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Professional or technical?

A plan is under way to change the credit and graduation requirements at Oak Harbor High School.

The proposal will be publicly aired Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. at Oak Harbor High School’s Parker Hall.

It was being prompted by changes in state law requiring an additional math credit in order to graduate.

In addition to implementing another math requirement, officials are preparing to revise academic programs that they hope will better prepare students for life after high school, whether it is attending a four-year university or attending a trade school.

The proposal could be implemented as early as the 2008-2009 school year. It would introduce two different “concentrations” from which students could choose. Each choice would have different graduation requirements. As freshmen and sophomores prepare to pass the English, math, writing and science portion of the WASL, they will also start preparing for which concentration to focus on.

College-bound students will take the “professional concentration,” which would require more English, more science and two credits in a foreign language. These requirements are similar to the entrance requirements for most four-year universities.

Students planning to enter a trade school may choose to take the “technical concentration” where they would focus on one of three academies: Arts and Humanities, Natural Sciences and Engineering, or Business and Communication.

Oak Harbor High School Principal Dwight Lundstrom said there are students who take many entry-level classes but they may not go on to take further courses in a subject area.

“We want them coming out being an expert in something,” Lundstrom said.

Students participating in the technical concentration would have to meet graduation requirements similar to the ones already in place. They would also have to meet the third credit in math.

Lundstrom said that the academies will help encourage all students to take high-end course work and avoid having students coast in their senior year of high school.

He added some students have lost their acceptance to the University of Washington because of the light course load they took during their final semester of high school.

The Oak Harbor School Board makes the final decision in changing graduation requirements. A proposal could go before the school board sometime this spring.

More information about the north campus and the academies can be found at the school district’s Web site, www.ohsd.net.

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