Holt High School Graduation Requirement Changes

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

For Chloe Lewis, this year is her first, last and only philosophy class at Holt High school.

For five years the school had trimesters. Then her junior year, the school switched back to semesters--reducing the number of electives she could take.

"I'm not able to take band this year because I had schedule conflicts with other AP classes," said Chloe Lewis, a Senior at Holt High School.

Lewis prefers the trimesters because it meant she could fit in more options.

"I have a lot of different interests and so I think now is the time to explore them while education is free, as opposed to paying for it in college," said Lewis.

More options meant a logistics nightmare for administrators, who were responsible for putting together a master schedule, and for kids who fell behind, it was harder to get them back on track.

"Moving from trimesters to semesters allowed our kids the opportunities to really focus in on the classes they truly wanted to take in areas they were interested in," said Michael Willard, the Principal of Holt High.

Principal Willard came after those changes were made. This is his first year at the high school.

He said while graduation requirements look different on paper, the core classes are the same. He said the school also still offers the same elective options -- just the quantity each student can take is less.

Some students like the change.

"I felt like during trimesters I was more stressed because I had a lot more to take on--more classes and more exams," said Mallory Weil, a Senior.

This year's graduating class--the class of 2014, had two years of trimesters and two years of semesters. By graduation 2016, students at Holt will only have experienced semesters.

"I think there were pros and cons," said Joann Weil, the school's success coordinator and Mallory's mom. "On trimesters I think students were allowed to have more electives in their schedule, so that gave them some flexibility. Semesters were easier in the sense that when you are looking at transferring, most other schools were on semesters."

Chloe recognizes those pros and the cons, and she is embracing the positives.

"We try really hard to make sure that students are given the opportunity to take the courses that they need in their career pathway," said Willard.

Next year Holt High School will move the seniors to its north campus and put freshmen in the main building. The school says the change will better serve its students.

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