(Posted April 12, 2022)
By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer
Ohio continues to tweak its educational system. The latest round of graduation requirements will impact West Jefferson high-schoolers starting with the Class of 2023.
“The state has broken this down into three components,” explained Mike Bute, high school principal, at the April 11 school board meeting. “The first part is just making sure that we meet the curriculum requirement.”
The first and second parts of the requirements are not new. They deal with the basics—a list of credit requirements involving math, English, social studies, science, health, visual or performing arts, electives and financial literacy—and competency.
In order to demonstrate competency, a student must earn a minimum score on math and English end-of-course tests or a college-ready score on the ACT or SAT. Other competency options include college credit plus, career technical, or military readiness.
“This is what they’re calling permanent requirements moving forward, but you know how things can change,” Bute said.
The third graduation requirement indicates a student’s readiness and involves a series of seals reminiscent of scouting badges.
“For students in the class of 2023 and beyond, they need to earn two seals. At least one must be a state seal,” said guidance counselor Jeannette Haskins. “At first, I thought it was just one more thing, but it gives students an opportunity to display their skills and talents.”
Each seal has different requirements. The nine state seals are technology, citizenship, biliteracy, Ohio Means Jobs, honors diploma, science, military enlistment, college ready and industry-recognize credentials.
Describing the qualifications for the biliteracy seal, Haskins said, “A student needs to demonstrate proficiency in English and a strong proficiency in speaking and communication skills in a second language (which can include American Sign Language).”
The three local seals are community service, student engagement and fine/performing arts. A student needs to complete 40 hours of community service for the community service seal, participate in four or more clubs or activities for the engagement seal, or participate in band, choir or fine arts for the fine/performing arts seal.
Students must have a minimum of one state seal and one local seal or two state seals in order to fulfill the readiness requirement.
“Things are a little different than they used to be,” said Superintendent William Mullett.