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Future county graduates must earn 28 credits

By DAWN HANKINS - dhankins@t-g.com
Posted 5/28/22

Bedford County Assistant Director of Schools Tim Harwell said during the recent school board meeting that Bedford County has been following a high school design of the bare minimum when it comes to …

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Future county graduates must earn 28 credits

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Bedford County Assistant Director of Schools Tim Harwell said during the recent school board meeting that Bedford County has been following a high school design of the bare minimum when it comes to state requirements needed for graduation. That should change, he advised.  

On the heels of local graduations, Harwell said he believes it will be for the betterment of the school system. He is the former principal of Shelbyville Central High School and said he’s studied this process for a while.  

The school board unanimously approved policy 4.605 last Tuesday, following Harwell’s presentation. The new high school redesign would gradually increase the required graduation credits from 22 to 28.  

“Our proposal is that our students would earn 28 credits; they would have 32 possible opportunities to earn those credits,” Harwell said.  

Harwell explained that this new high school redesign would be a phase-in and will not change anything next school year for the students. The teachers, however, will have to go through training and professional development next school year in preparation for the newly designed 4x4 block schedule.  

“Then, in the year ’23-’24, you can see the progression and the phase-in here,” Harwell said, as he explained from a multi-media presentation.  

“The graduating class of 2024 will be still held to the 22 credits. The class of 2025 would increase to 24. The class of ’26 would increase to 26. And the class of 2027 would be the first class that would be required to have 28 credits.”  

How does this benefit students?  

Harwell explained that to the audience which filled the Harris Middle School library.  

“Each students will participate in a career exploration class. Students will have more opportunities to participate in career technical or college credit classes. Students will be better prepared for post secondary success. And students will have more opportunities to recover credits to graduate.”  

How does this help teachers?  

Harwell explained how educators benefit from the 4x4 block schedule.  

“Each teacher would have up to 90 minutes of planning every day. Teachers would be responsible for fewer students throughout the school day. And teachers would have the students for one semester versus the whole schoolyear.”  

Harwell explained some exceptions include Advanced Placement classes, which would be a full semester of studies. He added that sports such as football, basketball and band would encompass a full year.  

How does this change help the community?  

“This will provide partnership opportunities with BedfordCounty schools and local businesses. Students will be better prepared coming out of high schools which will translate into better and more productive citizens in our community.”  

Harwell said, prior to the board’s approval of policy 4.605, that as he’s informed them, this new high school redesign comes with a pretty significant price tag.  

See Tuesday’s T-G for an explanation of the expense to policy 4.605.  

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