- The Washington Times - Monday, March 26, 2007

D.C. Public Schools Superintendent Clifford B. Janey said yesterday that the school system is making several changes to increase the high-school graduation rate and improve college readiness.

Mr. Janey announced that seniors will need four credits each in English, math, science and social studies to graduate.

According to information from the Education Commission of the States, the District and Alabama have the only two systems with such a requirement.

The new policies and others will be phased in during the next school year, Mr. Janey said.

Dan Gohl, director of the school system’s secondary school reform, said the changes are part of Mr. Janey’s master education plan.

Mr. Gohl also said services such as personal counseling also will be available to ensure that students develop the social skills to be successful after high school.

“We acknowledge and accept we have a role to play in these students’ social development,” he said.

In addition to the change in credit requirements, seniors will be required to write a thesis before graduating, and students can plan to graduate in three, four or five years.

Mr. Janey said there also will be increased attention on improving grade-level proficiency in elementary and middle schools to ensure that students are ready for high school.

“The support doesn’t begin at high school, it starts at the elementary-school level,” he said.

The superintendent said student support teams, Saturday academies and summer school would be used as safety nets to keep young students performing at grade level.

He said teachers and members of the support teams will soon be trained to implement the changes.

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