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WMRSD school board approves early graduation request


December 28, 2011
WHITEFIELD — Cindy Wade of Jefferson, a WMRHS junior, received permission from the WMRSD school board on a unanimous vote to graduate early. She plans to earn the last two credits she needs over the next summer from VLACS, the state's online charter high school. Cindy pointed out in her letter to the school board that she expects to attend a state college in the fall of 2012. She does plan, however, to be on hand to participate in the high school graduation ceremony with her class in June 2013.

Her mother, Lisa Savage, also of Jefferson, sent a letter of support. "Cindy has worked very diligently in school all the way through which shows in her grades and in the number of credits she has earned," her mom pointed out. "Extracurricular activities, such as jazz band and cross-country skiing, have also been an integral part of Cindy's life."

WMRHS principal Erik Anderson also supported Cindy's plan, pointing out that it "is highly likely that this spring she will have completed her junior year having earned 22 credits with a grade of 'A.'" Anderson noted that he does not usually believe that early graduation is a good choice, even for those with a high level of academic preparation. But, he characterized Cindy as an exception to the rule, because she is "focused, well-adjusted, and mature beyond her years" with a well-developed vision for her future self. Anderson predicted that if she graduates a year early Cindy would have "a highly successful freshman year in college."

The school board is now working on revising its early graduation policy with the apparent intent of lengthening the time in which students must give notice of their plans. Assistant principal-AD Michael Berry said at the Dec. 19 school board meeting that January graduations, only a half-year early, are hard to achieve because WMRHS offers few half-year classes and no mechanism is in place to give credit for attending a yearlong class for only a semester. School board member Gerry Pons pointed out that that option is useful for top-class athletes.

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