Kentucky students have until May 1 to apply to their local school board to use the 2021-22 school year to retake or supplement courses they’ve already taken, according to a new law that grants students a “do-over” year.
The Kentucky Department of Education said in a guidance document Monday that local school boards will then have until June 1 to decide whether to grant all the requests or none.
The new Supplemental School Year Program is only available to K-12 students enrolled as of May 1.
“Not only did the COVID-19 pandemic affect education in ways we have never seen before, but it also altered the education landscape going forward,” Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass said of Senate Bill 128, which Gov. Andy Beshear signed into law March 24.
“This bill is an example of that. We want to ensure our districts have all the necessary resources to provide students, families and school officials with relevant information as they make these significant decisions,” Glass said.
The law also gives high school senior athletes fifth-year eligibility if they choose to repeat a year, The Associated Press said.
The Kentucky Department of Education said eligible courses include “those the student previously was enrolled in or bear a reasonable connection to previous courses to be supplementary in nature.”
For example, students cannot use the program to retake or supplement courses from any school year before the 2020-21 school year or to explore courses they otherwise didn’t have the opportunity to take.
Students also cannot earn duplicate credits for required courses; taking Algebra I twice, for example, and earning two of the four required credits for the same course content is not allowed.
If the student failed the course during the 2020-2021 school year, the student is eligible for earning credit due to that failure.
For graduated students, any credits they earn cannot be used toward graduation or be included in the student’s final GPA, which remains fixed after graduation.
Students must continue to work toward the minimum 22 credits to graduate and fulfill any local graduation requirements.
For graduated seniors, local school districts may establish policies on grades, schedules, classifications, graduation ceremonies and other operational issues in offering the supplemental school year, the guidance said.
The program will have an immediate impact on school funding if a school district decides to opt-in: Students in the Supplemental School Year Program – including graduated students – are eligible for inclusion in the district’s average daily attendance, which is a crucial factor in determining school funding.
For graduated students, schools can only get the associated per-pupil funding for each of the two semesters the student is enrolled, and it is tied to the completion of courses during the semester and enrollment during the entirety of the semester, the guidance document notes.
If a district does decide to join the program, it has until June 16 to submit its implementation plan to the Kentucky Board of Education for review.
– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @NewsByAaron or visit bgdailynews.com.