White River board establishes new gradutation requirements

By Brenda Sexton, The Courier-Herald

White River School District board member Jean Lacy isn't ready to support graduation requirements for White River High School's incoming freshmen next year. But that didn't stop her counterparts as the board approved new graduation requirements for the Class of 2008 and beyond at its regular meeting Wednesday.

"There's been a lot of good work," Lacy said. "But I worry we need to be more prepared. I'm still concerned."

One of Lacy's concerns rests in the high school's past push in career pathways. The new requirements, she said, seem to lessen that emphasis. She also thinks there is too much emphasis on social studies, short-siding math and science, not adequately preparing those students who may be moving on to college.

She also stated statistics point out the highest number of student failures are in math, English and social studies, but there are no safety nets for those students.

Students in 2008 and beyond will still be required to take four English credits to graduate, but rather than the current system, students will be required to take English 111, 211, 311 and one English option in their senior year.

The life skills requirement will move to the junior year. Two credits will still be required in math, but students must pass the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL), otherwise additional credits will be needed. Successful completion of a sport season can be used as partial physical education credit under the new rules.

Freshman who are reading below the established benchmark must take a reading class.

The science requirement does not change, calling for two credits of physical science and biology. The social studies credit jumps from three to four and is more specific - U.S. History, civics, contemporary world issues and world history or a social science option.

The plan outlines nine electives, four of which must be earned in a students' career pathway, for a total of 29 credits for students entering WRHS in the fall.

This was the board's third look at the new requirements. The group was presented with the plan in the spring and then went over it again at a study session in September.

In other business, the board:

€ set its next regular meeting for 6 p.m. Nov. 12 in the WRHS library. The evening will include a tour of the high school. State Rep. Jan Shabro (R-31st District) will be in attendance.

€ was given a peek at the layout for Glacier and White River middle schools. The two projects are running concurrently with work at Glacier under way and work at WRMS to begin this summer. Although the board did call for bids for work on WRMS's new bus turn around area to begin this spring. Most of the work at the schools is cosmetic - paint, carpet, transforming science laboratories, entrances, and adding computer labs. The gymnasium at Glacier will get a new floor. Each school is expected to hold a maximum of 650 students grades six through eight.

The board also put out a call for bid for WRMS site improvement to begin work on the new bus area and staff parking lot east of the school. Work will shift to the current parking lot in summer to turn it into a parent drop off area and visitor parking lot. The project is expected to cost $500,000.

€ was updated on the many bond projects finishing up and currently under way. Intersection work at Mundy Loss Road and 120th is done except for the installation of the traffic light and district project manager Scott Hodgins said he can't tell when it will arrive. Hodgins said a punch list of between 8,000 and 10,000 items has been presented to contractors, but he cannot submit the project to the board for acceptance yet.

The central kitchen is complete.

In conjunction with those projects, the board approved change orders for more than $45,773 for additional work at the high school, $254,650 for the high school intersection, $10,719 at the central kitchen and $78,583 for the Elk Ridge parking lot.

€ announced there will be no school due to teacher training and the WRHS homecoming football game at Sheets Field on Oct. 24.

Brenda Sexton can be reached at

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