It is called the 21 credit option — an adjustment to graduation requirements at Newton High School to allow some students to graduate on time, despite not quite meeting course credit requirements due to elective classes not being able to finish the school year.
“How do we help our small number of students that have their core requirements completed, but lack an elective?” asked superintendent Deb Hamm.
About 20 students are in that group.
On Monday, the Newton Unified School District 373 Board of Education suspended board policy, which cleared the way for those students to graduate on time.
Those 20 students each met core requirements set by the state, but will be lacking elective course credits because a class was canceled when Gov. Laura Kelly closed school buildings, and later issued an executive stay-at-home order that limited groups to 10 people or fewer, to fight COVID-19.
It is unclear how graduation will be recognized, and there were no answers for the board on Monday.
High school staff members are currently looking for ideas for a graduation ceremony to be held sometime in the future.
“Questions are still coming in regards to graduation and what way we can honor graduates,” said Sheila Wendling, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. “That is a monumental event. Students, families and staff are concerned about how we can celebrate that.”
In other business, the board:
• Received a remote learning plan from staff. The plan is being used for the delivery of education services while school buildings are closed by executive order of Gov. Laura Kelly to combat COVID-19.
• Approved a resolution regarding wage payments, allowing district staff to work and be paid for the remainder of the school year.
• Suspended public comment sessions at board of education meetings while the board is required to limit the number of people at public meetings.