There is a NY Times article about how NY schools are getting creative in times of budget cuts in awarding of graduation credits for alternative forms of classes. These include experiential classes offered by non profit organizations, for example a sailing class by the Hudson River Community Sailing Group. The article points out that individual principals at schools can determine what type of course constitutes a credit.
But exactly what qualifies for credit depends on the principals of the city’s 400-plus high schools, though they must follow certain state requirements, like the number of hours logged in class and evidence of student work and progress. And in an era of budget cuts in which both space and staffing are scarce, more and more students are earning some credits in unconventional ways: on Saturdays, in online courses, through independent study and in things like sailing that used to be considered extracurricular.
It is also interesting to see the graduation requirements of NY Schools. Ours are slightly less inclusive, most likely because of the international nature of our school and our transient student population. We have students come to us during their high school years from a variety of school systems, languages, and countries.
By the end of this week, some 51,000 seniors will have graduated from New York’s public high schools, each with a minimum of 44 credits broken down in a formula guidance counselors know like a mantra: eight each in English and social studies; six each in science and math; two each in art and foreign language; four in gym; one in health; seven for electives.
At ISB we are just starting to look into alternative means of earning credits. For students that fail courses or miss due to absences, we offer the University of Missouri Independent Study courses. We also offered on line Spanish last year, produced by Pamoja Education, which is officially certified by the IBO. We are expanding this by adding Business and Management for 2011-2012.