Saturday, December 08, 2001

Fairfield may ease credits to graduate

Number would stay above state's

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        FAIRFIELD — Each year for the past four years, the number of credits a student had to earn to graduate from Fairfield Senior High School has been on the increase, rising from 18 in 1997 to 26 credits now. That trend could be reversed.

        The Fairfield Board of Education will vote Dec. 20 on a policy revision that would decrease the number of credits needed to 24, beginning with this year's seniors. “The state is at 21 credits. We're above most area schools,” said Superintendent Robert Farrell. “Twenty-four credits — which we were at last year — is still a high standard.”

        Mr. Farrell said the change would affect about 30-35 students who might not otherwise have enough credits to graduate on time and could be at risk of dropping out because of it.

        “Both the (senior) high school and alternative school will be well served. It will provide an opportunity for students who are deficient in credit to graduate on time in June,” said Gina Williams, who supervises Fairfield's alternative programs.

        Fairfield Senior High School counselor Rick Serge said Friday that some stu dents leave the high school and try to enroll in neighboring schools that require fewer credits for graduation.

        “That jump from 24 to 26 credits was really difficult for (some) students to attain.” Mr. Serge said, adding that “we're not talking hundreds of kids here.”.

        The change would mostly affect the number of electives students take, said Cathy Milligan, Fairfield's assistant superintendent, who worked on the policy.

        Seniors would still have to have four credits in English, three in social studies and math, two in science and one-half credit in health and physical education to graduate. Members of the Class of 2004 and later would need three credits in science to graduate.


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