Under HB 197 local school districts are provided with graduation flexibility to grant diplomas to individuals who have successfully completed the curriculum, but were unable to take the OGT this spring and summer due to the pandemic. Through this flexibility, the Lorain City School District granted a diploma to an eligible individual who, while in hospice, expressed his deep desire to have his high school diploma before he passed. We were two days too late.
As a result, our team has spent countless hours scouring the transcripts of individuals who had fulfilled all of their graduation requirements, with the exception of the end of course exam or exams. We shared our plans with the Ohio Department of Education, but apparently misinterpreted our response from the ODE as one of support.
"I take ownership for the fact that while we were following the literal language of the law, we misinterpreted the spirit of the law and its restrictions,” shared Dr. Jeff Graham, Superintendent. “My job is to empower my team to make decisions that help as many people as we can — and just because we can’t help individuals through HB 197 doesn’t mean our efforts will stop. Through this process, we discovered hundreds of individuals who would potentially qualify for a diploma under this provision. And our team is ready to help.”
Individuals who have reached out to the Lorain City Schools as possible qualifiers for a diploma under HB 197 will be connected with programs and services which will help them pass the OGT, and be an official graduate of the Lorain City Schools.
“I’m really impressed by the efforts of our team to help individuals during a pandemic, the biggest economic downturn of our time, and an uncertain future. A diploma helps individuals attain better paying jobs, and access higher education — our team did what they are supposed to do — they made decisions they felt were in the best interest of our community to help them achieve.”