D87 eyeballing proposal that would eliminate final exams and reduce graduation requirements

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) – The first days back in the classroom are in the books for students in District 87.

Pre-K through 2nd graders were welcomed back this week, with roughly 70% of them electing to return in the hybrid format, as opposed to the all remote method.

The Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Dr. Diane Wolf, says everyday is a learning process but she’s happy with the way things have gone so far.

“We have met every night with our adminstrative team to just go through, and look at lessons learned for the day, and where do we need to make adjustments,” said Wolf. “We will continue to do that, and then, we willl continue to have our principals work with our teachers to even make it better when we welcome back our third through sixth grade in a couple of weeks.”

3rd through 6th graders will return to the classroom on Nov. 9.

Leaders are also considering switching up the curriculum. During the district’s school board meeting Wednesday night Bloomington High School Principal Tim Moore proposed adding five new classes for high school students.

Moore is asking to add Unified Music, Unified Music Peer Mentoring, Interior Design, Business Management and Advanced Actor Studio. The courses will be electives, and Moore says this is a way of allowing students to begin to figure out what they want to do after school.

“The core areas, English, Math, Science and Social Studies, are really important and a lot of kids love those classes, but they love their elective classes even more,” said Moore. “If we can give them a taste of something, where maybe, they have an interest in a class, or interest in a particular subject matter, then we should be doing that as a school.”

The board took no action on the proposal, it will be voted on at the next meeting.

Also the board looking at a plan that would reduce the amount of classes a high school student must take to graduate.

Currently, students are required to have a minimum of 23.5 units, an amended plan would allow students to only earn 21.5 units. That breaks down to one less science and one less social studies course.

“We wanted to look at our graduation requirements for the class of 2021,” said Wolf. “I think we can all agree this class has had an abruptly changed Junior and Senior year. Right now our graduation requirements are well above where the state requires us to be. This is just allowing our students, that may need that additional assistance, to take advantage of it.”

In addition she says, because the year has been unconventional, they’re exploring the possiblity of eliminating final exams for this school year.

Both proposals will be up for a final vote at the boards next meeting.

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