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Board receives information on high school credentials

Posted: March 15, 2018 4:13 p.m.
Updated: March 16, 2018 1:00 a.m.
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The Kershaw County Board of School Trustees heard a presentation about “occupational diplomas” during its March 6 meeting.

The occupational diploma is officially known as the South Carolina High School Credentials (SCHSC), according to Kershaw County School District (KCSD) Director of Special Services Tarrance McGovern. This is a credential for a student with disabilities for whom an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team has determined is the most appropriate way to demonstrate they have mastered skills in a career-based educational program.

This is an option that is appropriate for a relatively small percentage of district students, McGovern said.

The “IEP team must identify this SCHSC as the student’s expected outcome and inform the parent annually, in writing, that SCHSC is not a standard diploma,” McGovern said. “The decision must made only after an IEP team considers a continuum of program options that may allow a student to obtain a standard diploma.”

In other words, the team must first determine whether the student is likely to be able to earn a diploma. If the determination is made that the credential is a more appropriate track, then that student will still be exposed to diploma track coursework, but the goal will be to prepare that student for employability. The idea is to develop both academic achievement and work experience.

“We want them to be able to obtain employment at minimum wage or better,” he said.  “The hope is that the credential will carry a similar weight out in the workforce as a diploma, that it will show this student is prepared for entering the workforce.”

The curriculum would include four English, four math, two social studies and two science credit requirements as well as a technology course, four areas of employability and six electives that could be combinations of classroom and community/work related hours. The credential would reflect 360 hours of credited work in the classroom, in work labs and work experience in the community.

The district, per legislative mandate, has to start putting this together in August; the district will focus on working with eighth graders who are indentified as appropriate candidates for this course track, McGovern said.

Other business discussed:

• Trustees approved a list of elective courses that would apply to all three district high schools, as required by the State Board of Education. The courses on the list are Global Connections, High School 101, Hospitality Management and Operations 4, Newspaper 3, Newspaper 4, Secondary Literacy, Secondary Math Strategies, Seminar in AP Human Geography, Seminar in AP Biology, Yearbook Production 3, Yearbook Production 4, and Zoology. Not all are offered at every school; the offerings are dependent on need and student interest.

• The board voted to change the 2018-2019 district calendar, to accommodate S.C. State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman’s instruction for schools to be closed on Election Day, Nov. 6. The district will have to declare that a school holiday and, therefore, choose another day as a regular school day.

• The board heard an update on school construction projects.

• The board voted to change the meeting date for the second March meeting from March 20 to March 27.

The Kershaw County Board of School Trustees next meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, in the conference room at the district office, 2029 West DeKalb St., Camden, and is open to the public.

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