Springfield’s public high schools are graduating a record number of students and they may soon invite more students to be part of the commencement ceremony.
The school board wants to change a policy that apparently prohibited foreign exchange students from participating in the graduations each May.
Superintendent Grenita Lathan said she was contacted by a teacher from Glendale High School and parents reached out to board member Maryam Mohammadkhani about “our foreign exchange students previously not being allowed to participate in graduation.”
The district’s current policy states only students who complete all of the requirements for a regular or alternative diploma to be part of the commencement ceremony.
Foreign exchange students typically study in the U.S. for one year and, therefore, do not have enough time to complete all of the courses Springfield requires for graduation.
Under the proposed change, foreign exchange students can be awarded a certificate of attendance.
Lathan said Nicole Holt, the deputy superintendent of academics, looked into the issue and checked with other districts in Missouri to “see what they were doing.”
“In my previous experience in other school districts across the country, foreign exchange did participate. It’s a ceremony,” Lathan said.
She proposed making a couple tweaks to the current policy and submitted it to the board for review.
“This is a recommendation asking the board to allow us to change it so they can participate next spring,” she said.
No board member spoke in opposition of the change.
The district set a new record for the highest number of graduates in a single year with 1,830 for the Class of 2021, up from 1,756 the prior year.
Board President Alina Lehnert asked board members to provide any feedback on the proposal prior to the Oct. 19 meeting, when the board is expected to vote.
“Thank you for bringing that to the board so that the board can review that,” she said.
Claudette Riley is the education reporter for the News-Leader. Email news tips to email@example.com.