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BUSD board introduces Bonsall High School commencement policies


Last updated 8/24/2017 at Noon

The 2017-18 school year will be the first in which Bonsall High School has seniors, so the Bonsall Unified School District (BUSD) will be reviewing graduation and commencement ceremony policies.

A first reading of the proposed policies, including a scheduled date and time for the 2018 commencement ceremony, was heard by the BUSD board July 13 although not as an action item.

"We need to start looking at that," said Justin Cunningham, who was the BUSD superintendent prior to his retirement July 31. "It can't be too early."

The draft policies cover regalia guidelines, valedictorian and salutatorian selection, and graduation credit requirement waivers.

"We want to have policies that are fair," said Bonsall High School principal Lee Fleming.

The draft policies included input derived from meetings with students, parents, and school district staff.

"We have been getting input from many community members," Fleming said. "We will definitely be looking at the information."

The tentative date for the first Bonsall High School graduation ceremony is June 8, 2018, and the ceremony is expected to begin at 6 p.m. that Friday.

In the absence of subsequent changes, students will be provided with 10 invitations per family. The use of "per family" rather than "per student" indicates that twins or other siblings graduating in the same ceremony will be provided with 10 rather than 20 invitations, but families who desire additional invitations may contact the Bonsall High School office to request additional seats. All requests for additional invitations must be made by May 1, and contacting the school office will also allow for special seating for the disabled or for those with other physical needs.

Students will have the opportunity to purchase their graduation regalia consisting of a royal blue robe, a silver stole, a blue cap, and a silver tassel. The package will cost approximately $40, although families may request a district-provided loaner set which would be returned the week following the graduation ceremony.

Students will receive information about purchasing the regalia in September. The requests for a loaner set must be made prior to the end of the first semester. The students will receive their regalia package two days prior to the graduation ceremony, which will allow each graduate to have their materials prepared in time for the ceremony.

Because some students will be borrowing items from the school and those items can't be altered or decorated, no decorations will be permitted so that a difference cannot be detected between purchased and borrowed regalia. If a student arrives at the graduation ceremony with an altered or decorated cap or gown they will be provided with a loaner for the ceremony and the altered or decorated item will be returned to the student following the ceremony.

The school will provide a white cord for students graduating in the top 10 percent of their class and medallions for the valedictorian and salutatorian.

The rankings for valedictorian and salutatorian are based on total grade point average points for a student's first seven high school semesters, although if the potential valedictorian fails to achieve A grades in all classes during his or her final semester, the valedictorian position will be given to another student. The student must have attended Bonsall High School for at least three years, including the first semester of tenth grade. The valedictorian and salutatorian honors are also contingent upon a discipline record in which the student has no significant discipline issues occurring in eleventh or twelfth grade.

A discussion for a potential waiver of the graduation requirements can occur as early as the second semester of tenth grade. The criteria to grant the waiver will include a plan for the future which identifies a career of interest, plans for post-secondary education or training with a list of requirements or field-specific recommendations, active involvement or a plan to participate in an internship or job shadow within the student's field of interest, and substitution of the waived required classes with other courses potentially including college courses or other classes within the student's field of interest. A waiver may also be considered if a student transfers from another high school with less stringent graduation or course credit requirements which would create difficulty for a student to accomplish the Bonsall High School requirements within a compressed time period.

The BUSD board or a designee of the school board must approve all waivers no later than one month prior to the student's scheduled graduation. The application for a waiver must be signed by the student's parent or guardian who must meet with the student's study team which includes a school administrator, although an adult student may sign the application. If a student has an individualized education program (IEP), the waiver must be recorded in an IEP annual or amendment meeting.

"I'm grateful that we've had some people offer additional input, and we will definitely be making revisions," Fleming said.


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