My son starts his senior year in high school this September. Now that January Regents are re-instated, he will probably have only one or two classes left to acquire enough credits to graduate I have heard that even if he does not need the credits, he must attend full time. Is that true?
Dear Senior Mom:
I would count on your son attending full time, even though his necessary credits are complete.
For one thing, there are state requirements for how many hours of instruction are required daily: 51/2 hours in grades 7-12: Here’s what the state regulations have to say:
"The daily sessions for pupils in grades seven through 12 shall be a minimum of five and one-half hours including time spent by students in actual instructional or supervised study activities, exclusive of time allowed for lunch… [ Double sessions schools may have 41/2 hours of instruction.]"
Another reason for staying for a full day of classes: The formula by which state aid to local districts is calculated is very complicated but an important part of it is based on student enrollment. If a student does not attend for a whole day as defined by the required length of day cited above, he would not be counted as a student or would be counted as a fraction of a student. In either case this would reduce state aid and you know that these days, the schools really count on that aid.
There are some good alternatives to marking time in the second semester of senior year. Cooperative education, is a a long time program that lets kids attend school half a day and work at real jobs in the second part of the day. You can find out about this program from your son’s school. If you are interested, make sure you or your son makes contact with the guidance counselor or dean as soon as school starts, to set up a co-op plan.
Other worthwhile possibilities are College Now courses, taken at CUNY community colleges, and sometimes offered at the high school itself. If that's not an appealing option, he should take advantage of the elective courses he had no time for before. Depending on his school there may be music, arts, tech, and perhaps community service to choose from. And a light course load will give him time to do service projects at the school. He can take part in the student council, work on the yearbook, help plan the senior prom, set up a senior class fund drive for a good cause. No reason to languish in senior year.
PS: There is a brief description of the Coop program on the DOE website. You might doublecheck on the high school graduation requirements to make sure he really does have all the credits he needs to graduate.