LEAD — The first reading of two policies that will firm up the Lead-Deadwood School District’s stance on transfer of online credits and re-enrollment/placement of students previously pursuing alternative instruction was held at the May 10 Board of Education meeting.
Initial discussion regarding the proposed policy development was held at the Feb. 8 meeting of the Lead-Deadwood Board of Education.
Lead-Deadwood School District Superintendent Dr. Erik Person said the policies were prompted by a world in which education is changing and they follow state statute.
“A couple of years ago, the law got a lot more permissive with alternative instruction, home school, also, the accountability requirements loosened up substantially in the last couple of years. There’s no testing requirement anymore for kids that are home schooling,” said Person. “When that legislation went into place, a lot of the school people warned that the floodgates were opening up for homeschooling … some laws changed, got a lot less restrictive, less accountability, then we got COVID, where people were staying home, got used to staying home, doing some things online. Our numbers in this district have tripled, quadrupled with home school kids.”
Person said these changes have posed new and unique situations in the school district.
“Where you’ve got a kid, who, for instance, is a sophomore who homeschooled for a year and a half, wants to come back second semester sophomore year and graduate,” Person said. “We’ve had kids that have done homeschooling outside of the district online. They want to come in second semester senior year, transfer in all these magical credits that they got from whatever online school, and graduate. We’ve had kids approach us this fall that want to enroll, not take any classes and get a diploma from Lead-Deadwood. We’ve got people that are currently homeschooling and they want to, at some point come back end of senior year and get a Lead-Deadwood diploma. We’ve got to have some regulation on this.”
The proposed Transfer of Online Credit policy reads:
Lead-Deadwood High School will not accept the transfer of distance learning credits from providers not approved by the South Dakota Virtual School, except for credits taken outside of the virtual school that have been previously accepted and transcripted by a South Dakota Department of Education accredited school district. This rule does not apply to online curriculum taken as a part of a course offered by the high school and taught by a DOE certified instructor of record.
“That really jives with Codified Law 13-33-29, which basically prohibits us from granting credit for online credits outside the providers in the South Dakota Virtual School,” Person said. “So, our practice is not giving credit for that stuff and I think it’s important that people get to know this. I think people have some false assumptions out there and it’s going to be a tough go when they try and come back in a couple of years and they’re expecting a diploma.”
Person went on to say that the re-enrollment policy deals specifically with that scenario.
The re-enrollment and placement of alternative instruction students reads:
If a student of compulsory school age and having received alternative instruction enrolls, the student will be placed, and credit granted, based on a review of transcripts and credits earned through an accredited high school or a high school in another state accredited by that state’s Department of Education. Placement for math and English may be determined through demonstrated achievement on a standardized test. Online credits will be granted based on the high school’s online transfer of credits policy.
Alternative instruction students re-enrolling at the school with intent to graduate from it must meet all requirements for graduation. Students re-enrolling in the same semester that they intend to graduate must be enrolled on or before the third Friday of the semester, as well as meeting all graduation requirements, to be eligible for graduation that semester.
“It’s been a new thing for us,” Person said. “We haven’t really thought about this, because we didn’t have people going back and forth … in the last few months we’ve become aware of families that are wanting to homeschool and then get a Lead-Deadwood diploma. That’s a new thing … if you’re choosing homeschooling, that’s a good, valid option. But you can’t have both.”
The second reading of the policies is expected at the June 14 school board meeting.
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