Board accepts proposed course requirement change

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Increased standards surrounding graduation at Central High School in Cape Girardeau has led to a change in course requirements for students.

At its meeting Monday night, the Cape Girardeau School Board approved the addition of a science course requirement for freshmen, and set the A+ Schools Program evaluation goals for 2002-2003.

The change in course requirements means that ninth graders are now required to take a biology class to help prepare for Missouri Assessment Program testing during their sophomore year.

The new requirement went into effect at the beginning of this school year and is intended to increase enrollment in upper level science courses in conjunction with the school's A+ Program evaluation goals.

The A+ Schools Program, which is funded through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, sets standards for schools and also offers qualifying students an incentive grant which pays for post-secondary educational costs at two-year colleges or technical institutions.

According to A+ coordinator Mark Ruark, the goals generally remain the same from year to year. During the board meeting, Ruark reported that the district was not only meeting, but exceeding the majority of the goals.

Meeting the goals

Those goals included a half-percent reduction in the high school dropout rate and upping the number of students qualifying for incentive grants by 25 percent.

Ruark said the school currently has a dropout rate of 1.8 percent, and increased the number of students qualifying for incentive grants from eight last year to 13 this year.

To qualify for the grants, Ruark said students must maintain 6.875 grade point average (on an 11.0 GPA scale) during their four years of high school, have a 95 percent attendance rate and perform 50 hours of mentoring to younger students.

Other A+ goals include that 60 percent of students will graduate with three or more units of math and 55 percent of students will graduate with three or more units of science.

Ruark said that there are currently 79 percent of students slated to graduate with three or more units of math and 80 percent with three or more units of science.

cclark@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 128

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