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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, November 26, 2002
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106

Local Credential Approved By Board Of Education

WILMINGTON - The Board of Education voted 8-to-1 on Tuesday to approve school committees giving a state-endorsed local certificate to students who meet local graduation requirements, but who have not yet met the state graduation requirement in English language arts and math.

Board members stressed the local credential will be strictly for students who have made an effort to meet the state requirements, and will not be an easy out for all students.

School committees that do not want to give the local certificate are not required to do so.

“This is not a diploma, but it is a recognition that the students who qualify have worked hard and deserve something for their effort,” said Board Chairman James Peyser. “They will still have more work to do, but they shouldn’t lose out on an opportunity for further education and achievement.”

Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll agreed.

“I see this as a very important step in our overall goal of designing a process that is fair to all young people,” he said. “Some students will need more time to reach the standards we have set, but if they have tried hard and have met their local school requirements, that should be acknowledged.”

Students who receive the credential will be eligible for admittance into state community college programs and some branches of the military. They will also be encouraged to participate in extra help programs, and to return to take the MCAS retest again until they pass and get a diploma.

According to the guidelines approved by the Board, in order to qualify for the certificates students must have taken the MCAS exam at least three times, and have participated in tutoring and extra help programs. Beginning with the Class of 2004, students will also need to have an attendance record of 90 percent or better.

Board members voted to review the policy annually and attached a two-year “sunset clause.”

The Board voted to send the proposal out for public comment in September. In all, 91 written responses were submitted, from parents, school committees, students and educational agencies and institutions.

For more information on the local certificate, look online at

Last Updated: November 26, 2002
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