Graduation requirements 'keeps changing'

Zoe Greszler • Apr 29, 2019 at 1:00 PM

MONROEVILLE — The Monroeville school board recently approved changes to more than 10 of its district policies. 

Among these policies were those outlining the approach to social media, student discipline, bomb threats, the use of drones and ever-changing graduation/diploma requirements. 

Superintendent Ralph Moore said the latter is like a moving target for schools across the state. 

“That keeps changing, I swear,” he said. “I’ve been here for five years and and it's changed I think four times in that time.”

Board president Betsy Ruggles agreed. She said she each of her children have had a different set of graduation requirements than the last. Moore said last year the state “granted some flexibility” in meeting graduation requirements due to the difficulty of the ending exams required by law. That lenience though was supposed to end with this coming school year.

Moore said the major changes, then, in the board’s new graduation requirement policy is reflecting an extension of that “flexibility.”

“Schools across the state lobbied for that to be extended, and did so successfully,” he said.

All districts are struggling to meet a “moving target,” Moore said, and the short time allowed for schools to adjust to the new degree of testing difficulty was too much to ask. The teachers need more time to help the students be adequately prepared. 

“It’s a nightmare for every school district,” Moore said, referring to frequent requirement changes. “It’s a complicated system. ... Essentially we’re going to kept last year’s graduation requirements, when they were supposed to have changed.”

Most of the changes outlined in the other new policies reflect adjustments to wording, penalties and interpretation. 

“All of these policies are required by law,” Moore said. “That’s all this is is just make sure our policies comply with the new laws. Every district is required to make these changes. It’s an ongoing process and we have a great legal team that keeps up with is and does a fantastic job.” 

Other policies that saw adjustments included professional staff positions, recruiting and employment, dangerous weapons in the school and violent conduct, electronic communication devises, blended learning, purchases, expense reimbursement, uncashed checks, school volunteers and crowdfunding. 

The new policies were added to the district website for all to access, Moore said. These can be accessed by first clicking on the “about us” tab. Users should go to “board of education” and then “board policies,” which is located on the right hand side of the screen. 

In other board action, nearly $2,200 in donations was accepted from various people and businesses.

Berry Global Inc. donated $1,000 in support of the fifth/sixth-grade and eighth-grade robotics teams making it to the world competition. The team members and coaches enjoyed a district-wide send-off assembly and celebration Tuesday. The students left for the world competition Friday. 

The next board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. May 20 in the MAC. The Eagles’ graduation is set to take place at 1:30 p.m. June 2.   
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