Granite District is getting tougher on students.
The district's board of education voted Tuesday night to require remediation for seventh and eighth graders who fail basic courses and to demand a standard of citizenship of its high school students as a condition for graduation.Both concepts have been tested this year in one or more schools.
Principals from Kearns and Skyline high schools reported that the citizenship credit trials in their schools resulted in better attendance, decreases in tardiness, academic improvement and fewer dropouts.
The schools required students to earn a portion of citizenship credit in every class. Students who failed to meet the standard had to take remediation courses or participate in school or community service.
Neither school had to deny graduation to a senior, the principals reported, although many students spent the last weeks of school scrambling to erase bad citizenship grades.
Kearns Principal Richard Haacke said he had 88 more graduates this year than last, without significantly more students. Many students privately told him they made the grade because of the stricter citizenship requirements. In both schools, teachers were enthused and were eager to have the program continue, the principals said.
The program will be implemented in all eight district high schools this fall. Students and parents will be notified in detailed written instructions of the requirement. A hearing procedure is provided for students who feel they have been unfairly treated and students who get bad grades in citizenship always have the opportunity to remedy the situation.
Students can lose credit for failing to attend class regularly, for being late too many times, for being disrespectful of teachers, staff or property, using profanity or vulgarity, disobeying class rules and school policies, disrupting class, stealing or destroying property.
The seventh/eighth grade remediation was tested in Bennion Junior High School and was successful in helping many students raise their grades in math, English, science and social studies, said Principal Sheryl Benson.
He told the board that 70 percent of those who originally failed classes were able to get a passing grade in the remediation courses, for which their parents must pay $10. Parents may sign a waiver if they choose not to have their child attend the remediation classes.
The district is complying with a legislative mandate to provide remediation for the junior/middle high school students. Children in grades 9-12 already are required to get remediation for classes they miss.
The board also adopted a new four-quarter schedule for the junior high schools Tuesday, replacing the quarter-quarter-semester schedule the schools have been on.