County high schools will have a big incentive for staying on their best behavior leading up to their final year.
The Effingham County Board of Education approved a new policy at its Jan. 19 meeting to allow high school seniors who meet certain academic and behavioral requirements to have a six-period class schedule, instead of the recently approved seven-period day that will be enacted next year. Students will be allowed to schedule classes that exempt them from either a first or seventh period class.
“This allows students to start school second period or not be in school seventh period,” said Superintendent Randy Shearouse. “So it’s a senior privilege, basically, that we would like to pass.”
To be eligible for this senior privilege, students must have less than five absences in each class at the end of the final quarter of the previous school year and have an average of 70 or above in a majority of their classes — three of four for current 11th graders. They also must have four or fewer discipline referrals in that final nine weeks of the previous school year, passed all Georgia graduation assessment requirements and have earned the minimum credits for promotion to 12th grade.
“You can’t be behind; you can’t be a trouble maker,” Shearouse said. “It is a privilege. It’s not a guarantee.”
Shearouse also mentioned that the policy could help with traffic in the mornings and the afternoons, since most student drivers are seniors. He also noted that it could help students with jobs or internships get more time to work.
Board member Vickie Decker noted that students involved in extracurricular activities would appreciate being able to come in late at the beginning of second period since they’ll have to stay after for their teams or clubs.
Mose Mock wondered if there was a way to provide some extra study time for students with afterschool obligations, but Shearouse noted the potential stress of having some 150 kids standing around or wandering, rather than studying.
“Certainly, we feel like our seniors will work hard toward this effort,” Shearouse said.