Submitted by Washington State Board of Education
At a special Board Meeting yesterday, the State Board of Education adopted emergency rules that allow school districts to apply for greater flexibility in awarding a diploma to high school seniors impacted by closures.
The new rules are effective for the Class of 2020 immediately. They allow public school districts, charter schools, and tribal compact schools approved by the Board to waive certain state graduation requirements for individual students. To be approved, districts must make a good faith effort to give students opportunities to complete credits for high school graduation. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) gave districts guidance on how to offer students these opportunities. The waiver is an extra tool districts can use to make sure students graduate after the COVID-19 school building closures.
“In this difficult time, our state’s students come first,” said State Board of Education Chair, Peter Maier. “By adopting these rules, we considered the many high school students who otherwise would face great limitations due to this historic pandemic. These new rules give the flexibility to let school districts support students now while honoring the student work done before school buildings closed.”
The new rules also allow private schools to waive credit-based graduation requirements for individual students and waive school day and instructional hour requirements for the 2019-20 school year.
Applications for the waiver should be available online by April 15. The Board plans to host a special meeting on April 21 to review the first round of applications.