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TUSD students who don't qualify to graduate---want to walk anyway

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

TUSD students who don't qualify to graduate---want to walk anyway

CREATED May 18, 2012

Reporter: Craig Smith

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - For a good job, you need at least a high school diploma--and preferably much better than that.
       
Some TUSD students will be ending their high school careers without that critical piece of paper but they still want the privilege of walking at graduation with their classmates.

The students we talked to are from Tucson High.  They say they passed their classes, they just couldn't pass the math part of that standardized AIMS test.  They say they're confident they'll meet that requirement later, so they should be able to walk.

To students, walking at graduation is an experience they say they'll remember for life.
    
That's why these students were walking in front of TUSD headquarters this morning.
     
They say they finished their courses, with passing grades, with one crucial exception.  They did not pass the math portion of AIMS, the  standardized test the state requires to graduate.

KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked Tucson High Senior Keunna Mitschke: "What do you say to the folks who said, well, if you don't meet all the requirements, AIMS included, you didn't really make it, you didn't really earn the right to walk." 

She said, "Well I don't agree with that because if we pass all our classes we have A and B's.  We passed every other AIMS except for math even if it's for that little bit of percentage we needed to pass the AIMS, we would still be able to graduate.  We're not saying give us the diploma.  We don't want that.  We want to walk."
       
The students say they'll qualify for their diplomas when they re-take AIMS.
       
TUSD spokesperson Care Rene says by the time a student's near graduation, they've already had plenty of chances.
"For the class of 2012, this particular class we're talking about, they've had five chances to take AIMS and pass AIMS; and the whole time during this, parents have been made aware this is a requirement to pass that to be able to graduate.  We understand, of course some students aren't going to do as well as others so the district offers mentoring and tutoring year round for free to try to help and identify and help those students who need that extra bit of tutoring to get through this."
     
Students complain that the tutoring didn't reflect what they saw on the test.
     
Last year the board agreed to let students walk at graduation if they passed everything but AIMS. Board member Adelita Grijalva put a vote on Tuesday's agenda to decide if they'll offer that waiver again. But time is tight; graduations start the next day.