ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. — Superintendent George Arlotto has announced changes to graduation requirements for members of the Class of 2020 and second-semester grading for all students in response to the educational impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Graduating seniors will need to earn 22.5 credits to receive their diploma, 3.5 fewer than the 26 required of Anne Arundel County Public Schools students in previous years but still 1.5 more than required by the Maryland State Department of Education.
The reduction comes solely in elective credits and does not impact the required number of credits required in English, Math, Social Studies, Science, Health, Physical Education, Fine Arts, or Technology. It is applicable to the Class of 2020 only.
“As our students have navigated a monthlong school closure, a transition to online learning, and untold challenges to their normal family lives, we have discussed myriad ways to help ensure that these circumstances entirely out of their control do not negatively impact their futures,” said Dr. Arlotto, who presented the changes to the Board of Education. “We have preached equity, grace, patience, and flexibility, and this plan for our seniors is in line with that mindset.”
Specific requirements for graduation are contained in Administrative Regulation IIC-RA. Changes to that regulation, as is the case with all administrative regulations, are the purview of the Superintendent.
To earn a diploma, seniors also need to satisfy MSDE requirements in one of three required options: World Language (2 credits); Advanced Technology (2 credits); or Career & Technology Education (4 credits).
A student’s chosen pathway impacts the number of elective credits required to graduate.
The changes, Dr. Arlotto said, will allow students to focus exclusively on any MSDE required credits rather than AACPS elective credits and afford students in danger of not graduating to reassess their options and potentially earn a diploma.
Counselors will work closely with students and families who have questions about coursework.