Future CVHS students may face additional graduation requirements. School and district officials are considering adding a third year of math, more science, world language, a community service project, and a college/career planning and technology requirement to the list of things students must complete to get diplomas.
“At this point, things are just in the discussion phase,” said Kathleen Cassidy, social studies department chair.
“We actually started this conversation with our Board of Trustees in May 2015 with a look at our math graduation requirements compared to that of other school districts,” said Mary Boyle, assistant superintendent. “We are now studying the broader question of overall graduation requirements more closely.”
State graduation requirements require students to complete certain amounts of study, such as four years of English, to get high school diplomas.
Districts and schools can set their own requirements in addition to the state’s rules. For instance, CVHS requires Comparative Cultures and Geography (CCG) and a year of visual or performing art study.
Boyle explained why there was such a need to review graduation requirements.
“The demands of colleges and careers are rapidly changing and it’s important that we ensure our students are as ready as possible for life after high school. Technology has put everything on a very fast track,” she said.
School and district officials continue to involve many people in their process as they contemplate these decisions.
“There is a common concept in education: involve all stakeholders,” Assistant Principal Jesse Hansen clarified. “Thus, students, parents, teachers, administration, and the Board of Trustees. The ultimate decision would be up to the school board…who would hear recommendations from district personnel.”
The current plan is to initiate the changes into the 2017-2018 school year’s incoming freshmen. The new implemented changes will only affect the freshmen as every other grade will remain with the current graduation requirements. This would continue to affect future incoming classes on until every grade has the same requirements to graduate.
Some new requirements discussed could lead to changes to the schedule. “It’s also very possible that we would need to look at a seven-period day,” Boyle said.
Hansen focused on the more positive side of this decision. “There could be a greater degree of choice: students might be able to take more art courses or career tech courses, depending on their areas of interest, while remaining on track for graduation,” he said. This would result in “giving students more opportunities for courses rather than cutting back on opportunities to take a variety of courses.”
CVHS currently has a modified seven-period day, but only students with zero periods have seven classes. New requirements and a new schedule could mean an earlier start for more students, or possibly shorter class periods.
“If we added graduation requirements to any department, that department would potentially need to hire (more teachers),” Cassidy said. This brings up a current issue the school is already facing: “Facilities are also going to need to be addressed as we are already crunched with classrooms,” Cassidy explained.
If the classroom crunch problem will be addressed by the possible school renovations, this could all be plausible considering the changes CVHS and the school district have been buzzing about for a while.
Of course there’s also the issue of money.
“This is going to cost something and until the district determines the financial end of it and decides to put the money into it, all this is hypothetical,” Cassidy said.
Nevertheless, CVHS has started to consider change and will continue to move on with its plan in some way. The only question is, will we be ready for it?