Arkadelphia News

AHS credit requirements to change

By JOEL PHELPS | The Arkadelphian

Beginning with next year’s seniors, Arkadelphia High School students will be required to complete one less credit in order to graduate. The high school will also change its schedule to a seven-period day, one less period than is now part of a school day. That change will not affect any other campus.

The Arkadelphia Board of Education on Tuesday voiced unanimous approval to change its current policy on credit requirements for both advanced and regular diplomas.

CLICK HERE to view the revised graduation requirements.

Despite the reduction in credits, AHS assistant principal Trent Smith noted the advanced diploma will be more rigorous as upcoming freshmen will be required to take additional Advanced Placement classes in the subjects of history and science.

Board president Blake Bell inquired whether there has been any pushback among teachers. Smith said teachers wanted to switch to a seven-period school day.

Board member Gina White mentioned that some might see the move as lowering the school district’s academic standards. White also pointed out that the current credit system has caused problems in the past for students who transfer from other districts, as the AHS requires more credits in order to graduate compared to other schools. 

Noting that the state requires 22 credits to graduate, Superintendent Nikki Thomas echoed White’s sentiment, as the current requirements sometimes present an obstacle for transfer students.

“You don’t want to turn students away, but we had no way of graduating them,” Thomas said.

At the motion of Matt Johnson and a second from White, the board unanimously approved the policy change.

Personnel Report

Following a 40-minute executive session, the school board reconvened in public and approved the following personnel measures:

Adason Thornton, 5th grade teacher, Peake

Teresa Honeycutt, special education paraprofessional, Peake

Tesha Bolten, bus driver

The board also extended Thomas’ superintendent contract by one year, effective July 1, to maintain a three-year contract. Bell said the board would not discuss Thomas’ compensation (her $140,000 salary could increase to $150,000 upon completion of dissertation) “until staff compensation has been addressed.”