Graduation Update

Graduation Update
Posted on 03/26/2020

Good afternoon, Class of 2020 and their families,

I know this must be an especially difficult time for you and that you are likely experiencing a range of emotions as we navigate this unprecedented situation. Without question, this is not the senior year that anyone ever expected, and I am heartbroken for you. Despite this setback, I want to assure you that we are doing everything possible to ensure your senior year is special and that you receive the recognition that you have earned and deserve.

I also know that you have many questions about graduation, from requirements to commencement exercises. Included below are answers to these questions that I hope will help to ease and address many of your concerns in this regard.

Graduation Requirements

The Superintendent of Public Instruction for Virginia has shared with us his commitment that students on-track for graduation prior to the closing of schools will graduate. More specific details are included below. In addition, please note that all students, including seniors, are expected to complete all Learn-from-Home assignments for the remainder of the school year. More details regarding these requirements are forthcoming.

The following graduation requirements can be waived:

  • Students currently enrolled in a course for which they need a standard or verified credit in order to graduate;
  • Students who have successfully completed a course required for graduation, but have not earned the associated verified credit;
  • Students who have not completed the student-selected test;
  • Students who are currently enrolled in or have previously completed a course leading to a Career and Technical Education (CTE) credential necessary for a Standard Diploma but have not yet earned the credential.

The Code of Virginia outlines several credit-based graduation requirements. We are working diligently with the Virginia Department of Education to ensure we adhere to the processes necessary to request a waiver to the following requirements:

  • Students who have not completed a United States and Virginia history course;
  • Students who have not completed a fine or performing arts or career and technical education course;
  • Students in the second of sequential courses;
  • Students who have not completed an economics and personal finance course.

The following graduation requirements will require action by the General Assembly in order to be waived:

  • Students who have not completed training in emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and the use of automated external defibrillators, including hands-on practice of the skills necessary to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation; and
  • Students who have not completed a virtual course. (This does not include the Learn-from-Home initiative currently being offered by HCPS.)

If you have concerns about whether or not you/your students are on-track for graduation:

  • We are eager to work with individual students and families who have concerns about fulfilling graduation requirements. Please reach out directly to your school counselor or administrator who can assist you in reviewing your progress and help you finish strong!

Graduation Ceremonies:

We are committed to celebrating the accomplishments of our senior class. Our sincere desire is to hold traditional graduation ceremonies for all four high schools. While we cannot predict when the Governor will lift the current restrictions on large gatherings, we are still maintaining our reservation at the VCU Siegel Center for Saturday, June 13. If this is not possible, we hope to hold ceremonies later in the summer, if permitted. However, if restrictions remain in place longer than anticipated and in-person ceremonies are not possible, our team is already actively exploring all possibilities to honor and recognize our graduates. We will share further details as we know more.

I hope these updates will help to address the many questions and concerns you may have regarding graduation. We will continue to provide you with regular updates regarding graduation and a variety of other topics as they become available. If you have additional questions that were not addressed, please contact your school counselor or administrator. Please check back here for the most up-to-date information.

As always, thank you for your continued patience, support, and understanding through these challenging times. Together, I know we will overcome these obstacles and turn them into the most positive outcomes, experiences, and memories for our students possible.

With deepest gratitude,

Dr. Michael Gill

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