Amidst virtual learning challenges, Nash County Schools decreases credit requirement for graduation

Posted January 20, 2021 8:26 p.m. EST
Updated January 24, 2021 7:07 a.m. EST

— Earning a high school diploma just got easier for high school seniors in Nash County.

School leaders recently approved a measure relaxing graduation requirements to help students dealing with hardships brought on by the pandemic. Nash County’s School Board approved a measure Wednesday to decrease the number of credits necessary to graduate from 28 to 22.

Chad Thompson with Nash County Public Schools says that the move helps students who have dealt with the challenges of pandemic learning.

“Students have faced many challenges related to COVID-19,” Thompson said. “This waiver will allow principals the opportunity to work with seniors in their schools to ensure equitable outcomes are present for all sub-groups.”

Nash County Schools has always offered the 22-credit high school diploma for students at the alternative school, but this is the first time it has extended the option to all high schools in the county.

The change allows students to forgo electives such as art and music. Students would still be required to take core classes like math, social students, science and English.

Two members of the board voted against the plan. One of whom was Ricky Jenkins, who doesn’t believe the move is in the best interest of the students, claiming “It’s like a participation trophy.”

"I just can't support this," Jenkins explained. "We're allowing somebody with 22 credits, whereas a lot of kids [have] gotten up, gone to school every day, turned in their work ... This is not motivating the kids that have continued to do everything they're supposed to do."

A spokeswoman with the school district says the district took a similar approach last year for the class of 2020.

Eighty four students out of 1,044 high school seniors graduated with fewer than 28 credits.

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