I had heard good things about this diploma program from a colleague who has used them for quite a while. The phrase she used that stuck with me was, “They offer a lot of grace to the struggling student.” So in July of 2010 I met with the board and learned more about their program, requirements, and distinctives and was approved to evaluate for them.
One of the main features that sets them apart is that they offer a way for students who are gaining vocational skills on a farm or through job apprenticeships to earn credits for graduation and be recognized for those achievements. Seniors earning their Vocational Diploma are required to do a “senior project” that utilizes and develops their hands-on knowledge and skill (think “Boys Scout Project”).
Another forte of the Susquehanna Diploma program is that they provide a legitimate and recognized diploma for students who are older but want to get a diploma rather than a G.E.D. They also work with students who want to accelerate and graduate early.
Susquehanna offers four different types of diplomas and encourage evaluators to make one of them work for special needs students or students who struggle academically.
The four types of diplomas they offer are:
1. General Diploma – simply meeting the minimum requirements of the law. English must include a reading list, five pages of composition, and one speech each year.
2. Academic Diploma – higher requirements for each subject area. English must include at least fifteen titles each year, three compositions of which one must be at least five pages long and use three or more resources, and one speech each year.
3. Vocational-Technical Diploma – the minimum requirements of the law must be met, but evaluators are given latitude in granting those credits. Minimum competencies in each subject are emphasized rather than specific courses. A final project must be completed and presented.
4. Business Diploma – similar to the vocational diploma, but the courses chosen for math, science, electives, etc should be related to business, economics, accounting, etc.
I have also found them to be very willing to help students in unique situations get a recognized diploma.