Monday, April 22, 2013
Help Me Howard: Lost high school credit
Passing a test in school, getting credits, moving from one grade to the next is not always easy. So imagine getting straight A's in the 9th grade and a year later being told, that doesn't count, do it again. Is that legal to do to a student? It's why she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- There are a lot of great things you can say about Trisha Nichols, but you cannot say she is a patient 15-year-old.
Trisha Nichols: "I wanted to graduate early. I wanted to move on, go to college."
Her grandmother says the 10th grader knows what she wants to do in life and is determined to get there quickly.
Patti Williams: "I want to see her go to proms and go to football games and she has no interest in that. She just wants to have a career."
To take classes to be able to graduate early, last September Trisha transferred from a private school to Hollywood Hills High School. Her transcripts were accepted. Then a few weeks ago, a school official stunned her.
Trisha Nichols: "Come to find out, my credits for 9th grade at Broward Christian do not count. All of them are wiped out. It's like I never went to 9th grade."
The news that her 9th grade credits from the private school were not accepted by her new high school devastated her.
Trisha Nichols: "I really didn't know what to think. I was freaking out."
Broward Christian is the private school she attended in the 9th grade. It has been run by her grandfather for 42 years so she called him.
Trisha Nichols: "He said, 'Of course it's accredited. It's a school, I own it. I know it has accreditation.'"
The school's website says it's accredited by three different groups, but Broward school officials told Patti they don't accept accreditation's from those groups. News to Patti.
Patti Williams: "It's been there 42 or 43 years. Hundreds of kids have gone through there, gone on to college, gotten degrees."
And Trisha is a smart girl. Her 9th grade transcripts show straight A's in Algebra, Biology, English, History, and at Hollywood Hills she is doing great as well.
Patti Williams: "All A's and two B's for the second 9 weeks."
But Trisha says without the credit for the 9th grade, her hard work is wasted. Her plans will be destroyed.
Trisha Nichols: "I wanted to graduate early. I am a smart student. I do my work and now I am stuck. I am moving backwards."
Well Howard there are many accreditation groups. Can a school district say, 'Sorry. We don't accept your grades. Do the work over?'
Howard Finkelstein: "No they cannot refuse. They must accept both the credits and grades from another school even if they don't recognize that school's accreditation. However, the new school can require the student to prove they understand the subject material, including making them take a test in certain subjects."
I first spoke to Trisha's grandfather who runs Broward Christian School.
He said the state had begun to narrow the bands of accreditation groups they accepted. That some Florida schools accept his students grades but others don't.
But good news from the Broward School District. A spokesperson told me new Florida legislation will enable Hollywood Hills to accept Trisha's 9th grade classes because of her first semester performance.
In other words, since she did so well in 10th grade classes it's obvious she did the work in the 9th grade. The only exception is she has to pass a year end test for Algebra and Biology so those credits will be accepted.
Trisha Nichols: "Yes I do. I am so excited."
Trisha is now back in position to accelerate classes and get to college earlier. Needless to say, great news for a not so patient young lady.
What if a school is not accredited or your are home-schooled? Doesn't matter. A public school has to accept it after you well in the next grade. And of course, you have to pass the year end test in Biology, Algebra and Geometry.
And if the school won't accept your grades after all that, contact the State of Florida's Department of Education, file a complaint.
Reading and writing about a problem that's refusing to get resolved? Ready to graduate from those R's to an S? A solution? Contact us. We don't want credit. We don't want cash. We just wanna make the grade. With this Help Me Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser 7News.
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