Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Increased Graduation Requirements and Block Scheduling
8. Can there be increased class OFFERINGS as opposed to requirements? This would truly show the community that you are more interested in providing educational opportunities and that you are not mandating an increase in requirements to obtain more ADA money.
9. I worry that increasing graduation "requirements" prior to having your school community adjusted to the change from traditional scheduling to 4x4/ A/B schedule is more than these teachers, parents, and students can reasonably absorb.
15. If this district is intent on continuing with a mix of the 4x4 & A/B schedule, can math and foreign language be taught on A/B schedule so students are less likely to forget concepts during a several month gap in classes?
The Board of Trustee’s will consider adopting these new requirements at the February 13 Board meeting.
No, current Juniors and Seniors will not be impacted in any way by these new requirements.
Current Sophomores will only be subject to the increase in total credits required. The current requirement is 220 credits. Under the new requirements, sophomores would be expected to complete a total of 280 credits. By the end of their sophomore year, students should have completed 160 credits, leaving just 120 credits (12 classes) to complete in their Junior and Senior years. On the block schedule, students take 8 classes per year.’
Current Freshman and all future classes will be expected to meet the all of the new requirements.
These increased graduation requirements will better prepare our students for their future and provide them more options upon graduation. We believe that all students should have as many choices available to them as possible, and by aligning our requirements more closely to the UC/CSU “a-g” admissions requirements we feel that more students will graduate with the option of going to a university if that is the path they choose. If they choose a different path, like a community college, trade school, or to enter the workforce directly, they will be better informed and prepared citizens overall and will have a leg up on students that have not met these increased requirements.
These new requirements are closely aligned with the University of California/California State University “a-g” entrance requirements in the number of years of required in each subject area. However, we have not aligned with the ‘a-g” requirements in terms of the level of rigor required. For instance, if approved, the new graduation requirements would require all students to complete three years of math in order to graduate, but would only require that they complete up through Integrated Math I, whereas the “a-g” requirements require that students complete up through Integrated Math III.
Our goal with implementing these new requirements is to make sure that all of our students are better prepared for their future upon graduation. It is not to put up roadblocks that make it impossible for some students to graduate. Therefore, if the increased requirements get approved, our top priority will be to develop supports, interventions, and courses that will provide a pathway to graduation for every student. For example, to meet a two year world language requirement, we are looking at possibly offering conversational level language classes. For math, we are exploring elective math classes like consumer math/financial literacy, computer programming, and trades math.
Can there be increased class OFFERINGS as opposed to requirements? This would truly show the community that you are more interested in providing educational opportunities and that you are not mandating an increase in requirements to obtain more ADA money.
We are always committed to providing as rich an assortment of classes as we can, and each year we add more offerings to our course catalog. For next year, we have added 12 new courses: AP English Language, 20th Century Film and History, Geography: Living in a Global World, Advanced Ag Leadership, BEST Academy Leadership, Soccer, Basketball, Spanish in the Workplace, Child Psychology, Fundamentals of Fashion and Interior Design, Introduction to Interior Design, and Sports Medicine I.
The purpose of the increased graduation requirements is to provide our students with a framework that helps them take full advantage of our expanded schedule and requires them to take a variety of courses at an appropriate level of rigor to prepare them for whatever their future may hold.
If our motivation was financial, then we would be looking to return to a traditional schedule. The costs of maintaining a block schedule are higher than those for a traditional schedule because we are offering our students 8 classes a year, rather than 6. This requires that we hire more teachers, offer more classes, and purchase more instructional materials. As a District, we believe that the increased opportunities block scheduling provides better prepares our students for their future because it allows them to:
On the traditional 6 period day, it was very difficult for students to accomplish all the above. Because of these reasons, the District feels that the extra costs associated with the Block Schedule are justified.
I worry that increasing graduation "requirements" prior to having your school community adjusted to the change from traditional scheduling to 4x4/ A/B schedule is more than these teachers, parents, and students can reasonably absorb.
Most districts move to change their graduation requirements simultaneously with their change to block schedule because the two go hand-in-hand. A district cannot increase graduation requirements without providing more opportunities for students to take courses. And providing more opportunities to take courses is not very useful unless there is thought given to how those extra opportunities are going to be used.
This was not done within our district because we wanted to see if the block schedule was going to be successful before we imposed additional requirements that would be impossible to achieve if we decided to return to a 6-period day. With commitment from the School Board to the block schedule going forward, we are confident that the implementation of the increased graduation requirements is the right thing to do for our students.
Most of our students are already meeting many to all of these requirements. So, while there will need to be increases in staffing in math, science, and world languages, we do not expect them to be exorbitant.
Yes, these positions may be hard to fill, especially given that the state is experiencing a teacher shortage, and that some of these positions would be in subject areas that are traditionally difficult to fill.
For those students that are not already taking three or more years of math, we would expect to see an increase in their math scores on tests like the SAT and ACT.
No, the California High School Exit Exam was suspended in 2015, and in October of 2017, Gov. Brown signed legislation permanently repealing the requirement.
Yes, we are exploring options for students that may benefit from having more time in some subject areas, like math. Having an option for students to take the course over the entire year, with support for students built in, rather than just 1 semester is an option that we are considering.
Absolutely. In fact, once the School Board has committed fully to the block schedule, our goal is to work with staff to decide which schedule, 4x4 or A/B, we will adopt by the end of this school year. Because registration and scheduling will already be mostly finalized for the 2018-2019 school year, however, whatever decision is made will not be implemented until the 2019-2020 school year.
If this district is intent on continuing with a mix of the 4x4 & A/B schedule, can math and foreign language be taught on A/B schedule so students are less likely to forget concepts during a several month gap in classes?
Yes, since block schedule was implemented, the decision about which schedule classes are offered has been left to the discretion of individual departments. Each year, departments are given an opportunity to make changes to the schedule type for each class.
If on a 4x4 schedule, can sequential classes be taken in the same year? (Spanish 1 in the Fall and Spanish 2 in the Spring), preferably looped with the same highly qualified instructor.
Yes, many students are already taking advantage of this option, completing 2 years of math or world language in 1 year. This has allowed many students to accelerate to take higher levels of math or a world language.