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Some good news: Shannon McDermott's end run around MCAS

Susan Notes:

Heartfelt congratulations to Shannon and her mom, who didn't give up.

Children Left Behind is a documentary about High-Stakes testing.

The North Atlantic Regional High School Diploma has traditional minimum requirements.

For a completely state-authorized and fully-accredited diploma from NARHS, these are the minimum 17-1/2 credits required for graduation:

4 English
2 Math
2 Science (1 must include a âlabâ)
1 Social Studies
1 US History
1 Phys. Ed.
1 Fine Arts
1/2 (0.5) Computer Skills
1/2 (0.5) Health
4.5 Electives, your choice.

They offer different ways for students to complete these requirements, and it is certainly worthwhile for a student who has passed basic courses but can't pass the state exit exam to get in touch with them, as Shannon's story shows.

Again, congratulations, Shannon!


by Lisa Guisbond

Those who have seen Lou Kruger's video, Children Left Behind, no doubt remember Shannon McDermott, who suffers from a seizure disorder and couldn't
pass the MCAS because her condition and disabilities interfered with her
math comprehension.

When I met Shannon and her mom, I shared with them that there's a private school in Maine, the North Atlantic Regional High School, that will grant a legitimate diploma to students who can show by their high school transcript they have fulfilled NARS' graduation requirements. Shannon successfully pursued that option and is now in culinary school in Maine. Her mom said I
could share the good news widely, so here is her note:


"I want to thank you so much for giving me the information about the school in Maine It worked out great. I sent Shannon's transcripts over, she had 10 credits more than what was required. Payed a transfer fee of $500.00 and a beautiful diploma (tassel Included) came in the mail. That open the door for Shannon to attend the college she is at now Southern Maine Community College in South Portland. Maine. She lives in the dorms and is working on a degree in culinary arts. She loves it!!! Her high school class is graduating from college this year and she is just starting but after this long journey she is finally pursuing her goals and dreams against the odds.

Please share our story with anyone and feel free to pass along my e-mail if I can be of any help.

Once again THANK YOU so much. You helped to change someones life!!!"

— Lisa Guisbond
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