Grad Requirements Create COVID-Worries At Superior High School
An expansion of mandatory graduation requirements by the Superior High School has some concerned about the risks involved during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Senior Project - a prior-requirement - now has expanded components for each grade level (9-12) that includes students volunteering hours of service in the community in order to receive their diploma. The changes to the curriculum were announced by Principal Rick Flaherty in an email to parents that arrived in their inboxes late Sunday evening; the email was a forward of information provided by the Senior Project Coordinator.
The changes brought concern from some parents about the risks and prudency of sending students out into hundreds of workplaces and non-profit organizations at a time when health officials are asking the community to limit their exposure during the COVID-19 Pandemic to help stop the spread of the virus. There is also concern about the added complexities of the requirements to students who are already navigating the unfamiliar waters of virtual and hybrid learning. Local social media was on-fire with reactions and opinions.
As explained in collateral released with the email, all Superior High School students are now required to accomplish the following - research a need in the community, design a Community Service-Learning Project, connect and meet with someone from the cause (or with the need) in the community, have the project approved, and then volunteer hours actually working on the project at the agency. Those required number of hours vary depending on the grade level of the student:
- 9th Grade: 5 hours
- 10th Grade: 5 hours
- 11th Grade: 10 hours
- 12th Grade: 15 hours
For each grade level there are additional components in order to meet requirements set forth by the school.
Principal Flaherty's email says that "[a]ll student plans/proposals for Community Service-Learning must be safe, both under regular as well as COVID circumstances, in order to be approved". He also suggests that "[b]y thinking creatively, there are options that are 100% virtual". However, many parents are concerned about how that will be accomplished successfully. The collateral information is also implicit that absences will not be excused for the completion of this work even as it recognizes the strains that COVID-19 is placing on the year and students: "[b]ecause of our unique schedule this school year, students will generally not be excused from school for Senior Project-related reasons".