Tempe Union High School District (TUHSD) hosted a meeting Tuesday evening to discuss the pros and cons of changing the district’s graduation-credit requirements.

Currently, TUHSD requires its students to complete 23 credit hours before graduation, which is one credit-hour higher than the Arizona Department of Education requires.

According to the Arizona Department of Education website, students are required to complete four credit hours of English and math; three credit hours of science and social studies; one credit hour of a fine art; and seven credit hours of electives.

As of right now, TUHSD requires its students to complete a half semester of a health credit and an additional half credit in fine arts, electives or physical education.

If TUHSD makes the decision to reduce its credit requirement, the district will make the decision to eliminate credit requirements in fine arts, electives or physical education.

A majority, if not all other districts, do not require a credit in health, but Tempe Union requires that credit, Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Baca said.

“The majority does also require P.E., the state doesn’t require P.E. as a credit, but Tempe Union does require P.E. as a credit,” Baca said. “What we looked at is does requiring one additional credit prevent students from graduating on time. In looking at that we deciphered the information… the number of students who graduated in 2013 that exceeded the credit requirement, 81 percent of graduates exceeded the credit requirement at 23.”

Baca said the district would be discussing the issue further before any action will take place, and would be considering how the potential change would affect the district’s students and faculty members.

“Knowing that it presents some challenges for families, not just in the number of credits that are required, but the type of credits we require,” Baca said. “It’s trying to say how we are able to prepare our students for college and careers, while we don’t present roadblocks.”

As of right now, TUHSD’s governing board will discuss the pros and cons about changing the credit requirements.

The 2014-15 school term will not be scheduled to any changes in credit requirements.

“I think the thing that is most on our governing board’s mind is do we put hardships on families by requiring an additional credit, and if we were to go down a credit, how would that affect the programs we have and the quality that Tempe Union is known for,” Baca said. “We are taking this very slowly by listening to all of our stockholder groups: teachers, parents, community and even our institutes for higher learning, administrators, and we are also listening to the voice of our students. Students play an important role, and they have a place at the table for this discussion, sharing their stories on what are the challenges they have and whether anything can be done to address it.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com.

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