By 2017-18, seniors who graduate will have completed three years of math, three years of social studies and two years of world language.
Their graduation milestones within those subject areas will be different than that of current high school students.
With a unanimous vote, the approved a resolution Tuesday night that changes the high school’s graduation requirements.
The goals are to align the graduation requirements and offer more courses students must pass in order to be considered for admittance to a four-year college.
Known as the A-G requirements, the college admittance criteria asks prospective college students take specific core academic classes for the majority of their time at a high school.
For example, to be considered for admission to a University of California campus, students must take the following courses:
- History/Social Studies: Two years required.
- English: Four years required.
- Math: Three years required, four recommended.
- Laboratory Science: Two years required, three recommended (Two years of lab science pertains to biology, chemistry and anatomy etc.).
- Language: Two years required, three recommended (Must be two years of the same language),
- Visual/Performing Arts: One year required.
- College Preparatory Elective: One year required.
As the requirements are now, students are only required to take math and social studies for two years, and world language or fine arts for one year.
"What we are doing is not so revolutionary but more of a tweak to ensure we offer the course selection that is recognized by the UC/CSU system," Trustee Charlie Mensinger said in an email Wednesday morning.
The plan, as outlined by Superintendent Dave Marken and district staff, calls for the implementation of the graduation requirements over the next five years and examining the development of students’ performance each year.
Marken noted that currently 31 percent of students are graduating with A-G requirements completed.
“We’re looking at modest growth over the years,” Marken said.
The five trustees said they were appreciative of the changes but that the district must also work on improving how to address the needs of students who choose not to go to a four-year university.
Mensinger noted that the graduation requirements are also guided by state mandated graduation requirements established by the state Department of Education (See attached PDF).
He said the district must follow those state mandated graduation requirements and "modify to ensure that we are addressing UC/CSU Admission Requirements - A-G."
Mensinger added, "Moreover, we need to ensure that we are addressing all students through our College and Career bound approach. Thus, those students who choose to go into a career or the military after high school are as well prepared as those who choose college."
Board Vice President Jan Crocker noted she'd like students to know more about ROP classes available to them.
She also said she was pleased that district staff will "judge this as we go along and analyze changes ... I’m really concerned we’ll have some kids who’ll really get lost.”
The resolution also calls for the removal of a state requirement course from graduation requirements – a move trustee Janice Schaeffer said she was fond of.
“I just want to say I generally appreciate this program right now. But more specifically, I appreciate the emphasis on the language and not imposing half year [state requirement course] on freshmen. [They] can take something else like music… It’s a huge, huge change.”
Marken noted in a memo attached to the board agenda that the changes call for the district’s necessity to remain fiscally sound while the plan is developed, which is the reason why the graduation requirement changes won’t be fully implemented until 2018.
The changes to the graduation requirements are as follows:
2018 Graduation Requirements
Current Graduation Requirements
English/Language Arts, 40 credits, 4 years
English Language Arts, 40 credits, 4 years
Mathematics, 30 credits, 3 years (4 years recommended)
Mathematics, 20 credits, 2 years
Science, 20 credits, 2 years (3 years recommended)
Science, 20 credits, 2 years
Social Studies, 30 years, 3 years
Social Studies, 20 credits, 2 years
Physical Education, 20 credits, 2 years
Physical Education, 20 credits, 2 years
Fine Arts, 10 credits, 1 year
Fine Arts/Modern Language, 10 credits, 1 year
World Language, 20 credits, 2 years (3 years recommended)
Fine Arts/Applied/Modern Language, 10 credits, 1 year
State Requirements, 5 years, ½ a year
Electives, 60 credits
Electives, 75 credits