Changes made to HS graduation requirements

High School Principal Patricia Puglisi set out the following letter to the parents of high school students about the changes to graduation requirements:


January 27, 2014

Dear Parents and Guardians of MERHS Students:

As we have entered the course selection process for the 2014-2015 school year.  I wanted to update you and remind you of changes to the MERHS graduation requirements.  Please note the following:


  • For the Class of 2017 and beyond, two years of the same foreign language will be a graduation requirement (10 credits).  (students with special or unusual circumstances may have this requirement waived by the principal)


  • For the Class of 2017 and beyond, a fourth year of math will be a graduation requirement. (5 credits)


Due to state regulations, MERHS is obligated to have a four year physical education requirement. Beginning during the 2014 – 2015 school year, all high school students must participate in physical education each year of high school.  Students in the class of 2015 are exempt from this requirement.


Freshman and Sophomore Requirements

Students in grades 9 and 10 are required to successfully complete a semester course in physical education and health each school year.  Students must enroll in a course each school year, the requirement cannot be fulfilled in later school years.


Junior and Senior Requirements (not required for the class of 2015)

Juniors and seniors have a variety of options by which they may complete the physical education requirement.  This requirement can be fulfilled outside of the school day.

To fulfill the requirement for physical education for junior and senior years, all students must select one of the following options each year:


  • Elect to take a physical education elective at MERHS.
  • Play on an inter-scholastic team at MERHS for at least one season.  The Athletic/PE Department and school counselor must be notified in advance if pursuing this option.  Documentation reflecting full completion of the sports season must be provided to the Guidance Office by the student (MERHS will provide form).
  • Participate in an after-school intramural weight training and conditioning program at the MERHS weight room.  The hours will depend on the schedule of the weight room.  The MERHS weight room supervisor will verify participation and attendance.  The time commitment must be a minimum of 40 total hours.  The Athletic/PE Department and counselor must be notified in advance if a student is pursuing this option.   At the conclusion of the 40 hour requirement, the student must provide the Guidance Office with written documentation of completion (MERHS will provide form).
  • Participate in a fitness/exercise program at a fitness/exercise facility.  This may include weight training, general fitness, dance, yoga, skating, gymnastics, karate, judo, or other approved activities.  The time commitment must be a minimum of 40 total hours.  The school counselor must be notified in advance if pursuing this option.  The student must provide written documentation signed by an approved instructor of completion of required hours. (MERHS will provide form).


Next school year, all students in the Class of 2016 will be required to have physical education listed on his/her schedule.  Assuming most students will elect to fulfill this requirement outside of the regular school by playing a sport or participating in an activity listed above, the course will be listed in “H Block,” outside of the regular school day.  Students choosing to fulfill this requirement during the school day will be scheduled in an Independent Study for Physical Education with a Physical Education Teacher.


Please note the other changes to next year’s Program of Studies:


  • Added Guidelines for Post-Secondary Planning
    • This section includes updated requirements for entrance to Massachusetts’ State Colleges and Universities.


The following updates have been made to specific department’s course offerings:


  • Visual Arts


  • Added honors level weighting to higher level arts courses to reflect the rigor of the arts program while providing greater opportunities for students in the arts to show a stronger elective choice on final transcripts.


  • Social Studies


  • Removed CP/H US History and Government – this course did not run during the 2013-2014 school year due to lack of enrollment.


  • Added Sociology as a semester elective course – Sociology combines analysis, empathy, and inquiry to build on theory and frame a deeper understanding of social constructs, perceptions, and realities.


  • Added Facing History and Ourselves as a semester elective course – In order to promote greater awareness of the societal issues students will face in today’s world, this course will examine bias, racism, and prejudice in a historical context. Through the study of intolerance, genocide, and the Holocaust, students will be able to make the fundamental correlation between history and the moral and ethical choices they are forced to make on a daily basis in their own lives


  • Mathematics


  • Maintained AP Statistics in Program of Studies as a priority to be scheduled during the 2014-2015 school year.



  • Science and Technology


  • Maintained inclusion of Industrial Design, Robotics and CADD as priorities to be scheduled during the 2014-2015 school year.


(Please note that all course offerings are subject to enrollment criteria and staffing ability)

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or the Guidance Office.


Very truly yours,


Patricia Puglisi


Author: eppc

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