November 28, 2014

EVERY Student A Choice: Graduation Requirements at Corbett High School

EVERY Student A Choice: Graduation Requirements at Corbett High School

    When a student graduates from Corbett High School what we want to give EVERY one of them is the choice to follow a path of their choosing, either right at that moment, or a few years down the line.

    Some type of choices we want available to students include going straight into the workforce, entering the military, going to a four year university, joining a trade school, or getting into a two year program like Mt. Hood Community College.  We also want students to be able to make that initial “just out of high school choice” and then switch horses a year or more down the line.  We want a student to decide they are going to travel the world, go directly to work, or become and Oregon Duck/Beaver and then change their minds after they have spent some time exploring the big wide world of adulthood.

    To make sure we give EVERY student a choice we need to be very deliberate about the expectations we hold for students.  Our goal is to set expectations that will give students maximum choice.  To that end we have a long history of setting expectations for students that give them choices when they graduate.  The following is a list of some of the expectations we hold for Corbett graduates that keep doors open for them after they leave Corbett High School.

  • More required fine arts than the state minimum for EVERY Student.

  • More required English courses than the state minimum for EVERY Student.

  • More required math courses than the state minimum for EVERY Student.

  • More required second language courses than the state minimum for EVERY Student.

  • More required social studies course than the state minimum for EVERY Student.

  • Advanced Placement courses offered to EVERY student.

  • PSAT test provided for EVERY 10th grade student.

  • SAT tests provided for EVERY 11th grade student.

  • College visitations offered to EVERY 11th grade student.

  • Target intervention for EVERY student who is credit deficient or at risk of not-graduating.

  • Provide SAT fee waivers and College Admission fee waivers to EVERY student who meets financial guidelines.

This year we are offering more services to students to support their career/college choices after graduation.

  • Career/college counseling for EVERY 11th and 12th grade student.

  • SAT test preparation for EVERY 11th and 12th grade student.

  • Increased access to technology for EVERY student who would benefit academically.

  • EVERY 9th grade student is being supported by a team of staff members to eliminate ALL non-passing grades.

  • EVERY credit deficient student was offered support through a free summer school program.

    As part of giving EVERY student a choice I am asking the school board to add the following expectation to our student’s graduation requirements.  “Students first enrolled in grade 9 during the 2013-14 school year must be admitted to a post secondary degree granting entity in order to graduate.”

Does this requirement mean that a graduate must enroll in college?   No.  This does not obligate a student to enroll in college.

Does this requirement mean that a graduate can not go directly to the work force, take a year off school, go into the military, or do any other post-high school activity?  No. EVERY student will have the choice to enroll in a postsecondary degree granting entity OR choose to do any of the other options that are open to high school graduates.

Will this requirement mean that seniors and their families have to spend money in order to apply for admission into a post-secondary degree program?  No.  This new expectation will not cost families any more than they choose to spend on college applications.   Families will be able to meet this expectation without ANY out of pocket expenses if that is what they choose.

What if a person can not get accepted into a “postsecondary degree granting entity”?  Won’t this stop kids from graduating?  No.  ALL Oregon high school graduates are eligible for acceptance into a community college in Oregon if they complete the application process.  For instance according to the Mt. Hood Community College application process “Mt. Hood Community College has an open-entry general admission policy and welcomes all students who can benefit from instruction regardless of their educational background.”

Why would we want kids to complete the application process if they have no intention of going to college?   The majority of students who do not go to a post-secondary degree granting institution immediately out of high school do attempt to go to college at some time in their life.  One of the perceived barriers to future admission is unfamiliarity with the admission process. By expecting EVERY student to complete the admission process we will have removed this perceived barrier for students who, at a later time in their lives, choose to go to a post-secondary degree granting institution.

Has the district consulted with lawyers regarding this policy change?  Yes, the district’s law firm agrees that this requirement is lawful.  Further, other schools around the country do have similar graduation requirements.
I am happy to say that last night I read this document to our school board and they voted 6 to zero to support the language change that continues to give EVERY student a choice.  The board will consider this topic two more times before the policy is finalized.

Randy Trani About Randy Trani

A science teacher at heart, Dr. Trani loves the Corbett school community and the Corbett community at large. As a resident of Corbett Dr. Trani is committed to delivering quality education to Corbett students. Dr. Trani became the principal of Corbett Schools in 2004, promoted to Superintendent of Corbett School District #39 in 2010.