To: County Superintendents
From: Dr. Steven L. Paine, State Superintendent of Schools
Date: June 26, 2007
Subject: Graduation Dates and Early Release of Seniors
In light of what appears to be an increasingly inconsistent practice among the counties of the state regarding graduation dates and the early release of seniors, I wish to reiterate the guidance set forth by previous State Superintendents.
As early as 1986, this office has consistently indicated that counties have the option of releasing seniors up to one week (five instructional days) prior to the end of the regular instructional term for students. For example, if the last scheduled instructional day in a county had been Friday, June 8, 2007, the last scheduled day for seniors should have been no earlier than Friday June 1, 2007. Of course, the last instructional day for seniors could be later, even the same as the last instructional day for other students.
Accordingly, if the last day of the regular instructional term for the 2007-2008 school year is Monday June 9, the last day for seniors should be no earlier than Monday, June 2, 2008. However, in order to accommodate schools with a tradition of weekend graduation ceremonies, and in accordance with past practice, the last day for seniors in the 2007-2008 school year could be Friday, May 30, 2008. Likewise, for the 2008-2009 school year, if the last day of the instructional term is Monday June 8, 2009, the last day for seniors could be Friday, May 29, 2009 (this provision can also be extended to the 2009-2010 school year, with a permissible release date for seniors of Friday, May 28, 2010). The calendars for school years 2010-2011, 2011-2012, and 2012-2013 will likely be such that approval for dismissal for seniors more than five days before the end of the instructional term is highly unlikely.
School attendance, even for our graduating seniors, is of great importance. It is my hope that this memorandum will be of assistance in planning the next several school years and that the current inconsistences regarding graduation will be resolved.