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."