffin suggested that reductions in graduation requirements could help scale back the need for staff. 

“Less credits, less classes, less staff,” Griffin said in May.

When Patch inquired Monday if staff reductions were the driving force behind the graduation requirements, Griffin stopped short of saying yes.

"Could that alter our staffing needs at the high school?" Griffin asked. "Yes."

Griffin said the board likely would not decide on a change in graduation requirements until early in 2013. 

And before then, Williams said he has more legwork to do in terms of talking to officials at Souderton Area High School, Central Bucks High School West, Central Bucks High School East and Central Bucks High School South to see how those schools implemented the change to more than one diploma and how it impacted students. 

Based on his research, Williams said Souderton Area School District and Central Bucks School District are the only two districts of roughly three dozen regionally that offer differentiated diplomas.

"It brings some distinction to the achievement of students who go above and beyond," Williams said. 

, agreed and said having a more advanced diploma would be "helpful."

Student Council President Sean Raymond, who was also in attendance Monday, was less sure. Raymond said that by offering a diploma with fewer credit requirements the district could potentially "discourage (students) from going in and taking extra courses."

Incognito October 08, 2012 at 06:15 AM
Unless they changed things since I graduated, there are 2 different GPA scales: a weighted one and an unweighted one. The weighted one takes into account the difficulty of the classes, as it should. If there wasn't a weighted scale there would literally by dozens of valedictorians since everyone would have the same GPA. I'm sorry, but I do not think that someone who gets As in academic classes deserves to be valedictorian as much as someone who gets straight As in AP classes, which require much more time, effort, and dedication. However, I do believe that regardless of the rigor of your classes, you should be commended on a job well done in some way. I agree that this change will just cause an increase in bragging and god knows H-H does not need more of that.
Incognito October 08, 2012 at 06:18 AM
Alternative solution: if you need to cut requirements, get rid of graduation project. It's really not that helpful and the whole outdoors part is just asking for a lawsuit if someone gets injured. It's a liability that the school does not need. I never did understand why they tried to get us to bond with our classmates at the end of our senior year anyway. It's not like we're going to all become best friends and keep in touch forever based on that one class.
JB October 08, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Tara & qdog- did you happen to notice that most of the schools listed in the top 20 are located in more AFFLUENT areas?! Go ahead and research what the school taxes are in those districts, i.e. Lower Merion, Radnor, Lower Moreland, Council Rock, New Hope-Solebury, Upper Dublin, Wissahickon, and what these schools spend on their students on average. Not to mention that their well-heeled parents are likely able to provide for generous amounts of private tutoring and SAT prep courses outside of school which may be out of reach financially for a many (but not all) of HH parents.
Roman Gabriel October 08, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Why bother making changes. In 2008 H-H made there students watch the Obama indocrination video. If the faculty and administration are that stupid, can you expect the students to be any different ?
Incognito October 14, 2012 at 04:24 AM
Speaking of stupid, you used "there" incorrectly. It should be "their." Technically speaking, it should probably be "its," not "their" anyway.

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