“In The Nick of Time”
by Richard Pryor, Communications Associate, MIC3
Over the summer, an incoming Senior transferred from a sending state to a Department of Defense, Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary School (DDESS).
A few weeks into the school year, the student was informed that she was 6 credits short in meeting the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) school graduation requirements. The DDESS school contacted the sending school to confirm if the student could meet their graduation requirements. To obtain a diploma from the sending state, the student needed to meet state testing requirement in Language Arts and Algebra. The school informed the family of the testing window, and subsequently the parent and student flew back to the sending state in March/April to take both the tests.
In early April (in preparation for graduation), the DDESS school followed up with the sending school to obtain the test scores, and was informed that the make-up tests were graded at end May – after the DDESS school graduation date. Without a graded score, the sending school district could not confirm the student met the sending state’s graduation requirements, and the receiving school concluded that the student could not walk at graduation without this confirmation. Throughout the year, the family, and both the sending and receiving schools were in communication with the Army School Liaison Officer (SLO).
Outcome: At this point, the Army SLO reached out to the MIC3 national office who forwarded the case to the State Commissioner and DODEA’s representative. Speedy consultation between the Commissioner, state Department of Education and DODEA discovered that if the sending state had a local student in a similar situation, that the sending school would allow the student to walk, however receipt of the actual diploma were dependent on the final test scores. As a result, the DDESS school determined they could make the same accommodation, and the student was informed a few days prior to graduation that she could participate in the ceremony.
A number of individuals assisted with this case – too many to thank individually. “We still aren't sure of all the trouble everyone went through to make this happen but (whomever) they were and however they were handled, thank you,” said a very grateful mother.
All those involved agreed on the urgency of this case and that finding a solution was paramount. What mattered most was that the student could walk with her classmates and be recognized for her hard work and achievement. This case is a prime example of why the Compact is important in supporting kids, and underlines the importance of our Commissioners, School Liaison Officers, schools, and other stakeholders in working collaboratively to ensure successful educational transitions.