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Credit requirement the biggest hurdle for some Oak Harbor students

With a host of new requirements to meet, the highest hurdle keeping some students from graduating from Oak Harbor High School is completing enough credits.

As of last month, approximately 70 of the 393 seniors weren’t considered to have earned enough credits to graduate on time.

Oak Harbor High School requires students to earn 23 credits to graduate. If students attend six classes for four years, they would earn 24 credits.

High school Principal Dwight Lundstrom said that students typically fall behind in their freshman and sophomore years and have trouble catching up.

With graduation set for Monday and the school year ending later next week, many students are working furiously to catch up. They are taking extra courses at Midway School, online or by correspondence.

Bill Weinsheimer, associate principal at the high school and administrator of the Midway School, said there are approximately 130 students taking classes at the school. Numbers fluctuate throughout the year and most of the students taking courses are juniors and seniors.

“It’s set up to work with students who have fallen behind in credit,” Weinsheimer said. The school is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., which allows students some flexibility in when they can take their classes.

The class of 2008 is the first group of students required to pass the reading and writing sections of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning and also develop a culminating senior project.

“We’re extremely proud of the kids in the class of 2008,” Lundstrom said. “I think they are going to be the best prepared kids to walk out of Oak Harbor High School.”

There are four seniors at Oak Harbor High School who met the credit requirements but failed either the reading or writing portions of the WASL. Those students will have to wait until August to try again.

Students originally had to pass the math WASL as well. However, recent state legislation removed that requirement. Now students can either pass the math portion, keep taking and passing math classes, present a collection of evidence, or use an alternative test, such as the ACT or the SAT, to prove their competency in math.

On another tack, Lundstrom said several school policies are being changed to remove barriers that keep students from graduating. The new attendance policy, for example, is thought to be less punitive than the current policy, where a student fails a course if he or she misses more than a certain number of days, even if they are earning credit.

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