To say the final semester for the Class of 2020 has been disrupted by coronavirus would be an understatement – plans for graduation ceremonies are still up in the air, grading policies have been amended, all spring activities have been canceled, and home now serves as the classroom.
But, Marshall High School seniors will have one less thing to worry about; the school board voted May 6 to decrease the number of credits required to graduate from 27 to 23. The topic had initially been brought up by high school principal Sharin Tebo at the regular April board meeting.
The 23 credits must include the 15 core credits mandated by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction – four credits of English; three credits each for social studies, science and math; 1.5 credits of physical education and .5 credits of health.
According to Tebo, many of the current seniors have entered into their final semester with at least 23 credits accumulated through seven semesters.
“I’m not too concerned about the number of credits, my brain goes to the core credits,” she said. “They need to complete those core credits per DPI guidelines and yes, there are certain students who are above 23 (credits) already but they need to pass certain classes this semester in order to fulfill those requirements.”
The principal stressed making sure the students who have not earned the 15 core credits are aware the classes need to be completed with a passing grade at the end of the school year.
Tebo said seniors who have credit deficiencies at the end of the 2019-2020 school year will be able to recover the missing credits through summer school.
She emphasized the graduation requirement for number of credits earned is for students on a mainstream path and not those who use alternative education programming.
“I want to make very clear that there’s a lot happening around us right now,” Tebo said. “We do not want any students to be not awarded a diploma because of the pandemic. That’s why we need teachers to be very keen on looking at that broad picture of semester two including all the time until we stop physically entering grades into our gradebooks in our online system.”
Despite the disruption to the regular school year, District Administrator Dan Grady said the push to ensure all seniors earned enough credits to graduate from Marshall High School happens yearly.
“The closure because of COVID-19 is compounding it, but please be assured every May, with high school students, is a very important yet sometimes frantic end of the school year,” he said.
This policy change would only impact the current senior class.
Other board action:
• Elected Debbie Frigo as board president, Paul Wehking as vice president, Heather Herschleb as clerk, and Mike Rateike as treasurer. The board also designated The Courier as the official newspaper of the district and selected Farmers and Merchants State Bank as the official depository.
• Chose new board member Staci Abrahamson as the delegate for the CESA 2 convention, Frigo as the representative for the WASB Delegate Assembly, and Cecil Chadwick to serve on the Marshall Community Library Board.
• Renewed the annual WIAA high school membership for the 2020-2021 school year.