Area Students Will Have More Options
For years, every high school graduate in South Dakota followed the same guidelines and met the same standards in order to cross the stage and receive their diploma. Beginning this year, that will be changing.
Instead of everyone striving for the same level of achievement as in years past, high school students will now have more options. Students can now reach several new levels of endorsement, which tell how much experience a student has in a concentrated area, whether it be academic or workplace experience.
For students to receive their diploma, they just need their basic total of 22 credits, with four English credits, three credits in math, science, and social studies each, and the rest in electives, whether they be art, music, or CTE (career and technical education) classes.
The old set of recommended graduation requirements (recommending more specific, difficult classes, such as three specific high-level math classes) is now known as the Advanced Endorsement. After completing the courses required of this program, students will have reached the entrance requirements for most postsecondary universities.
The Advanced Career Endorsement says the student has career experience in a field. This is based around CTE course and real workplace experience. This path is optimal for students who wish to attend a tech school or en ter the work force after gradu ation.
Students aiming for the highest academic honors can pursue the Advanced Honors Endorsement. This means that a student has succeeded with strict advanced coursework with most high-level classes These requirements also line up with the requirements of the Opportunity Scholarship.
Britton-Hecla principal Carrie James says that Britton Hecla will be providing these new endorsements to this year’s graduating class, with the possibility that whichever endorsement they achieve will be indicated on their diplo mas.
Schools are also able to set their own standards for differ ent endorsements, but James says Britton-Hecla plans on just following the state’s base lines for the foreseeable future There will also be a meeting at Parent/Teacher Conferences on Nov. 13 at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the new requirements with parents and students.
Langford Area High School principal Toni Brown says that Langford Area will be imple menting the new requirements by 2020, but the school hasn’ made any decisions on the top ic yet.
Kelly Mills teaches lan guage arts at Britton-Hecla High School. She says that while the requirements chang ing may change what classes students choose to take, they shouldn’t affect what classes are taught. Art teacher Stephanie Symens agrees with her. Symens says that it may affect the colony schools though, changing what math classes they choose to take. Because they only need one specific math course, Algebra I, they may choose to take other online math classes to fill their remaining two credits.
Students also have something to say about how these new requirements will enhance their education. Britton-Hecla junior Emma Storley thinks they’re a positive change.
“I think this will be a good change and will work better for students to focus in on their interests and academic strengths.”
Senior Kordell Feldhaus says that while the new requirements will be beneficial to every student, right now it will help younger students more.
“They’ll be able to plan their high school courses based on their future plans. I wish I’d had this opportunity when I was in junior high.”