Graduation requirements altered by House Bill 5

At+Tuesday%27s+Board+Meeting%2C+district+officials+discussed+the+graduation+plans+proposed+by+the+state.+The+committee+will+give+their+plan+recommendations+at+the+next+board+meeting+on+April+15.

Connor Cross

At Tuesday’s Board Meeting, district officials discussed the graduation plans proposed by the state. The committee will give their plan recommendations at the next board meeting on April 15.

Noah Corbitt and Sydney Grissom

Graduation requirements for the class of 2018 will soon change as a result of the state passing House Bill 5. The first step took place at this week’s Board of Trustees Meeting where school district officials discussed what it will take for next year’s freshmen class to receive a high school diploma.

“The state has created the three graduation diploma options because of the recent House Bill 5,” deputy superintendent of curriculum Dennis Muizers said. “Every district now can really decide how many credits will be required under each of the three diploma programs, and more specifically, are there any specific courses that they are going to require, for example, should all students be required to take Algebra II, should all students be required to take physics, et cetera.”

The presentation at the Board of Trustees Meeting was a clarification of the plans passed by the state that will act as the basis for graduation plans. The committee will give their plan recommendations at the next board meeting on April 15.

“So, right now we’re working as a committee with the curriculum and instruction team,” Muizers said. “As well as the high school administrators and counselors about our thinking, and we’re going to include parents as well in that process so that by the time we come back next month, we’ll have specific recommendations for the school board to consider before they adopt what our graduation plans are going to be here in Lovejoy.”

-Noah Corbitt

 

When House Bill 5 was passed in 2013 by the state legislature, new requirements for high school graduation were put into place. Designed to make graduation more attainable for all students, there are now five paths from which students can choose; each resulting in a high school diploma.

However, the state has only set the minimum standards, leaving each district the option to design a more rigorous graduation plan. For the Lovejoy ISD, the details of that plan are expected to be discussed and approved at the next school board meeting on April 15.

“It is going to lower the floor for kids who struggle graduating high school, and we have virtually 100 percent graduation,” principal Gavan Goodrich said. “Of the kids who graduate Lovejoy high school, 97 or 98 percent of them are going to go to college, so this really isn’t going to impact us or the eighth graders. There are some little details we have to get the school board to approve and we are in the process of that because there are some official school district mandates that they have to all agree to and fall within House Bill 5 since it is a state law.”

Although some things will remain the same, there are a few things in House Bill 5 that differ from the current graduation laws.

“With what the state has put together, it’s very similar to what already takes place,” associate principal Chris Mayfield said. “The focus the state has done that is different is they have kind of looked at high school almost like college from the standpoint that students have kind of a major in high school or a focus of their study. So, if you are interested in health science there’s a pathway for student who want to do the health science program. Kind of like in college how you have a major, you are going to get all of your basic requirements and then you have your major.”

Although it may be different, most students here are already doing what House Bill 5 requires.

“If you looked at our current seniors the last three years, if you just looked at the courses they took and how they ended up with all of their courses, they would have an average three of these major endorsements that are part of House Bill 5 just by taking the courses we are taking without even by design taking them,” Goodrich said.

HB5 puts in place new guidelines for a minimum high school graduation plan, however the district does not plan to change what the school is doing.

“The state has laws around graduation and those things, but the school districts also get to tailor those,” Mayfield said. “They can’t lessen the requirements, but they can tailor those requirements to meet the needs of their own students. Our school board has not done that yet and so that is still waiting to be heard what is going to happen exactly in Lovejoy.”

Even without certain specifics set by the school board, no one expects anything to change.

“The school board hasn’t stated what it’s going to be,” Goodrich said. “I’m confident to say that it’s very likely students will still be required to take 26 credits.”

-Sydney Grissom