(Posted April 23, 2020)
By Josephine Birdsell , Staff Writer
Madison-Plains Local Schools is looking ahead to 2023 when new state graduation requirements go into effect.
Per the new requirements, students will have to obtain at least two “graduation seals” that demonstrate academic involvement and readiness for post-graduate life.
At least one graduation seal must be obtained from a list of eight seals determined by the state. The other seal can be obtained from the list of state seals or from a list of three local seals determined by Madison-Plains staff.
State seals require students to demonstrate readiness for graduation by learning a foreign language, enlisting in the military, earning remediation-free ACT or SAT scores, earning an honors diploma, proving academic success in American history or government courses, proving academic success in the sciences, earning an approved industry credential, or proving readiness for the workforce.
The three local seals include one for community service, requiring students to complete 30 service hours at one location. The fine and performing arts seal requires students to demonstrate proficiency in the arts by completing three or more arts courses with a 3.0 grade point average or by participating in three arts performances. The student engagement seal requires students to participate in an approved extracurricular for three seasons or years.
“Some believe state testing is unfair and biased because there are a lot of students who don’t test well,” said Chad Eisler, Madison-Plains superintendent, at the district school board’s April 21 meeting.
“So, the state wanted to provide another avenue for students,” he said.
However, to graduate under the new guidelines, students are still required to meet graduation credit requirements and demonstrate competency.
At Madison-Plains, students must earn 22 credits to graduate, including specific courses in English, math, science, health and physical education. Students can demonstrate competency by passing Ohio’s state Algebra I and English II tests, enlisting in the military, completing college coursework, or completing career-focused activities.
While the new graduation requirements don’t go into effect until 2023, students graduating in 2020, 2021 and 2022 can opt-in to the requirements if it will aid them in graduating.
This year’s graduation
Madison-Plains seniors may have an untraditional graduation this year. However, the district hopes to have a virtual graduation ceremony in May, as well as some form of in-person ceremony in July, if permissible under social distancing requirements related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Our hearts are hurting for all our students, but especially our seniors,” Eisler said.
The district is working to honor them as best as possible, he said.
The next regular meeting of the Madison-Plains school board is set for 7 p.m. May 19. Stay tuned to the district’s web page, www.mplsd.org, and social media pages for details about the meeting’s format and accessibility.