School officials have given the OK for the numbers to go up when it comes to how many credits a Pauls Valley student must complete before they can graduate.

All five members of the Pauls Valley Board of Education voted this week to raise the number of graduation credits from 23, which is the state mandated minimum, to 25.

School administrators are quick to stress the change is not a dramatic one since the vast majority of students are already meeting or exceeding the new number.

The reason for that, they said, is because the local school district is right now operated on a seven-hour class day, which when the math is done adds up to 28 credit opportunities over the course of four years in high school.

Given those numbers the new credit total, which officially begins with the current freshmen class, is met by most students with ease.

“Most of our students are already doing that,” Superintendent Bobby Russell said about the new 25-credit requirement.

“This is not a major change. This is not going to do much except for a few students who are dragging their feet,” he said.

PVHS principal Peter Campbell agreed as he believes the increase will benefit a smaller number of students at the local high school.

“It will challenge our kids to get into class and get to work,” Campbell said.

“That’s my reasoning for doing this.”

Also present at the board meeting was junior high principal Martha Graham, who said she believed the 23-credit total was too low anyway.

The change is the culmination of work coming after the board expressed interest last fall in looking at a few different areas that could potentially improve the instruction geared at moving students toward graduation and preparing them for college or the workplace.

One of those areas was the number of credits needed before graduation.

Research into that area revealed most schools in the region required higher credit totals than Pauls Valley.

An example comes from Lindsay, which has the same number of class periods but requires students to earn 26 credits to graduate — a full three more than Pauls Valley’s former requirement.

Although not mandated, Russell said some planned improvements with the curriculum can be made in the way courses are offered.

A couple of other recommendations were not part of the board approval but still presented by Russell as plans that will get done.

The superintendent said one such plan is to establish guidelines for students who are participating in concurrent enrollment courses, which involves a few students qualified to also take college classes while still in high school.

Russell also announced a curriculum change calls for all freshmen to take Algebra I and Biology I, although some qualified eighth grade students will also get the opportunity.

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