Edmonds School District to request two-year graduation requirement waiver

The Edmonds School District Board of Directors unanimously approved a motion Tuesday that requested a temporary waiver of the new career and college ready graduation requirements.

The application to the State Board of Education would be for the Class of 2019. The State is required to grant the two-year extension if the District submits the application.

The District cited the new 24-credit requirement starting in 2019 as the reason for the request.

Assistant Superintendent Patrick Murphy told the Board that for the Class of 2014, 17 percent of students were not graduating under the current District 22-credit and 2-credit science requirements.

The extension would give the District “time to prepare for these changes,” Murphy said.

Under the current 22-credit requirement and 6-period schedule, students have four open semesters to make up credits should a failure occur. Under a 24-credit requirement in the same system, students would not have any free or convenient options should they need to make up credits.

Murphy said that in fairness to the families of the current eighth grade students, the District needs to be able to have different types of options in place to help students should they get behind. Those options currently are not in place, Murphy said.

The District’s Graduates Ready for Life Committee currently is looking at identifying options and potential solutions to allow students more options in a 6-period schedule with a 24-credit requirement, Murphy added.

A number of other school districts, including Seattle, Auburn, Shoreline and Stanwood have applied for the waiver.

The Board also approved the District’s recommendation to go with the Naviance Career and College Planning Tool. The program allows students to search for colleges, apply to them, submit transcripts and request electronic letters of recommendation.

“It really is a powerhouse tool,” said Mark Madison, District Career Technical Education Director. “It takes so many tools and packages them into one integrated system.”

The program will be used in grades 7-12 and is scheduled to be available starting next fall. In response to a community member’s concerns about privacy, District staff indicated that the program collects and shares aggregate data, not personalized individual data.

In other business:

– The City of Edmonds needs to acquire about 8,600 square feet of the District’s property as part of a proposed 212th and 76th street improvement project. The project will reconfigure a turn and also construct dedicated left turn lanes on the north and southbond lanes of 76th Ave. W. Most of the widening of the roads will be on 76th. Sidewalks also will be widened. The project will improve pedestrian safety and enhance vehicular efficiency, according to the City. The District will be going through its standard process of surplusing property to the City. A Public Hearing on the matter is scheduled for Feb. 12 and a resolution will be brought to the Board in April.

– The District will be changing its current point of sale food service program to a new system called efunds. The new system will be integrated with Skyward. More information on the change will be sent out to parents in February.

– As part of safety enhancements, the District will be purchasing new blinds for all classrooms. The blinds are used during lockdowns.

– The District is forming a committee to study how schools should respond if there is an intruder in a building. Traditionally, the building has gone into lockdown. A recent trend among law enforcement is the idea that buildings can go into lockdown, but that if people feel the best solution is to evacuate then they should do that.

– By David Pan

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