States new diploma plan means changes

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 31, 2008


Dr. Wayne vickers

Demopolis city schools superintendent

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DEMOPOLIS &8212; The Alabama Department of Education is considering a plan that would challenge high school students with more rigorous standards &8212; in essence adopting the &8220;advanced&8221; diploma as the standard for graduation.

If the proposal passes, the changes could present new opportunities for students statewide. For a little more about the proposal, The Times sat down with Demopolis City Schools Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers.

Q: What do you like about the state&8217;s proposed plan?

A: The idea is great. It&8217;s a great opportunity for students, because it offers a lot of flexibility and different pathways for our students to succeed. It will be difficult because we&8217;re talking about significant changes to what students and teachers have done before.

Q: What does this mean for students and their parents?

A: All the students will be placed on the advanced diploma track. Parents would have to choose whether their child would need to be moved to a standard diploma. Our hope is that this will challenge students, that students would get involved with the advanced diploma track and realize &8220;This isn&8217;t so hard.&8221; This is not a bad thing, and it will involve the parents more.

Q: The standard diploma is still a viable option?

A: Yes, they can opt out of the advanced track. But this plan gives us more flexibility and more options for all students.

Q: What&8217;s the downside to this plan?

A: We hope that we have enough time to educate teachers and staff so that we can smoothly implement this plan &8230; just now, the process is starting, and we want to ensure that our students have every opportunity to succeed.

For more information on the proposal, visit the Alabama Department of Education Web site at, where the proposal is available for download as a MS Word document.