State Board of Education announces new graduation requirements for seniors

Published 7:56 am Thursday, May 7, 2020

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Superintendent of Dare County Schools John Farrelly shared a message directed to parents of graduating seniors  in April regarding North Carolina State Board of Education (SBE) mandates.

Before releasing this information, Farrelly noted that the leadership team and DCS high school principals had worked together to receive the most accurate and clarified information.

NCDIP had consulted with the UNC System and NC Independent Colleges and Universities prior to adoption. “The state board has stated that admission directors see this plan as reasonable and will not disadvantage students for transition to post-secondary plans,” Farrelly stated.

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High school seniors will be eligible for graduation in 2020 “by meeting minimum SBE graduation requirements of 22 credits on the originally scheduled graduation date.”

Grades for fall courses will count towards student’s GPAs. For year-long courses, the fall term grade will go toward their GPA.

Students will receive a “pass” or “withdraw” for spring courses based on their performance as of March 13. If a student receives an “F” as of March 13, the district/school will provide opportunities for improvement to receive a passing grade.

“Opportunities for seniors to pass graduation requirements include:

– Participate in remote learning through the enrolled district

– Enroll in NC Virtual Public School for all courses applicable

– Participate in credit recovery aligned to instructional topics covered through March 13

– Pass a final locally-developed assessment aligned to instructional topics covered through March 13

“A final assessment can be in a variety of formats, including but not limited to a portfolio, interview, teacher-made test, project and/or some other performance-based measure.”

To receive a passing grade in Occupational Course of Study, a student must complete 157 of the 225 hours of “paid work hours” graduation requirement. NCVSP courses comply with the requirements listed above. Dual enrollment courses (COA) will continue through the rest of the semester with assessments and grades.

The SBE included the following additional considerations:

“– Remote learning for graduating seniors will be prioritized to focus on meeting graduation requirements with a particular emphasis on students who were not meeting expectations as of March 13.

– NCDPI encourages that remote learning opportunities be available for seniors to engage students, continue student growth and respond to social and emotional needs.

– Students have made progress in their learning this semester and need recognition of their learning until school closure on March 16.

– Grading practices for transcript purposes will hold students harmless for the impact of COVID-19.

– School districts are awaiting further guidance from NCDPI regarding class rankings.”

AP classes will follow the previously mentioned grading policies and the March 13 timeframe. Students in AP classes will take a 45-minute online free-response exam at home in place of the face-to-face exam.

Two different testing dates will be offered for each AP subject. To access the full exam schedule, specific question types and additional details for AP exams, visit

“Educator-led development committees are currently selecting the exam questions that will be administered.” Students will be able to take these exams on any device they have access to, including a computer, tablet or smartphone. “Taking a photo of handwritten work will also be an option.”

Farrelly added that the third quarter ended on April 2 and third quarter grades will be issued for all high school courses. Grades in the third quarter that are below passing (60) will be recorded as incomplete. This will allow students to complete missing assignments and improve their grade.

“Please keep in mind the Dare County Schools have to follow the State Board of Education mandates. While we recognize our capacity to deliver high-quality remote learning protocol is significant; the State Board of Education is acting with the best interests of communities across the state,” Farrelly said.



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