|Changes proposed for HS graduation requirements|
|Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt|
Revisions to graduation requirements for Holyoke High School were presented to the Re-1J Board of Education at its April 19 meeting.
One highlight of the proposed changes includes the addition of .5 credits per semester for the Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP) class.
Other additions to the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) graduation requirements include two semesters of foreign language, starting with the Class of 2014; two semesters of fine arts for the Class of 2013 and four semesters for the Class of 2014 and beyond; and two semesters of Career & Tech Ed (CTE) for the classes of 2012 and 2013 and four semesters for the Class of 2014 and beyond.
The graduation requirement for the relationships and life management class will be eliminated, starting with the Class of 2012. The class will still be offered for CTE fulfillment. Elimination of this class requirement reflects community and staff views.
Presentation of the changes came after much discussion and review from the district accountability committee, JR/SR high staff, leadership team and administration.
Superintendent Bret Miles said it’s the intent to bring the policy back to the board for first reading May 3. It will be presented to students in early May to start registration for 2011-12 classes.
JR/SR High Principal Susan Ortner said they believe these PWR requirements will prepare students with the necessary knowledge, skill and character to find success in life, as stated in the district mission statement.
She pointed out counselor Summer Maloney has reviewed current student transcripts to make sure students have ample opportunity to earn the credits which are being recommended as requirements.
Ortner explained the foreign language requirement will allow all students who wish to attend a four-year college in Colorado the opportunity to enter with higher education requirements met.
Expanding the requirements for CTE and arts classes ensures students are exposed to a wide variety of experiences, noted Supt. Miles.
Orter cited information from the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE) winter conference, where Dr. Willard Daggett said CTE classes are the courses where students learn to apply the knowledge they are learning in core content areas.
This application is important for students to have the critical thinking and problem solving skills they need to be successful in the 21st century.
CTE classes include info technology, intro to business, accounting 1 and 2, web editing tools/digital design, Adobe Photoshop/digital video editing, personal development, child develpment and parenting/foods and nutrition, housing/clothing, relationships and life management, early childhood education, intro to ag, ag mechanics 1 and 2, animal science, ag business, ag science, natural resources and plant science and ag leadership and communication.
Fine arts classes include band, chorus, art 1-4, drawing 1 and 2, yearbook, TV productions and video yearbook.
Asked about HHS having a 4.0 grading scale, with no weighted classes, Supt. Miles explained his findings from a study four or five years ago.
Visiting with admissions counselors from the University of Colorado, Colorado State University and Colorado School of Mines, he said they reported seeing as many as 20 different grading scales for incoming students. They even include 12.0 and 27.0 scales.
Ultimately, what they ask for anything other than a 4.0 scale is, “What does this mean on a 4.0 scale?”
Ortner noted HHS used to have a 5.0 scale for college and AP classes, but would have to revert to the 4.0 scale for reporting to colleges.
On the recommendation of the accountability committee at the time, the district removed the weighted grade scale, with everything put on a 4.0 scale.
Ortner explained the bar was set high for requirements for valedictorian/salutatorian eligibility so a student couldn’t ease into that achievement. To be eligible, they must complete five college classes in core content areas.