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School Board to Make Changes to Graduation Requirements

The main topic of discussion among school board members and the community was the proposed changes to the FCUSD graduation requirements. All five possible changes were discussed in depth and included commentary from board members and community members. No big changes have been made to graduation requirements since 2001 so the time has come for discussion on updating graduation requirements, and what the implications of those changes would be if implemented.

The first proposed change would be students would be required to complete one course in Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA), foreign language, or Career Technical Education (CTE). The current graduation requirement is students must take one year of VAPA or a foreign language. The benefit of adding the option of taking a CTE course would allow students technical experience. The concern with this is that students would not be exposed to either a fine art or new language, which some believe is not working to make students culturally aware. The board voted to approve as recommended and is scheduled to take effect in the 2012-2013 school year.

The second modification would be to require students to take a third year of science or two years of science and a CTE course. Currently, the requirement stands at students must only take two years of a science. The CTE course would take the place of the technology requirement. The stated benefits would be another opportunity for student to gain vocational experience or explore non-math related sciences such as human anatomy or forensics. The concerns voiced focused on replacing the technology requirement with a CTE course, which could potentially take away an opportunity for students to study technology.  The board agreed to approve this change with additional board discussion after one year to further analyze and discuss.

The third proposed change was to require all students to take a geometry class, with an applied geometry class being offered as another way to fulfill the requirement. Now, the district requirement is that students pass Algebra 1 and the only form of geometry offered is more abstract, or proof dominant. The course will be piloted at Vista del Lago High School, Mather Youth Academy and Cordova High School. The board approved this change, which will become effective with the freshman class of 2017.

The main topic of discussion among school board members and the community was the proposed changes to the FCUSD graduation requirements. All five possible changes were discussed in depth and included commentary from board members and community members. No big changes have been made to graduation requirements since 2001 so the time has come for discussion on updating graduation requirements, and what the implications of those changes would be if implemented.

The first proposed change would be students would be required to complete one course in Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA), foreign language, or Career Technical Education (CTE). The current graduation requirement is students must take one year of VAPA or a foreign language. The benefit of adding the option of taking a CTE course would allow students technical experience. The concern with this is that students would not be exposed to either a fine art or new language, which some believe is not working to make students culturally aware. The board voted to approve as recommended and is scheduled to take effect in the 2012-2013 school year.

The second modification would be to require students to take a third year of science or two years of science and a CTE course. Currently, the requirement stands at students must only take two years of a science. The CTE course would take the place of the technology requirement. The stated benefits would be another opportunity for student to gain vocational experience or explore non-math related sciences such as human anatomy or forensics. The concerns voiced focused on replacing the technology requirement with a CTE course, which could potentially take away an opportunity for students to study technology.  The board agreed to approve this change with additional board discussion after one year to further analyze and discuss.

The third proposed change was to require all students to take a geometry class, with an applied geometry class being offered as another way to fulfill the requirement. Now, the district requirement is that students pass Algebra 1 and the only form of geometry offered is more abstract, or proof dominant. The course will be piloted at Vista del Lago High School, Mather Youth Academy and Cordova High School. The board approved this change, which will become effective with the freshman class of 2017.

Students completing one course of Health Education and moving Driver´s Education to elective status is the fourth proposed change. The graduation requirements currently are one semester of health and one semester of driver´s ed. The logic behind this change to graduation requirements being that it is necessary for high schoolers to have a health education class, but not all students will drive while in high school. The board approved this change.

The fifth and final change that was proposed is that students complete one course of differentiated instructional delivery, such as ROP, AP, online, college or an internship. There is no requirement now about differentiated learning. The goal of this requirement is for students to experience learning in a new way, rather than through classroom instruction. The main concern brought up is whether or not the district has the infrastructure and personnel capabilities to manage this requirement. The board voted to adopt this requirement for the class of 2017, with a report back to the board in one year for further discussion.

Many members of the community came to speak in support of several of the proposed changes to graduation requirements, which allowed the board varying perspectives and effects of each suggestion. The requirements that will be implemented beginning during the 2012-2013 school year are:  students will complete either one course of VAPA, a foreign language or CTE; students must take a geometry class, either proof-dominant or applied; students will take one semester of health education and driver´s education will be given elective status. The graduation requirements that are set to begin with the freshman class of 2017 are: students will take either three science courses or two science courses and a CTE course; students will compete one form of differentiated education.

The board´s ultimate goal is to prepare its students to become contributing members in a global society while being lifelong learners and through these changes to graduation requirements we will be able to better achieve this goal. 


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Megan Phelps, PR Intern