Havre Daily News
Cover your ears, parents. Havre High School students will have one more class to moan about, and hopefully learn from.
The Havre school board has approved a proposal to increase the graduation requirement by one credit, from 21.5 to 22.5 credits, starting with next year's incoming freshmen. A year-long course is worth one credit and a semester course half a credit.
The challenge will be a good thing, principal Jim Donoven said Thursday. "We're basically trying to up the fundamental standards."
In fact, most students are taking that extra class anyway. Last year, about 80 percent of the graduating class took 22.5 credits or more, the lowest percentage in four years. In 2001, 88.5 percent of students met the new standard, according to the school district.
The change brings Havre High School's requirements closer to the statewide average. The previous requirement placed the school in the lower third in requirements. It will now fall in the middle third.
Donoven said catching up with other schools was one reason for the change.
"That kid that just barely makes it, it will be difficult on," he said.
The school board also discussed the possibility of summer school to help kids who have failed a class and need to put in extra time to graduate. In the past, there have not been enough interested students, Donoven said.
Board member Teresa Miller suggested inviting students from schools across the Hi-Line.
Donoven said administrators have thought about increasing the number of mandatory credits for several years.
He came to the school board for a decision Tuesday once teachers and administrators agreed about where to add the extra credit. It will be added to the general elective requirements. Students can choose what subject to take an extra class in.
Adding it to the general elective requirements will keep from impacting class size, Donoven said.
He said working to improve students' test scores was another factor.
"Anytime you raise the requirements, you'd hope that's going to have an effect there too," he said.
Students who want to graduate early will have to work a little harder, though it is still possible.
This year, 15 students graduated one semester early. Donoven said they do so for different reasons. Some students are already out of their parents' house and need to support themselves. Others are eager to begin college early.