FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tangipahoa Parish School Superintendent Melissa Stilley
AMITE—Tangipahoa Parish School Superintendent Melissa Stilley announced Friday that the seven TPSS high schools will wait until late June to provide the Class of 2020 an opportunity for more traditional graduation ceremonies.
Stilley said the public has been very vocal in their preference to see a more traditional graduation ceremony for this year’s high school seniors, and she said her office, the School Board, and the seven high schools will do everything they can to offer larger scale, in-person programs after the state enters Phase II of the COVID-19 recovery period.
“I hope our seniors and their families know that we are listening, and we hear their wishes. While we don’t know exactly what a summer ceremony will look like, we are open and willing to meet their requests and do our best to provide our seniors an opportunity for a more traditional graduation ceremony later this summer,” Stilley said.
As a result, the previously-scheduled “drive thru” and “Graduation on the Geaux” ceremonies that were slated to begin next week have all been cancelled. “There will be no TPSS high school graduation ceremonies until the last part of June,” Stilley said.
Under the proposal agreed upon by the seven principals Friday, the district will plan to hold graduation ceremonies on the following schedule:
—Amite High Magnet School: June 19
—Hammond High Magnet School: June 23
—Independence High Magnet School: June 25
—Jewel M. Sumner High School: June 22
—Kentwood High Magnet School: June 26
—Loranger High School: June 24
—Ponchatoula High School: June 27
Specific details on those ceremonies will be released by the school closer to the date. Schools will have alternative plans ready for this date if there are any other governmental orders that prohibit more traditional ceremonies, Stilley said.
Students who need to receive their diploma prior to their graduation date should contact their principal.
“We know that there are seniors who are entering the military or going into a post-secondary program or the workforce who expected to receive their diplomas sooner than this June schedule. We are here to help them by making those arrangements before they transition to this new era in their lives,” Stilley said.
The Superintendent offered her sincere thanks to the high schools for being so flexible in adjusting their plans to suit the needs of their students.
“We are living in unprecedented times, and I am so grateful to our high schools for the countless hours they are putting into planning these ceremonies for our students,” Stilley said. “I am also appreciative of the community for working with us and offering us feedback on how we can make this experience better for our students. We as a district are committed to keeping our kids safe while keeping in focus our core value to be compassionate to the legitimate wants and needs of our students and their families. Everyone in our system is sensitive to the hard work that our graduating seniors have completed, and we share in their desire to celebrate this accomplishment publicly with family and friends before they pursue their future endeavors."
Earlier this month, each Tangipahoa Parish School System high school hosted a virtual watch party as part of a celebration for seniors. We have held out on scheduling a graduation ceremony in hopes of being able to have a traditional graduation for our seniors later this summer. Now, we believe that if we were able to schedule any sort of traditional graduation, it may be in September or perhaps later in the fall.
We want our seniors and their families to be able to have closure to their senior year, so they can move on to the next phase of their life, whether it be going to college, joining the military, or going straight into the workforce.
We have been in contact with the Louisiana Department of Education and Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for guidance around what exactly will be allowable under the current restrictions. To see the guidance from LDOE click here.
We received feedback from students, parents, and the community and we know that many want a graduation ceremony in the stadium, gym, or auditorium. This is not an option at this time, nor will it be in the near future.
Therefore, while keeping the current restrictions in mind, we are planning to have a drive- through graduation ceremony to honor our seniors within the next few weeks at each of our high school campuses.
Each high school will be communicating with their students and families regarding the details of the drive-through graduation ceremony at their school.
Superintendent Stilley would like to congratulate all the seniors for their accomplishments and thank them and their families for their patience during this unprecedented time.
When and how will seniors receive their diplomas?
Each high school will contact the senior class on how diplomas will be distributed once they are ready.
Will my senior receive course credit for the last semester of school?
Yes. Seniors can earn course credit for courses for which they have demonstrated proficiency. Schools may determine if senior students have demonstrated proficiency in the grade-level content or courses to award credit by calculating a final grade for each course. The highest end-of-six weeks grade a student has received in each course will serve as the 6th six weeks grade.
How will the 6th six weeks and second semester grades be calculated for seniors?
The highest end-of-six weeks grade a senior has received in each course will serve as the 6th grading period grade. For example, if a student in English IV received a B the first 6 weeks, a C the second six weeks, a C the third six weeks, an A in the fourth six weeks, and a B in the fifth sixth weeks their grade for the sixth six weeks would be an A since that was the highest end-of-six weeks grade received. That 4th six weeks grade would be used in the calculation of the second semester grade.
How will I receive my report card?
Your final report card will be mailed to your house. Parents need to ensure their child’s school has their current address on file. If you don’t believe the school has your correct address, please contact your school administrator. Parents and students will also be able to view this information in the Oncourse Connect Portal, but the report card is considered the official document for review.
Will seniors receive a letter grade or a Pass/Fail for courses?
Parents and students will make the decision on what is the best option for their circumstances. This option will become available once your child receives the official School System report card. After reviewing grades, please visit the links below in order to be informed on possible implications prior to requesting the Pass/Fail option. Pass/Fail options are not calculated into the Grade Point Average for the purpose of the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS). If you decide to request the Pass/Fail option, you must fill out your individualized high school form sent with your report card and submit following the instructions on the form. Parents and students should review the potential implications of a Pass/Fail credit option by reviewing information at these sites:
- TOPS Scholarship Information
- University and scholarship GPA Requirements
How will rank in class be determined?
There will be no changes in how rank in class is determined. Rank in class determination will remain the same as prior years, as outlined in the current 2019-2020 Pupil Progression Plan, which is located on the district website.
What if a senior has not passed or demonstrated proficiency in a grade-level content or course?
For students that have not met minimum levels of proficiency to pass a course, schools will provide alternative learning options to complete unfinished learning and demonstrate proficiency. This may include online courses or course packet options. The Louisiana Department of Education has advised that students currently failing a course will have the opportunity for the final grade to be submitted by August 31, 2020. Once it is determined that a student has met all graduation requirements, the student will be issued a diploma.
What if a senior is enrolled in a dual enrollment course with a college or university?
Students who are enrolled in dual enrollment college classes should follow the guidelines and instructions set by the college or university. The Louisiana Board of Education has advised that the Board of Regents is bringing a policy recommendation forward in April 2020 that will allow a student to continue the course via distance learning options through the higher education institution and earn credit when the course ends, choose to opt for an “In Progress” designation and have until August 31, 2020, to complete the course and earn credit, or opt for an “Administrative Withdrawal” and exit the course with no credit and nothing posted to the official college transcript.
If a student chooses an “In Progress” designation and the student does not complete the course, this may result in a failing grade and negatively impact TOPS scholarship eligibility and college GPA. An “Administrative Withdrawal” request must be submitted by the date determined by the post-secondary institution. These options should be coordinated and determined through each student’s Individual Graduation Plan.
Southeastern Louisiana University
At this time, students should continue working through their course syllabus completing assignments online. Dual enrollment course materials must be accessed online at moodleDE.selu.edu. Students should continue to check their SLU email. If a student chooses to withdraw from the dual enrollment course, the withdrawal date for spring-only and year-long classes has been moved from April 3 to May 26.
Northshore Technical Community College
Northshore Technical Community College is committed to our students and seeing students through to completion of their career and technical education. We have launched our new Open Campus webpage that provides resources to dual enrollment students during this time off-campus. We will continue to publish more materials and courses on the Open Campus each week, and dual enrollment students should check email and Moodle accounts for more information from their instructors. Additional resources and information can be found on our Keep Learning webpage. The last day to withdraw from courses is Friday, April 3, and final grades are due on Monday, May 18. Additional updates can be found at NTCC Updates.
What if a senior is currently pursuing an Industry Based Certification but did not complete requirements as of March 13th?
Upon the lifting of the Governor’s current stay at home order, we will notify students and parents of the option of opportunities to complete industry based certifications this summer. The IBC has been waived for graduation and will not impact a student exiting with a diploma.
What if a senior needs a LEAP 2025 high school assessment score to be eligible to graduate?
The Louisiana Department of Education has cancelled the window for the spring LEAP 2025 assessment, and the requirement has been waived for currently enrolled graduating seniors who will graduate by August 31, 2020. This includes graduating seniors with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) under Act 833 who will graduate by August 31, 2020.
Will a student who has not completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) requirement be eligible to graduate?
The financial aid requirement has been waived for graduating seniors who will graduate by August 31. Schools will maintain a list of those students and complete a hardship waiver for any student still needing to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Online and phone support can be accessed by sending a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although FAFSA has been waived as a graduation requirement, students and parents need to confirm FAFSA requirements for TOPS as established by the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA). The FAFSA is still a requirement for TOPS, and other state and federal financial aid.
In addition to state financial aid programs (e.g. TOPS and LA Go Grant), there are also Federal Student Aid programs that require FAFSA completion, including:
- Pell Grant
- Supplemental Education Opportunity Program/SEOG
- Federal Work Study
- Federal Direct Loans
Certain scholarships, like the Bill Gates Scholarship, require FAFSA completion. Several institutions even use the FAFSA as a scholarship application. Additionally, in order to be awarded scholarships at many highly selective institutions, a student must complete the FAFSA and the College Scholarship Service Profile.
When will I receive my cap and gown?
Principals will notify parents on details as the information becomes available.
If I have questions, who can I ask?
If you have questions about a specific class, please email your teacher. If you have questions about your Individual Graduation Plan (IGP), please email your school guidance counselor. For other information, please call your school or email your administrator.