WPCSD Board discusses graduation plans

Charlie Benton
Daily Times Leader

The West Point Consolidated School District Board of Directors discussed the district's plans for graduation at its meeting Monday.

While Superintendent Burnell McDonald said nothing was decided yet, he mentioned some options the district was looking at for honoring its seniors, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the cancellation of the remainder of the school year. The board also looked at some grading options for students to be voted on at its May meeting.

McDonald said graduation plans had not yet been finalized, due to the uncertainty of the months ahead.

“Ultimately, we would like to have a graduation on the football field, and we even talked about issuing tickets to graduates,” McDonald said.

He said it would be possible to maintain proper social distancing within the stadium, which is capable of holding 5,000 fans.

“We're talking about 200 graduates, and we give four tickets per graduates,” McDonald said. “That would be no more than 800 people that you could space out if you did it the right way to have a graduation.”

He also said the district had been looking at options for virtual graduation ceremonies.

“All of those things are on the table,” McDonald said. “We just haven't made a final decision about it, but we are discussing them.”

“There are so many options out there,” McDonald added. “It's really depending on the high school staff to work on coming up with a plan to give to us.”

McDonald then said with the state testing models waived for the school year, seniors would be allowed to graduate based on Carnegie units alone. The state requires seniors to earn at least 24 Carnegie units to meet graduation requirements under the normal model.

“Of course, the state has already waived state testing,” McDonald said. “That means that all students will meet the graduation requirements with the number of Carnegie units will be allowed to graduate. Passing the state test will not be something that they will be held accountable for.”

An item looking at the district's contract with the Golden Triangle Early College High school was removed from the agenda, as the district waits to see East Mississippi Community College's response after both the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District and the Columbus Municipal School District made the decision to pull out of the school, citing rising costs and the school not serving the population it was intended to.