O.C. School District Discusses 3-Year High School Option

first_imgThe job fair will be livestreamed on April 14. By MADDY VITALEThe Ocean City school district is considering something that may be of interest to incoming freshmen for the 2021-22 school year.Students may have the option of attending school for three years in an accelerated track, not the traditional four years.And if approved by school officials, it could be offered as early as the new school year.“Over the years, what I am most proud of is taking a look at the high school program and providing opportunities for not just traditional students, but all students. Most of us have a perspective that high school is for four years,” Ocean City High School Principal Dr. Matt Jamison explained during Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting.He continued, “For the most part, the majority of students hold that same perspective, but every year we have one or two students who would like to graduate early. One thing the pandemic has taught us is how flexible education can be, especially senior year.”Currently, there is no official option for a three-year track.“What we wanted to do was make it official,” Dr. Jamison said.Specifically, he is proposing to add a three-year track with a 120-credit requirement, versus the existing 135 credits, to graduate.“The only difference is the elective base,” he said. “In the three-year track, the students would still meet all the state requirements, including testing, to be awarded a high school diploma.”Ocean City High School Principal Dr. Matt Jamison, standing, says schools in other districts have been successful with the abbreviated high school track. (Photo courtesy of Martin Fiedler, Just Right TV Productions)Ocean City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Taylor pointed out that the three-year track, if offered, would be one of many opportunities high school students have to achieve greater success in high school and college careers.“We have offered virtual classes, virtual high school, and a dual credit program with a number of universities,” Dr. Taylor said.Most recently, the district began a dual program with Atlantic Cape Community College that allows students to receive a high school and associates degree at the same time.“We would like to offer another flexible opportunity to move through high school and have a post-secondary career,” Dr. Taylor noted.She also pointed out some reasons students may want to finish school quicker. A three-year track would allow a student to get out in the workforce quicker, get into college a year earlier or even spend a “gap” year saving up for their chosen college and the cost of living.Dr. Jamison further detailed how the track has proven successful in other New Jersey school districts, including Cherry Hill East.The shortened track to a high school diploma is something that students seem to want more now than in the past, he said.Board of Education member Greg Whelan asked about the track.“For the kids who have done it, has it had any impact on what types of colleges they got into?” Whelan asked.Dr. Jamison responded, “Most students will stay in college for four years and do the traditional route. These colleges are more moderately competitive.”The next step is a review of the policy by the district’s Policy Committee.“The Policy Committee will look at the policy and continue the conversation,” Dr. Taylor said, adding that the program could start as soon as next year.last_img

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