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BOARD TOUGHENS GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

In response to stricter state standards, the Jamestown School Board has approved new graduation requirements for high school seniors.

The board took the action Tuesday night following a presentation by Michael McElrath, school guidance coordinator. McElrath said a committee made the move because the district has embraced block scheduling, which gives students the chance to take more classes.

"The culmination of these two things brought together a committee last summer to begin discussions on how we can equitably offer new graduation requirements," he said.

McElrath pointed out New York will no longer allow a local diploma to be offered, so the district increased the freshman Regents requirement by 2 1/2 credits. He said the Regents diploma requires 22 class credits.

"And that includes four credits in English and social studies, three credits in science with one Regents exam, three credits in math with one Regents exam, and passing with proficiency in foreign language," said McElrath.

In another report given to the board during its meeting at Washington Middle School, officials learned the district is "in good shape" academically.

That word came from Daniel Kathmann, director of elementary and remedial education, who presented test results from elementary, middle and high schools.

"On the elementary side, we were real encouraged to see improving trends in . . . language arts and mathematics," he said.

Kathmann remarked that one area of concern was a slight decline in the fourth-grade Regents math test.

"So we're looking at that. But we also noted at the same time that overall in the state, the average score went down about the same amount that ours did," he said, noting that there also was "an 11 percent increase in our fourth-grade English language arts exam."

On another matter, the School Board approved the appointments of a new principal, Daniel Bracey, and assistant principal, Connie Foster, at Washington School. Bracey will earn $68,000 a year, Foster $55,630.

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