What are some ways your school is innovating to offer students additional course options, as a result of these new requirements?
Knudson: Tea Area High School has created ‘suggested learning plans’ for individual endorsements. Within each learning plan, students have flexibility on course offerings. We have really focused on the advanced career endorsement through creating middle school and high school programs of study for each cluster and strengthening our business partnerships.
Morford: The change has driven great curricular area discussions, which has led us to expand our course offerings and internships to better meet student wants and needs. More opportunities for kids equate to better prepared graduates, as well as a school climate conducive to interaction and positive learning.
What positive impacts have you seen at your school, as a result of the new graduation requirements?
Morford: The flexibility and ability to select classes more geared toward interests of the students has helped many students build self confidence that they can and will succeed. All students can see success and be successful with this great opportunity.
What do you like about the new graduation requirements?
Knudson: The increased flexibility has allowed us to meet our students where they are at. It has opened doors for students to create personalized learning plans that meet their postsecondary interests/goals.
Morford: I believe it will create a more focused student. Many students got "caught in a rut" under the previous graduation requirements. Now every student can find a path that interests them and take the classes needed to get them there.
How is your staff counseling students to help them most effectively align their course choices with their post-graduation plans?
Morford: Counselors and advisors meet with all incoming freshman to explain the graduation endorsements. All students are expected to achieve at least one endorsement. The continued path to success will be emphasized in our monthly advisee/advisor times. I believe many students will be motivated to attain multiple endorsements.