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What's a senior?

If a proposal is eventually approved by the Oak Harbor School Board, the way the high school decides the grade students are in will change.

The school district is considering basing a high school student’s grade level on the year they are in school rather than the current system based on the number of credits a student successfully completes.

Assistant Superintendent Lance Gibbon said the school district basically keeps two different sets of records concerning grade levels, one it reports to state and federal agencies and another for its own purposes.

Making the change will save a lot of time for school staff.

“This will make things a lot clearer for everyone,” he said.

This distinction caused a lot of grief for school officials last fall. That’s when a study by Johns Hopkins University made national headlines and identified the high school as fitting the profile of a “dropout factory.”

Researchers in that study identified student grade level based on years completed. Because of the credit requirement the school district uses, it reported a larger number of freshmen than other schools.

Gibbon said the current grade-level system was designed as an incentive for students to progress through high school.

Officials still want to keep some kind of incentive for the students, such as parking privileges for seniors, but those incentives will be determined at the high school level.

The school board heard a presentation about the proposed changes during its Monday evening meeting. The board is scheduled to consider a first reading of the proposed graduation changes at its March 24 board meeting.

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