SUHSD reimplements revised graduation plan for class of 2021

Information+was+collected+from+the+email+sent+to+seniors+on+Friday%2C+Jan.+29+by+Ana+Mar%C3%ADa+Alvarez%2C+Ed.D.%2C+Assistant+Superintendent+for+Teaching+and+Learning.+Despite+these+changes%2C+students+are+not+allowed+to+unenroll+from+current+classes+in+response.

Lucia Rivera

Information was collected from the email sent to seniors on Friday, Jan. 29 by Ana María Alvarez, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning. Despite these changes, students are not allowed to unenroll from current classes in response.

Isaac Lozano, Features Editor

Due to the unique challenges posed by the pandemic, Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) is lowering traditional graduation credit requirements from 44 credits to 22 minimum credits for the class of 2021 and Grade 13 students. Students will not be allowed to drop any of the courses within their current schedule.

The revised plan, a statewide program known as the California Graduation Plan, was also implemented for the Class of 2020. It will not apply to students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) but students enrolled in Learning Centers, Palomar and Independent Studies are still expected to meet the new requirements. 

In an email sent on Jan. 29, SUHSD Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Ana Maria Alvarez, Ed.D., explained that every year some students must take additional courses during the second semester of their senior year to make up classes they have not passed or previously taken. To address the educational needs of students, the district created a Graduation Committee composed of teachers, counselors and school and district officials. 

After reviewing multiple options to support seniors in distance learning, including credit recovery and summer school programs, the committee decided instead to revise graduation requirements. 

“The unique circumstances of this pandemic and the subsequent implementation of a distance learning program […] enhanced some of the disparities faced by our students. In response to this situation and following the guidance from the California Department of Education (CDE) to ensure that districts provide as many safeguards as possible to support students during this unique situation, we re-evaluated our graduation requirements,” the email stated. 

Additionally, the plan “will not negatively impact students who are already accepted to colleges and universities in the fall 2021 semester,” according to the email. 

Transcripts must still demonstrate completion of the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) A-G for entrance to a UC or CSU campus.

The change comes as seniors express concern over the possibility of an in-person graduation ceremony. Many speculate this year’s graduation will mirror the drive-in graduation ceremony held for the Class of 2020. BVH has not yet confirmed whether this year’s graduation ceremony will take place online or in-person. 

Students must stay enrolled through June 4, 2021, in order to qualify for the revised graduation plan. Community service hours will not be required for graduation.