Hillman approves new graduation requirements

HILLMAN — The Hillman Community Schools Board of Education on Monday approved graduation requirements that will cut one required credit per school year over the next four school years.

This school year, students are required to have completed 24.5 credits over their high school career to earn their diploma. Next year, the requirement will be 23.5 credits and the requirement will drop to 22.5 credits in the 2020-21 school year and 21.5 credits in the 2021-22 school year.

Superintendent Carl Seiter said moving to six periods drove the initiative to reduce one credit each school year.

“This is all a big puzzle that we’re trying to do,” Seiter said. “We absolutely needed something with an intervention block up here and the need for intervention may need to go away down the road, but then it goes into pushing creative elective type of situation.”

Seiter said that freeing up flexibility in class schedules is another big component of reducing the graduation requirements each year. He said letting seventh and eighth grade students complete high school classes and receive credits for graduation is something that is being looked into.

“That’s going to take aligning the periods exactly,” he said. “That’s been the biggest hurdle right now and being able to have enough staff in order to teach algebra at seventh and eighth grade. I need everything to align and that way, when a kid shows aptitude, we can place them where they need to be.”

Seiter said foreign language, algebra, and ninth grade English should be available for middle schoolers. He said that, once those classes are offered for middle schoolers, that opens the door for dual enrollment or work study opportunities.

The board also approved hiring long-term substitute teacher Dave Cloft as the new robotics coach.

In the team’s first season last year, Jr./Sr. High School teacher Jesse Pattison was the coach, but he left to take the Alpena High School dean of students position.

Cloft was hired at the Aug. 27 meeting as a long-term substitute teacher for high school electives.

Jordan Spence can be reached at jspence@thealpenanews.com or 989-358-5687.

In other news

The Hillman Community Schools Board of Education accepted Vice President Sally Petrik’s board resignation, effective immediately, on Aug. 31, and appointed Jack Matthias as the new vice president. No reason was given for Petrik’s resignation. The board has until the end of the month to fill the vacant position.