LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Lawrence County Schools are looking to help better prepare high school students for the real world.      

Lawrence County school officials are on a mission to add course instruction that’ll equip students with life skills. The school system plans to reduce the number of credits required for its graduates, to better align with Alabama’s education requirements.

According to Superintendent Dr. Jon Bret Smith, the change will affect the incoming ninth-grade class. This means current students already enrolled in the district’s high schools won’t be affected.

“We want all of our students to graduate, and we want all of our students to be college/career ready,” Smith said. “We don’t want to do anything that hinders them from graduating. The state requires 24 and our current requirement is 26, so we want to look at reducing those to make sure that all of our students are possible graduates.”

Once the change goes into effect, students will need 25 credits to graduate.

The superintendent says the school system’s graduation rates exceed the state’s standards, and district leaders are looking to build on that with this change.

“We really listen to our community members and one of the things we keep hearing over and over again is there are some “life skills” that they want our graduates to have,” Smith said. “So, we’re dividing it into a financial perspective. Basically, 1/3 of the class will be something financial. There will also be some life skills that they need to know and just some basic skills we’re going to work with our community members to develop.”

East Lawrence High School’s principal Gaylon Parker tells News 19 his school already has personal finances courses available to its students.

“These kids need to know how to balance a checkbook, understand credit card interest/debt, and those kinds of things.,” Parker said. “A lot of those kids…if we don’t give them that, they’re not going to get it from anybody else.”

Parker is hoping the change in credit requirements will help students see the relevance of what they’re going to do in the future.

“All of our kids aren’t going to college, some of them are going straight to careers,” the principal said. “There’s a huge need for skill trades and a lot of our kids are going to be filling those roles. This will help us prepare those kids for that.”

The Lawrence County Schools’ superintendent says he’s hoping this change will happen in time for the next school year.