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Chatham school board reviewing graduation project requirement

Posted Monday, May 9, 2011

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Pittsboro, NC - The Chatham County school board voted to consider placing a moratorium on the Graduation Project that is currently required for all graduating seniors in the district. Staff noted a decision needs to be made soon on a moratorium or a change to a required senior project or research paper because of rising seniors (Class of 2012) needing to know what is required. The school board will discuss this at its May 9 meeting. Superintendent Logan encouraged community input on the issue and noted a Graduation Project committee is in place to offer guidance on the issue.

Synopsis of Agenda Item (Overview & Purpose)

For the past two years Chatham County Schools has required the successful completion of a graduation project in order to graduate from high school. The school district has a very robust, comprehensive Graduation Project model in place. Since the Graduation Project is a requirement for graduation we contracted with Chatham Together to identify, train, and assign mentors to students. Chatham Together’s support reduced the work load on high school teachers and provided the necessary support for all students thus creating an equal opportunity to successfully complete the Graduation Project. A national recession and declining funds resulted in the state removing the Graduation Project as a requirement for high school graduation. The same recession and declining revenues has necessitated the removal of support from Chatham Together.

Based upon the above factors it is necessary that we revisit the status of the Graduation Project in our school district. The Graduation Project Committee, consisting of members from the four secondary schools, met on Tuesday, May 3. The following recommendations resulting from the meeting are submitted for your consideration:

• Eliminate the Graduation project as a graduation requirement in Chatham County Schools

• Create guidelines for a school-based project "Culminating Learning Activity" (CLA) – Climbing the Ladder of Achievement

• Stress the 21st Century skills obtained from a Graduation Project type activity in development of the CLA

• Use a template to design the CLA but give each secondary school maximum flexibility in developing their CLA

• Tie the CLA to a course and require completion of the CLA in order to pass the course

• Submit an outline of each high school’s CLA design to superintendent for approval by May 31st

• Communicate changes to high school juniors, parents, and high school staffs by June 10, 2011

• Begin the CLA process in the 2011-2012 school year

II. Organizational Impact (Academic, Fiscal & Personnel)

Successful completion of a Culminating Learning Activity would serve as a rigorous,

21st Century skills requirement for students graduating from Chatham County schools.

III. Superintendent’s Recommendation

It is recommended that the Graduation Project no longer be required for graduation from Chatham County Schools. Instead, all students will be required to complete a Culminating Learning Activity (CLA) at some point before graduation. A common template will be used for each school to design the CLA, but each school will be given maximum flexibility in designing the CLA.

IV. Suggested Motion: I move that the Chatham County Board of Education remove the Graduation Project as a requirement for graduation and that all graduating students be required to complete a Culminating Learning Activity.

 
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