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Seniors race the clock to graduate on time

While most high school seniors are ordering their graduation caps and gowns, there are some who might not see the stage this June.

In a race against the clock, 12 seniors — out of a total of 803 seniors in Suffolk Public Schools — do not have the six verified credits required to graduate with their class. But they may still have time to complete them.

A verified credit represents the successful completion of a course and its corresponding Standards of Learning test. If either of the two requirements is not met, a student can re-take the class or exam until he passes.

To graduate, students must take at least 22 credits, of which a minimum of six credits must be verified credits, spread among a variety of subjects.

For example, a student must take three science courses, but the state requires only one verified credit in science.

Of the 12 students still needing credits to graduate, 10 have one outstanding credit, and the remaining two students have multiple credits unverified, according to Dr. Deran Whitney, deputy superintendent for Suffolk Public Schools.

Three students have been able to complete their credits since the School Board talked about the problem during its last meeting. They were all from Nansemond River High School, and they were the only students from that school to initially fail to meet credit requirements.

Of the remaining 12 students, four are students at King’s Fork High School and eight are students at Lakeland.

To verify their credits, students who failed the SOL test have a few options.

“All students have the option to attend the after school tutoring sessions to assist them in enhancing their test-taking skills and refresh the content,” Whitney said. “Students have also been allowed to retest during the summer and academic year with tutoring support.”

Students who did not complete a required class, however, must retake the class. Whether they have to wait until the following year “depends,” said Phyllis Sharpe, schools coordinator of high school instruction. “Some classes are offered during the summer, after which they would be able to graduate.”

This time last year, there were 10 students with outstanding unverified credits, according to Whitney.