GCSD approves 20 credit diploma plan for H.S. students

Rhett Breedlove
Posted 5/12/23

The Goshen County School Board convened at 7 p.m. Tuesday evening at the Central Administration building to discuss a vast number of items on the proposed agenda, with several items prompting extensive discussions among board members.

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GCSD approves 20 credit diploma plan for H.S. students


GOSHEN COUNTY – The Goshen County School Board  convened at 7 p.m. Tuesday evening at the Central Administration building to discuss a vast number of items on the proposed agenda, with several items prompting extensive discussions among board members.

One such discussion dealt with the recent proposal of a 20-credit hour diploma plan for Goshen County School District (GCSD) high school students, which would reduce the recent 28-hour plan in accordance with District Policy 5127.

This prompted reasonable discussion and concern among board members, with questions pertaining to what this reduction would do as far as elective classes, as well as teachers that devote so much of their time and dedication to these particular electives. There was additional concern as well from board members that perhaps the new credit hour policy would not challenge students nearly enough in their academic growth.

GCSD Superintendent Ryan Kramer advocated such a decision from board members would only allow for more success with graduation rates among students, and would give them far more time to receive extra help with their core classes. These particular classes include English, Math, Science and Social Studies.

“Electives are important, but we have found more students are struggling with the core requirements, said Kramer. “The core requirements are difficult, and some students will need more time to focus on them. Right now, kids will far exceed 20 credits to graduate in Goshen County. This [proposal] allows for more ability for them to choose what path they want to go on. Right now, our graduation rates are showing we aren’t doing what we need to do for our kids, and this will help with that.”

Kramer continued with the notion that the elective courses offered in the GCSD are crucial, however the core requirements are what far more students need help with, and in that regard should be spending more time focusing on them order to graduate.

“It allows us more freedom for kids to investigate what they want to do and be what they want to be, rather than us putting up barriers,” continued Kramer. “I think it’s a great opportunity. It allows us to do different things, and to get our kids the help they need. A lot of kids are failing core classes because our kids are required to take a certain number of electives. Why do we want them to just jump through our hoops, instead of guiding them with what they would like to do? This will open up avenues and doors for kids that currently don’t exist in the [current] 28 credit policy.”

The GCSD Superintendent also added that although this new policy will add more help to core required classes, it will not affect the importance of elective courses that students are typically eager to take.

“Kids right now can take the electives they want. I can’t tell you I’ve ever had or seen a student taking an elective that they didn’t want. Our electives are about relationships. Our staff who teach them are excited about their programs, and we want them to grow.”

When asked if GCSD was the only state-district that was exploring the idea, Kramer continued that this particular district is not alone in exploring a new policy such as this.

“There are a number of other high schools in the state that are exploring other pathways. This allows us to provide a structured study hall for students that need extra help with their core classes.”

Soon thereafter, the agenda item carried with the board, passing the new revisions to the graduation requirement policy.

A further item on the evening’s agenda that prompted discussion, was the extension of the Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC) contract for an additional 1.5 days of virtual coaching for leadership and literacy. This would be for a disclosed amount of $4,650.00.

In response to the proposed extension, GCSB member Carlos Saucedo advocated for the program stating, “I would say it offers transparency. I believe people want transparency.”

According to their website, the PEBC first formed in 1983, and has grown into an organization with a strong reputation for its professional development mode, publications, and expertise of staff. The PEBC has expanded its efforts over the years to coach teachers on a national level with the goal of creating highly efficient and respected classrooms.

Superintendent Kramer also added, “As the parent of a special needs child, I absolutely support those words. That equity needs to be worked on even more, not only for my child, and not just a student who is different, but it’s necessary to have those kids involved with everyone else. The inclusion is absolutely 100%. I truly believe in those words that PEBC states on their website, and what it does for my child. I feel that it has a lot of value, and our work with the PEBC has been very instrumental of what we want to accomplish in this district, and our community.”

After a reasonable discussion among board members, the item agenda was passed without further issues or concerns.

The evening also took time to recognize 15 GCSD staff and faculty members that will be retiring at the end of the year, as well as a visual presentation put together by Torrington Middle School (TMS) Principal, Marv Haiman.

The basis of the presentation was to acknowledge a small group of TMS students who have made a positive impact amongst staff and teachers. The impact was not based on grades, athletic ability, or club participation, but according to Principal Haiman, “They were selected for this because they’re just good kids and role models.”

The 12-minute featurette, presented on the overhead screen, involved numerous TMS students expressing their favorite subjects, teachers, friends, as well as hopes and dreams for their future. The video was met with a gracious applause from the GCSB and community members.

The GCSD adjourned the meeting at 9:30 p.m., and will reconvene at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 13 at the Central Administration Building in Torrington.

For further questions or information, please visit www.goshen1.org, www.pebc.org, or contact Loreen Fritzler at 307-532-2171.